Suffice it to say, it’s been a tough year for the New York Night and their fans. The team is languishing in the basement of the East, attendance has generally been lackluster, their star player got suspended after getting beat up in a bar fight, and their most notable promotion turned into a fiasco when a disgruntled employee stole the team’s shipment of fidget spinners. “I knew it was going to a rocky year,” said Night coach Nick Foster, “but I didn’t think it was going to be this rocky.”
In the season’s penultimate week, though, the Night pulled off a successful and distinctive promotion: Top Hat Night. That’s right, during Saturday night’s game against Quebec at Neon Sky Center, the Night gave away top hats to their fans.
According to GM Royce McCormick, he got the inspiration for the promotion after seeing a wave of fedora giveaways, especially among baseball teams. “So my first thought was to do a fedora night, maybe tie it in with a Sinatra theme or do a Rat Pack thing,” said McCormick. “But the more I thought about it, I realized that the fedora thing’s been done. Why copy what everyone else is doing if you can be original?”
So McCormick thought about how he could do a more original giveaway. “That’s when I thought of top hats,” the GM said. “I mean, this is the Big Apple! Why not do something with a little extra class?”
Definitely an unorthodox concept. And unlike with fedoras, most people don’t wear top hats on an everyday basis. But McCormick’s brainstorm proved popular: the game was a sellout, and the fans wore their hats with pride. “When I was a kid, I always wanted a hat like this,” said 43-year-old Douglas Grossi of Queens. “I always wanted to be a magician, and now I can dress like one!”
Ten lucky fans received more than just a hat. Between the second and third periods, the PA announcer asked fans to check the lining of their hats. Some had a false bottom; beneath it was a Night T-shirt and a gift certificate for a free tuxedo rental from Mens Wearhouse. “My original plan was to hide rabbits inside the hats,” said McCormick, “but somebody pointed out that they’d probably die in there with no food or water. Instead, we gave a few lucky fans the chance to complete the look so they can go out on the town in style.”
Foster proved to be a fan of the giveaway; he did his postgame press conference wearing the top hat with a big cigar in his mouth. “It’s not too often in this life that you have the chance to be the Monopoly man,” Foster told reporters. “So when you get that kind of opportunity, you have to grab it.”
Unfortunately, the Night couldn’t deliver a win to go with the hats, falling to the Tigres 5-2. But the fans didn’t seem to care. “I was just glad nobody got a hat trick,” said Grossi. “No way was I tossing this sweet lid on the ice.”