Honda Returns as Official Vehicle of the NHL

NEW YORK (September 12, 2011) ─ The National Hockey League® (NHL)

today announced that American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has renewed as League

partner in the United States in the automotive category. The three-year

agreement includes returning participation and activations at NHL events,

such as NHL Winter Classic and NHL All-Star Weekend, with increased

presence around NHL Awards and NHL Draft.

 

Honda will return as the presenting sponsor for the NHL SuperSkills

event and NHL All-Star MVP Award for the next two NHL All-Star Weekends

that are held in the U.S., through which Honda will receive exposure via

in-ice placements, dasherboard branding, in-arena spots, and presence at

the accompanying fan festivals.

 

“With the considerable growth and popularity of hockey and the

improved and robust media offerings in the last couple of years, the NHL

continues to provide us with broader media buy options and greater exposure

platforms,” said Tom Peyton, Honda Brand Manager. “This partnership

continues to be a great fit for Honda as we share a similar and attractive

demographic with the NHL – young, affluent and educated.”

 

“Honda has been a great partner for the NHL supporting hockey at

every level and we look forward to continuing to align ourselves with a

leader in the automotive industry,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL Senior Vice

President of Integrated Sales. “The NHL will continue to work with Honda to

develop unique media and event platforms that will expand the reach of our

game and connect with the most loyal and passionate fan base in sports.”

 

NHL media properties, such as NHL.com, NHL Network and NHL Mobile,

NHL member Clubs, as well as NHL broadcast partners, NBC and Versus, will

provide Honda with even more visibility by way of advertising spots,

content integration, in-game features, customized content, and more, to the

vast number of NHL fans that consume the sport.

 

About the NHL

The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest of the

four major professional team sports leagues in North America. Today, the

NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League’s international

makeup, with players from more than 20 countries represented on team

rosters. According to a Simmons Market Research study, NHL fans are

younger, more educated, more affluent, and access content through digital

means more than any other sport. The NHL entertains more than 250 million

fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television

(VERSUS, NBC, TSN, CBC, RDS, RIS, NASN, ASN and NHL Network™) and radio

(NHL Radio™, Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada). Through the NHL Foundation,

the League’s charitable arm, the NHL raises money and awareness for Hockey

Fights Cancer™ and NHL Youth Development, and supports the charitable

efforts of NHL players. For more information on the NHL, log on to NHL.com.

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Battle of the Blades Will Tribute Wade Belak Before Going On With Season Three

CBC’s BATTLE OF THE BLADES will go forward with its third season, premiering on Sunday, September 18 at 8 p.m. as planned. BATTLE OF THE BLADES: GAME ON is a one-hour special featuring footage of the cast members when they first met in July and began to train for the show. The Blades cast and crew are deeply saddened by the death of former NHLer Wade Belak, however, they believe that he would want the show to go on.

 

“GAME ON,” the series opener, documents the cast’s career accomplishments, personal stories and how far they must come to prepare for their first live performance. This show reveals why these great athletes are taking on this challenge for their chosen charities. The show will also include a heartfelt memorial tribute to Belak by Ron MacLean, incorporating footage showing the infectious enthusiasm and humour he brought to the training sessions.

 

“Wade’s death has been devastating for our entire BATTLE OF THE BLADES family, and our thoughts are with all members of his own family at this time. But we believe he would want us to move ahead, and we are looking forward to season three of BATTLE OF THE BLADES,” said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice president of CBC English Services.

 

“Our hearts go out to Wade’s family and friends and he is greatly missed by our cast and crew,” says John Brunton, Executive Producer and CEO of Insight Productions. “Our cast came together and told us that they felt strongly about doing the show as a tribute to Wade. BATTLE OF THE BLADES Season 3 has taken on a whole new meaning for them.”

 

New to the BATTLE OF THE BLADES cast competitor lineup is former NHL defenseman Todd Simpson. Hailing from North Vancouver, British Columbia and then Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alberta, Todd has a special connection with Wade Belak as he played his junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades where Wade was his defensive partner. He began his NHL career with the Calgary Flames in 1994. He played with the Flames for four years and was named team captain in 1997. Todd went on to play for six other NHL team throughout the course of his 10 year career. An eighth NHL player is hoped to be cast this week who will partner with US World Team Member, Kim Navarro, who was paired with Wade Belak.

 

BATTLE OF THE BLADES partners stars of hockey and figure skating to battle it out in a weekly live skating competition for a $100,000 first prize donation to the charity of their choice. Broadcast from the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, the live elimination competition series. A total of $290,000 will be donated to charities throughout the 8-week series.

 

The first BATTLE OF THE BLADES live performance will be comprised of one-hour competitions on Sunday, September 25 and on Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). Fans have asked for no elimination in the first week, but these performances will still count towards the first elimination held in week two. Subsequent weeks will feature performance shows on Sunday evenings followed by the dramatic, live “skate-off” results shows on Monday nights.

Hockey Fights Cancer Teams Up With the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

White Plains, NY (September 8, 2011) – Hockey Fights Cancer™, a joint charitable initiative of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, joined forces with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) during the 2010-11 season to take a shot at pediatric cancer.

 

To recognize the impact of the partnership, NHL players – Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils), John Tavares and Michael Grabner (NY Islanders) and Henrik Lundqvist and Brad Richards (NY Rangers) joined Adolfo Ferrando, M.D., Ph.D., of Columbia University whose work is focused on T-Cell leukemia and representatives of LLS at NHL headquarters to present a plaque to Hockey Fights Cancer thanking it for its support in the fight to eradicate pediatric cancer. (* see info below to access photo)

 

Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer. The money raised through the campaign is funding an LLS portfolio of 10 pediatric cancer research grants, including one supporting the work of Dr. Ferrando.

 

The Hockey Fights Cancer/LLS campaign also included Public Service Announcements featuring NHL players, and a mobile phone texting campaign that was promoted during hockey games throughout the U.S. and Canada. The campaign gave LLS chapters across North America the opportunity to leverage and strengthen relationships with their local NHL teams. Together they hosted special events at NHL arenas that helped raise awareness and funds to support the initiative.

 

Among the teams that participated were the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals. LLS’s Orange County Chapter and the Ducks’ partnership included promotions on the Ducks’ website, in their publications and on Ducks radio. The Ducks dedicated a game to LLS and presented a generous check to support cancer research. Many other chapters also made successful connections with their teams. The Capitals dedicated a game to LLS, during which LLS honored patients were recognized on center ice. The Capitals made special jerseys with LLS colors and the HFC patch that players wore during pregame warm-ups, and auctioned the autographed shirts during the game.

 

Ferrando is working on targeting a molecule called NOTCH1 that can cause T-cell leukemias and lymphomas when it is abnormally activated. His clinical colleagues are conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with relapsed or refractory T-cell leukemias to test whether NOTCH inhibitors can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy in patients with T-cell leukemias.

 

“LLS is extremely grateful to the NHL, the Players and the entire hockey community and its fans for coming together to support this effort,” said LLS President and CEO John Walter. “These funds will be a tremendous help to researchers such as Dr. Ferrando who are working hard to beat childhood cancer.”

 

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit http://www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. http://www.lls.org.

 

About Hockey Fights Cancer™

Hockey Fights Cancer™ is a joint charitable initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association. It is supported by players, NHL member clubs, NHL alumni, the NHL Officials’ Association, professional hockey athletic trainers and equipment managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America. The goal of Hockey Fights Cancer™ is to raise money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research. To date, Hockey Fights Cancer™ has raised more than $12 million. Hockey Fights Cancer™ is a component of The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice™, the National Hockey League’s® and National Hockey League Players’ Association’s social responsibility program that builds on hockey’s long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.

 

PTM Interview: Mike “Doc” Emrick, Part 1

When I started Puck the Media, the dream in my heart was (and still is) that one day I wanted to do what Mike Emrick does. I have a lot of heroes, but I know that his voice calling Devils games for so many years is what made me pursue this dream, and is probably the reason the site exists. Doc was kind enough to give me 40 minutes of his time last week (this is actually the second interview we’ve done, the first wasn’t usable because the other side of the story, that of the Fox network, needed to tell never was able to give me an interview) to discuss a ton of things, as he sat at home and played with his beloved dogs and listened to a Tigers game. You know from what everyone’s told you or mentioned in an interview, Doc is as genuine, thoughtful and kind as they come.

It is quite extensive, and I’ll split the interview into two parts, the second of which you’ll see tomorrow at this same time. For now, here’s part one, in which Doc discusses what has changed, what has stayed the same, and answers a question that he’s never been asked before.

Puck the Media: Was this a different summer for you, knowing that you had to prepare for all 30 times as much as you had to prepare for the Devils?

Mike Emrick: Yeah. I think the one thing about it is that you end up preparing for a lot of teams at the same time, because New Jersey played a lot of squads over the course of a season, and if I missed a game against Los Angeles or against Anaheim, the chances were pretty good that I was going to have prepare for them for VERSUS or NBC. It’s probably different in that you don’t burrow in as much to the Devils as I did in the past, though I’ve got a pretty good back log in my memory. But you still have to do the work every day to stay up on things. So, I’ll stay up on them as well as all the other teams, but equally now, rather than spending more time on them than the others.

PTM: Going back to the day you announced you were leaving, how difficult was that to accomplish?

ME: It was difficult in one respect: I’ve never not covered a whole team for a whole year in my 38 years, I’ve always been with one team or the other, following them around. The many things that happens from that is, as you’d expect, is that you develop professional relationships as well as fun times with guys either on the teams or guys on your crew. I think I mentioned earlier in another interview, during the last 18 years that I was there, both of my parents passed away, we had some significant tragedies with the canine members of our family, which, you know are members of our family. Not everybody sees it that way, but we do. And, invariably, when one of those things happened, the Devils were supportive, the fan club was supportive, the network was supportive. When you’re with a team constantly, and traveling with people on a regular basis, those are things that aren’t manufactured, they’re genuine because that’s how they feel and that’s how we feel about each other.

So that is one thing that I’ll miss, because you know with the network situation, you’re doing different teams every week, and you don’t establish really deep roots with one team that lead to circumstances like I just described. Probably that and the notion of that happening in the middle of the summer, when there was really no access that I had to the fan club or the fan population other than the route that I decided to go. Yeah, it was difficult, and there will times, I’m sure, that I will miss those guys and I’ll read a story about a Devils game and say “That must’ve been something, I wonder what Patrik Elias said after.” Those will be normal things that will come up in the course of my year, because of 18 consecutive years and 21 overall. It’s not likely that you walk away and you don’t think about those people anymore.

PTM: Do you know for sure whether you’ll be getting back to New Jersey this season?

ME: I would imagine that I will. Our schedule’s finalized for the first three months, but there aren’t any Devils home games in the first three months. I would anticipate that there will be in the second half of the season, because I see there are a couple of Devils home games blocked off in the second half. The law of averages is that I’m doing half the games that VERSUS does, that I’ll get at least one of them. But I don’t know for a fact that I am yet. I know there’s some games on the road that the Devils have, in the first three months of the season, so I’ll get to see them on the road a couple of times, but I don’t know about the home games yet because the only schedule that was sent out from VERSUS was the first three months.

PTM: Moving more towards VERSUS, you’ve done FOX and ESPN, going way back, and doing VERSUS the past few years. Do you look at doing VERSUS exclusively as a new challenge?

ME: No, I don’t think it’s any different in terms of the way you prepare and the way you deliver the game. I think that part is the same. The difference is the volume of games is greater with them. I was only doing 10 with them in the regular season, and 10 or 11 with NBC, depending on how many they wanted me to do. Now, that will be probably in the neighborhood of 50, with the combined networks (NBC and VERSUS). A lot of the production people will be the same. The only thing different will be the volume of games for them, as opposed to having a lot of those games with MSG Network.

PTM: A reader submitted this question: Is there a moment in hockey history that you were at that you wished you’d been at?

ME: Boy, I don’t know. It’s a real intriguing question. I’ve never been asked that before. Let’s see, I think it would’ve been fun, because radio existed in 1936, I think that was the year that Mud Bruneteau scored the six-overtime winner for Detroit against Montreal. That would’ve been kind of fun to see, and I imagine that those nine periods would have gone faster than maybe six periods would have in the [modern-day] NHL. There weren’t commercial timeouts, and I don’t think they were very good about flooding the ice every intermission. I have a feeling that game was probably played a little quicker with nine periods of hockey in the playoffs than a triple-overtime game would in the modern era. That would have been fascinating.

I think it would’ve been a lot of fun to have been [CBS broadcaster] Bud Palmer at Squaw Valley when the U.S. won the game against the Czechs on the final day of the Olympics in ’60. Obviously, I’m envious of Al Michaels having been in Lake Placid, that would have been a lot of fun, but I was also glad that I could watch those events, although the ABC game was not live. I was in Halifax with the Maine Mariners at the time. We played a game that night in Halifax. I didn’t even see the Canadian telecast of the Soviet Union-U.S. game, which I believe was live. We just learned after our game was over that the United States had won.

I’m sort of all over the map here, because I’ve never really given it thought. The question was about an event that I didn’t get to do that I’d have liked to. I imagine there are quite a few of them. It would have been fun to have called some of Bobby Orr’s games, but I was still in the minors when Bobby retired so I never got to call a game that he actually played in. That would have probably been fun. I did get to see Gordie Howe play in his final season. I was not calling games at that time in the NHL. I guess the answer is there are probably a lot of them when I think about it now, but I’m really glad that I was lucky to see as many as I was able to call.

PTM: What’s different about doing the game on television? What do you notice that’s different about just broadcasting the game?

ME: I think the fact that we’ve gone through one whole generation of arenas. When I came in in 1980, and I don’t want this to sound like complaining, but our position in these arenas is so much different than when I began in 1980 doing television. In Hartford, we were on the last row of the lower bowl, and within two years we were in the rafters where, as Gene Hart – the legendary Flyers telecaster – said, “We’re so high, that Lon Chaney is in the next booth waiting to cut the cord on the chandelier on The Phantom of the Opera [laughs]. I thought that was a priceless line.

In a lot of these arenas, either the arena turned over and the new location was way up and way back, or we were in places like Chicago Stadium or the Aud in Buffalo, where you hung from a balcony and your proximity to the ice. The old Coliseum in Quebec, the same thing. In terms of just the actual nuts and bolts of televising, we tend to be – in the United States – way up and way back, because when this new generation of arenas was built, in the early part of the 1990’s but more toward the middle part of the 1990’s, they tended to copy each other. You would have these pilgrimages of guys that would go around and look at the new arenas that were built, because they were about to build one themselves. It seemed like, for that reason, the location in Buffalo became like the location in Tampa, which became like the location in Florida, which became like the location in Philadelphia, which became like the location in every other place.

A real spoiler was New Jersey, because when Prudential Center was created, we were really spoiled. I don’t know if you ever at our location in the Meadowlands [Editor’s Note: Emrick and Glenn “Chico” Resch (as well as the road TV crew) were located in an open booth at the Meadowlands Arena that essentially made up the front row of the upper bowl, right at center ice. It is now left vacant in the arena’s current structure, though now that the Nets have left, everything is pretty much vacant there.] , but that was going to be hard to beat.

Fortunately, Lou Lamoriello agreed with Roland Dratch, our producer, that if we were going to have the rights until 2023, and we were going into a new place, we should have a location that we wanted. Roland wanted me and Chico to be down. We have access to the fans, though it’s not open access. It was at the Meadowlands where anyone could come and see us, but there’s still a lot of fans that can, if they have seats there. The important thing is, in proximity to the ice, we’re only 20 rows from the glass, and that enables you to see so much. Many of the visiting teams come in and they wear white, and a lot of times the sleeve numbers are not very clear if you are way up and way back, as you are in Anaheim and Dallas and a lot of those places.

I think the main difference is that, in Canada, we’ve had a turnover of arenas as well, but they still follow the philosophy of Foster Hewitt, who went to Eaton’s Department Store in the atrium in all the different floors, and pretended to call a game in the 1930’s, and went back to the new building in Maple Leaf Gardens and told them how far back and how high he wanted to be to broadcast the games. Ever since then, almost every Canadian rink that you find is designed with that Foster Hewitt blueprint in mind. We tend to find those spaces outside of Prudential Center that are way up and way back.

As we’ve turned over Chicago Stadium and the Aud and all those places, I mention Boston Garden, where you were so close you could hear the punches land when there were fights on the ice. We are now way up and way back everywhere. I said that, not to complain, it has made it more of a challenge to do the job. But I said that just as a fact of how things have evolved, from old arenas to the new ones in the United States.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow, where Doc discusses his expectations for this season, and having to bring up some of the sports more tragic moments.