By Barry Janoff
November 15, 2014: Driving on ice just became a bit easier for Honda.
The Torrance, Calif.-based automaker said it has extended and enhanced its alliance with the NHL, which now includes becoming the league's official vehicle in Canada in addition to the U.S. and there presenting sponsor for the 2015 All-Star Game.
Honda will also take a more provocative position as title sponsor for the now renamed Honda NHL All-Star Game, which is scheduled for Jan. 25, in Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Honda will retain it's title sponsorship for the Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition taking place on Jan. 24.
Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
Honda first signed with the NHL in 2008, a deal that was renewed in 2011.
There has not been an NHL All-Star Game since 2012, when it was sponsored by Tim Hortons. The 2011 All-Star Game was sponsored by Discover.
There was no All-Star Game last season due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The 2013 All-Star Game was eliminated along with half the season due to the NHL lockout.
"Aligning the personality of Honda vehicles with the NHL is a natural extension of our fun-spirited brand," Jeff Conrad, svp and general manager for Honda Division. "Participating in and being a part of sporting tradition also matches well with the activities of our owners. We're thrilled to expand this relationship with the NHL in so many key ways to showcase the clean, safe and versatile nature of our lineup."
Honda said it would "sustain its strong commitment" to the league's national broadcast partners, NBC in the U.S. and Rogers in Canada. In addition, Honda will build "significant media commitment " across such NHL media platforms as NHL.com, NHL social and NHL mobile.
The automaker's new alliance would continue participation and activations at key NHL events throughout the season, including NHL Face-Off, Winter Classic, All-Star Weekend, Heritage Classic, Stadium Series, NHL Awards and NHL Draft; as well as throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs and Stanley Cup Final.
In a separate deal, the car company has since 2006 had naming rights to the Honda Center, home for the NHL's Anaheim Ducks.
According to Dave Gardner, vp-sales and marketing for Honda Canada Inc., "Hockey is a defining aspect of our culture and our relationship with the NHL is something we're very proud of. Whether you're a player or a spectator, hockey is something millions of Canadians are passionate about and that same level of excitement runs deep within Honda."
Honda said it would uses its NHL presence to support vehicles including the new 2016 HR-V crossover, the CR-V and Honda Civic, which to company said has been "the number one selling car in Canada for the past 16 years."
"Honda has been a longtime supportive sponsor of the League and this expansion of the relationship into Canada is a validation of the power of the NHL brand and our fan base," Keith Wachtel, NHL evp-global partnerships, said in a statement. "We look forward to exciting and engaging activations for hockey fans on both sides of the border."
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