Move follows recent decision by league to allow small advertisements on player helmets

The National Hockey League, which took a revenue hit last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said on Tuesday it has sold the naming rights to its divisions for the first time.

The move to sell naming rights to divisions that were once named after some of the founding fathers of the league before taking on geographical designations, follows a recent decision by the NHL to allow small advertisements on player helmets.

For the new season, which begins on Jan. 13, teams will play in the Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division and the MassMutual NHL East Division, the league said in a news release.

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 did not say whether having corporate sponsorships for divisions would be the new normal or simply a one-year-only campaign, but some marketing experts believe they are here to stay.