LCBO offers weird opportunity to meet former Leaf Tomas Kaberle

Nick Ashbourne
Tomas Kaberle isn’t exactly the first guy you’d expect to be helping move booze on a Wednesday night. (Nathan Denette/CP)

In order to boost its sales figures, it’s not uncommon for a place of business to bring in a celebrity guest to get a few extra customers through the door.

What is uncommon is when that place of business is a government owned and operated liquor store and the guest of choice is a hockey player from another continent who hasn’t played in that city in close to a decade.

Even so, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario decided that it would be a good idea to bring in former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle to meet and greet costumers at its Summerhill location on Wednesday evening.


There are about 73 reasons why the whole situation makes no sense whatsoever. For the sake of brevity, here are four.

1. It’s a well-known fact that liquor sells itself. If the LCBO announced that there was a grizzly bear loose in its flagship Summerhill store, a few intrepid booze-seekers would probably chance a visit rather than risk Wednesday night sobriety.

2. The LCBO isn’t a private enterprise with the kind of profit incentive that would drive it down the road of bizarre promotions. It is doing just fine as is and doesn’t gain much by hosting a former NHL player. It’s also a brand that Ontarians are familiar with. No one is being made aware of their local LCBO by Kaberle’s presence.

3. Kaberle is a peculiar choice for a meet-and-greet. While he was a really good Maple Leafs player for a long time, he was never that popular with the fan base and isn’t a “good Canadian kid.” Kaberle’s inability to excite Leafs Nation is clearly apparent in the lack of engagement on the Tweet above, and the LCBO’s followup:


Considering the LCBO has 17.2K followers those numbers are abysmal and probably indicative of how unlikely it is that Torontonians will make an extra trip to the liquor store to see Kaberle — which is a shame because he was criminally underrated at times as a player and seems like a perfectly nice guy.

4. This idea was not promoted at all prior to the Tweets. The old Google machine knows nothing about it:

And even the LCBO’s website has nothing to say about it, except to link the user to an article called “Love Match” about Great Lakes Brewery — which to be fair makes some fine beers.

At the end of the day, what we’ve got here is a government liquor store — seemingly with no planning whatsoever — bringing in a player that most people don’t really want to see to help them sell a product that sells itself and, further, a brand that everybody already knows about.

On the flip side, if you’ve always wanted to meet Tomas Kaberle — one of the better passing defenceman of his generation and an important player on actually good Maple Leafs teams — now you have your chance.

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