The National Hockey League and The Hockey Company have reached an agreement to form a long-term worldwide exclusive licensing and marketing partnership.

The new agreement was approved by the NHL Board of Governors and The Hockey Company’s Board of Directors, and will serve as a cornerstone for the NHL’s future apparel product strategy.

Under the new agreement, The Hockey Company will have the exclusive rights to supply and market all Center Ice authentic apparel, including team uniforms, practice gear, headwear and locker room apparel for the players and team personnel of all 30 NHL Member Teams. The Company also will have broad worldwide rights, to design, manufacture, market and sell replica jerseys, headwear, T-shirts, fleece and other apparel products for all teams in all channels of distribution. The agreement extends into ice hockey equipment, granting new rights to THC to market sticks, skates, helmets and protective equipment with the NHL brand and/or the logos of the 30 NHL Member Teams.

To capitalize on the opportunities and new demands of the agreement, The Hockey Company and the NHL will create a Research and Design Center in Montreal dedicated to developing innovative, high performance apparel products. The new NHL/THC Research and Design Center will serve as a key resource for the development of the NHL Member Teams authentic uniforms.

The agreement also includes an annual multi-million dollar marketing commitment from THC to the NHL and each of the 30 Member Teams. The Hockey Company will utilize many of the NHL’s extensive marketing platforms to market NHL licensed products as well as CCM, KOHO and JOFA hockey equipment on both a local and worldwide basis.

“This agreement unites the strength of the NHL Brand with the premier hockey focused equipment and apparel company, The Hockey Company,” said Ed Horne, President, NHL Enterprises. “It provides both partners with the benefits of a long term, stable relationship and the freedom to research and develop the highest performance sports products sold. With this agreement, THC joins a significant list of major business partners that have made long term commitments to the League.”

“Our focus will be on delivering the most innovative, exciting and highest performing apparel products to the NHL’s growing avid and loyal fan base,” said Matthew H. OToole, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hockey Company. “This long-term pact will allow us to make significant investments in the growth of our NHL business. Through our CCM brand we have been proudly associated with the NHL since its beginnings over eighty years ago. Today’s announcement makes our partnership the most fully integrated marketing and product alliance in the world of professional sports.”

The agreement, which will begin in the 2004/05 season and extend until the end of the 2013/14 season, includes a substantial initial payment to the NHL.