Nine teams have debuted jersey sponsors for the 2022-23 season. Will the officials’ jerseys be next?
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly thinks so.
“I must’ve been watching the World Juniors and I saw that they had sold the jersey position on officials’ uniforms, which I don’t know that I ever noticed before,” Daly said, per Daily Faceoff. “It’s a logical next question. I can’t tell you we have a current intention to do it. Once we’ve made that next step with players, I don’t know why we wouldn’t take that step with officials.”
Based on Daly’s comments, it’s only a matter of time.
The league introduced helmet ads in the 2020-21 season in an attempt to offset revenue lost during the COVID pandemic. Referees and linesmen currently wear the NHL shield on their helmets.
International officials are familiar with wearing ads on their stripes, or, in some cases, spots. Europe’s Spengler Cup Tournament has seen their crews sporting spots and even a cow head in support of Swiss Milk.
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 9, 2019
Official Sponsor of the Officials?
The nine teams with jersey advertisements have a diverse group of sponsors from different industries:
Arizona Coyotes (Gila River Resorts & Casinos)
Columbus Blue Jackets (Safelite Auto Glass)
Minnesota Wild (TRIA Orthopedics)
Montreal Canadiens (RBC Bank)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Highmark Healthcare)
St. Louis Blues (Stifel Financial)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Dairy Farmers of Ontario)
Vegas Golden Knights (Circa Sports)
Washington Capitals (Caesars Sportsbook)
Who should be on the officials’ jerseys? We asked. You gave us your suggestions.
Many were related to eye care (LensCrafters, Warby Parker, LASIK), or criminal justice (bail bonds, attorneys). Others were more practical, suggesting companies related to officials gear (Acme Whistles, Fox40 Whistles, Officials Wearhouse) or even businesses whose employees already wear the stripes in store (Foot Locker).
There were also some more creative submissions:
Three Blind Mice pub in Michigan! pic.twitter.com/Yu3ENIFw5O
— tommy gates (@tommygates351) September 14, 2022
In reality, we’re expecting it to be a corporate-level NHL sponsor, like SAP, BioSteel, or perhaps even TikTok on the officials’ jerseys. We think the NHL will steer clear from having an online sportsbook; despite their existing business relationships with the NHL, that might not be the best optics to include them on the referees’ jerseys.
Of course, the league could also consider sponsorships for certain calls, or even reviews. Just think of the hockey-related-revenue for this video review brought to you by a cell provider, a tripping call sponsored by a personal injury attorney, or a slash sponsored by a ticket broker promoting the Guns ‘n Roses tour.
Over on the latest Scouting the Refs podcast, Todd had one more terrific, relevant suggestion for an officials’ sponsorship…