by Michael Traikos for The Toronto Sun May 10, 2020.
The man who has been pulling the strings and making NHLers seem less wooden during this prolonged pause in the season — the self-described “freakin’ crazy man” — is talking about the 10-part Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance (from Netflix in Canada, on ESPN in the US) and how he’s trying to convince Alex Ovechkin to allow cameras to record his every move for the next few years.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve already started the conversation,” says Steve Mayer, NHL executive vice-president and chief content officer. “I’ve got a guy who’s chasing one of the greatest records in hockey history. Can I follow him now all the way to him getting that record?
“Back then, (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver was running NBA entertainment. He was like me, which I laugh about. And he did a deal with Jordan and said, ‘We want to shoot all this. You’re completely in charge. When you say that you want to release it, we’re good.’ So twenty years from now, it could be Alex Ovechkin.”
This is how Mayer’s mind works. His mantra is “Let’s make the next one bigger — better.” Since leaving a job at IMG where he produced the Olympics and NFL halftime show and coming to the NHL in 2015, he’s always asking: What’s next? What else can he do? What can he get away with?
Seated in his home office with a 1994 New York Rangers and a Walt Frazier framed jerseys hanging on the wall behind him, he’s already talking about the next big thing. And it’s not a 24/7 camera crew following around Ovechkin. That’s a story for another day. Right now, he’s concerned with producing content during this hiatus and brainstorming what the Stanley Cup playoffs will look like in a world without live fans.
Read more HERE.