The NHL made an announcement on Tuesday morning and this is what we learned. The Washington Capitals don’t play in the East Division anymore. Now they play in the MassMutual NHL® East Division.
The NHL revealed the new division names in a release where it formerly announced new partnerships with Discover, Honda, MassMutual, and Scotiabank. Each company gets the naming rights to one of the league’s four divisions.
It’s another creative — some might call it aggressive — solution by the NHL to drive more revenue or satisfy pre-existing agreements as the league’s 2021 revenue is projected to fall well short due to the pandemic.
If you needed proof the NHL really is changing, here it is: Per league release — Discover, Honda, MassMutual and Scotiabank will be the names of the Divisions "for 2020-21 NHL Season"
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 5, 2021
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, this is a “one-year only campaign” and that the divisions are expected not to have sponsor names in 2021-22.
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
In December, the NHL also announced that advertisements would be placed on helmets for the first time in league history. The Washington Capitals will rock Capital One decals on their buckets this season.
NHL exec: “[Ads on helmets] is not about greed. It's about saving jobs and people’s homes. Do you know how much money we are going to lose without customers in arenas? We are hemorrhaging money and we need to find any possible option for keeping our people employed."
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 21, 2020
More from the NHL:
NEW YORK & TORONTO (Jan. 5, 2021) – The National Hockey League (NHL®), in partnership with Discover, Honda, MassMutual and Scotiabank today announced the 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.
As previously announced, in reaching agreement on the format for the 2020-21 season, the NHL and NHLPA determined that the ongoing closure of the U.S.-Canada border required realignment, with teams realigned as follows:
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)
Each team in the MassMutual NHL® East Division, Discover NHL® Central Division and Honda NHL® West Division will play every other team in its division eight times while each team in the Scotia NHL® North Division will play every other team in its division nine or 10 times, to minimize team travel as much as possible.
The NHL also announced today that voting is now open for the 2020-21 NHL Preseason All-Division Team Fan Vote. The 2020-21 NHL Preseason All-Division Team Fan Vote gives fans the opportunity to celebrate the start of the season and the temporary division realignment by selecting their favorite Preseason All-Division Team at NHL.com/AllDivisionTeam. Starting today through January 11, 2021, fans can select six players for each division team – three forwards, two defensemen, and one goalie, and share their selections across their social platforms with the official hashtag #NHLAllDivision. All NHL teams will be represented with candidates for each position, designated by the NHL.
One team will be selected for each of the four divisions – Scotia NHL® North Division, Honda NHL® West Division, Discover NHL® Central Division and MassMutual NHL® East Division, and will be announced across NHL social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram prior to the start of the 2020-21 season.
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