On Friday, the NHL made two under-the-radar announcements, one of which made a strong statement of faith in Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews.
Canadian Tire, the largest retailer of sporting equipment in Canada, agreed to become the League’s Official Sporting Goods Retailer of the NHL in Canada. The five-year agreement indicates that Canadian Tire will now be designated as an Official Partner of the NHL Heritage Classic, NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Final and NHL Face-Off.
Part of the announcement was also that the NHL and Canadian Tire will partner to to form the Canadian Tire Hockey School (CTHS). The NHL and Canadian Tire also named Toews a founding member of CTHS, and selected him as their spokesman.
“Canadian Tire has been a part of my hockey story since the very beginning – it’s where my grandfather bought me my first pair of skates and my first stick,” Toews said in the press release. “I’m proud to be a part of Canadian Tire’s all-star team, and the founding member of CTHS. This exciting new program is sure to play a significant role in developing the next generation of Canada’s hockey stars, on and off the ice.”
Canadian Tire reportedly sells more sticks and pucks than any retailer in the world, and this hockey school initiative elevates Toews into an elite status. There is no question now that with this announcement, and his likeness being on the cover of EA Sports “NHL ’11” video game, Toews is now one of the faces of the NHL in North America (as we predicted in March, and again in June).
In February, Toews became the youngest player in Canadian history to win a gold medal in the World Juniors, World Championships and Olympics. When he added the Stanley Cup to his resume in June, Toews became the youngest member of the IIHF Triple Gold Club. The Triple Gold Club consists of the 24 players in history that have won the World Championships, Olympics and the Stanley Cup.