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NHL Signs Major Retailer Canadian Tire For Multi-Level Marketing Alliance

August 23, 2010: The NHL has signed a five-year deal with Canadian Tire, Canada's largest hockey retailer, to become the league's official sporting goods retailer in Canada.

Under terms of the deal, Canadian Tire will be an official partner of the NHL Heritage Classic, All-Star Game, Stanley Cup playoffs and final and NHL Face-Off. The alliance also includes the launch of the Canadian Tire Hockey School and the naming of Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winner and Canada National Team Olympic gold medalist Jonathan Toews as CTHS founding member and official spokesperson. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"The NHL is a driving force in uniting Canadians around their love of hockey, and in partnering with the iconic Canadian Tire brand, we have the potential to unite them in more ways and in more places," Keith Wachtel, svp-integrated sales and marketing for the NHL. said in a statement. "Expanding our reach into new categories like this will continue to increase the NHL's ability to reach and unite Canadian hockey fans."

Canadian Tire, based in Toronto, also has an alliance with Nascar in the Nascar Canadian Tire Series. Among the other NHL marketing partners that activate exclusively in Canada are LG Electronics, Labatt, Scotia Bank, Bell, Energizer, Kraft Canada and Hershey Canada.

Canadian Tire claims to sell more hockey sticks and pucks than any retailer in the world.

"As Canada's largest retailer of sporting equipment and a brand steeped in Canadian history, Canadian Tire is who Canadians trust for their first pair of skates, stick, helmet and pads," Mike Arnett, president of Canadian Tire Retail, said in a statement. "Over the past 90 years, we've equipped millions of first-time hockey players, like Jonathan Toews, from head to toe."

Among the first activations under the new deal will be the Canadian Tire Hockey School NHL Skills Camps, designed to provide Canadian minor hockey players "the opportunity to develop and grow their skills through on and off ice skill development sessions"  lead by hockey coaches and including appearances by NHL alumni and coaches. The first of six CTHS NHL Skills Camps during the 2010-2011 season is scheduled for Winnipeg on Sept. 21.

"Through the Canadian Tire Hockey School, we're building on our hockey roots to help develop a lifelong enjoyment of the game," said Arnett. "We're also thrilled to add the NHL and Canadian hockey star Jonathan Toews to our winning team. With this stellar line-up, we've become more than Canada's hockey store: We're Canada's hockey school."

Canadian Tire's deal includes activation at the Heritage Classic in Calgary this February.According to Towes, "Canadian Tire has been a part of my hockey story since the very beginning - it's where my grandfather bought me my first pair of skates and my first stick. I'm proud to be a part of Canadian Tire's all-star team, and the founding member of CTHS. This exciting new program is sure to play a significant role in developing the next generation of Canada's hockey stars, on and off the ice."

The NHL Heritage Classic is scheduled for Feb. 20 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary between the Montreal Canadiens and hometown Calgary Flames. The NHL All-Star Game is scheduled for Jan. 30 in Raleigh, hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes.

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