By R.V. Baugus and nhl.com
We all know how the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the public assembly venue landscape, and for the teams that play in many IAVM venues, financial losses have been catastrophic. That’s why I read with interest and delight when the National Hockey League announced that in partnership with Discover, Honda, MassMutual and Scotiabank, those four entities would hold naming rights as official division names for the 2020-21 season: Scotia NHL® North Division, Honda NHL® West Division, Discover NHL® Central Division and the MassMutual NHL® East Division.
I love it!
Once upon a time I hated the infiltration of corporate names splashed across sports uniforms. In fact, I held to the notion that only those in the professional auto racing circles should be allowed to have corporate names covering uniforms from head to toe. I don’t know … it just seemed ludicrous that a person would become a walking billboard.
Well, those thoughts have changed, even before Ricky Bobby rocked his uni in Talladega Nights.
It looked a little strange to me when NBA uniforms became adorned with corporate logos, but these days I take extra effort to see if any given team has a new logo from the previous year. It is no longer any big deal and in fact in these trying financial times is often a key to survival to some degree.
Going back to the NHL, the idea was simply brilliant to sell naming rights to the sport’s four divisions. I can truly envision other sports looking to follow suit. I applaud the out-of-the-box thinking of the NHL as they move forward into their 2020-21 season which already has met COVID-19 head-on, with our local Dallas Stars registering 17 players who have tested positive.
Here are the divisions and teams in each (note: the ongoing closure of the U.S.-Canada border required realignment):
• Scotia NHL® North Division (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg)
• Honda NHL® West Division (Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis, Vegas)
• Discover NHL® Central Division (Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay)
• MassMutual NHL® East Division (Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington)