God willing, the Philadelphia Flyers will beat the brakes off their regional foes this year to win the MassMutual NHL East Division.
You heard right; it’s the “MassMutual NHL East Division,” because the NHL sold naming rights to its four divisions in 2021. The other three sponsors are Discover, Honda, and Scotiabank, which will rep the Central, West, and North (Canadian) divisions, respectively.
This comes on the heels of the NHL also allowing brand logos on helmets in 2021. The Pittsburgh Penguins, for example, will have “PPG” on their helmets this season, which represents their arena sponsor, PPG Paints. Personally I think it should say “PPP” instead…
Greg Wyshynski at ESPN says this is going to be a one-year deal, for now:
An NHL source tells ESPN that selling the naming rights to its divisions is viewed internally as a one-year only campaign. pic.twitter.com/X741o33n9U
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 5, 2021
What do you think? Is this corny? A sign of the times?
I think NHL fans would generally shrug their shoulders and say that everything is sponsored these days, and whatever you can do to bring in more money is a good thing. Maybe some traditionalists would be anti-naming rights for the divisions themselves, but when you look around NHL rinks you’ve got Tim Horton’s and Geico and myriad brand logos plastered all over the boards and ice.
Also, I don’t have anywhere else to put this, but I wanted to shout out Children of Bodom guitarist and singer Alexi Laiho, who died this week. I figured NHL fans typically appreciate heavy metal music, right? They play Megadeth and Pantera over the PA system at Flyers games, so maybe some of you guys enjoyed COB back in the day: