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Bridgestone joins NHL and NHLPA for season opener @NHLdotcom
NASHVILLE/NEW YORK/TORONTO – When the puck drops in Europe for the launch of the 2008-09 National Hockey League (NHL) season, Bridgestone brand, The Official Tire of the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), will be there as title sponsor of the Bridgestone NHL Premiere 2008. These ground breaking games will be played October 4th and 5th in Stockholm, Sweden and in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will play a pair of games in Stockholm, Sweden while the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning will face-off in Prague.  The NHL European road trip is just one of many opportunities for corporate and product exposure that Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA) will enjoy under a global multi-year agreement with the NHL and the NHLPA, signed in March.

“Teaming with the NHL is a perfect fit for the Bridgestone brand,” said John Baratta, President, Consumer Replacement Tire Sales, BFNT.  “The NHL has a very loyal fan base of affluent, tech-savvy fans throughout the U.S. and Canada.  With many of the star players being European, the NHL Premiere 2008 is an opportunity for North American and European exposure for our brand and our products,” Baratta concluded.

Significant interest will be created in both countries with the return to Europe of some prominent “hometown” NHL players next week, including Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Rangers’ pair of Michal Rozsival and Petr Prucha of the Czech Republic.

"The Bridgestone NHL Premiere 2008, part of a long-term vision of international growth, is providing Bridgestone a significant global marketing platform at a time when the eyes of the entire global hockey community will be trained on NHL games in Europe," said Keith Wachtel, NHL Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales & Marketing. "Our relationship with Bridgestone is representative of the unique scale, reach and value the NHL is bringing to the corporate marketing community."

“Bridgestone's sponsorship of the season opening games in Europe is an exciting initiative being activated under our joint agreement,” said Mike Ouellet, NHLPA Chief of Business Affairs. “These international games will provide wonderful exposure for the Bridgestone brand, while showcasing our players and sport directly to an international audience.”

Under the agreement signed earlier this year, Bridgestone will leverage its status as the Official Tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, and will support its NHL and NHLPA relationship with advertising on NHL telecasts in Canada and the U.S., as well as supporting various NHL clubs.

“We’re excited that the new NHL season is upon us,” said Phil Pacsi, Vice President N.A. Consumer Tire Marketing, BFNT.  “This agreement with the NHL will provide us numerous exclusive promotional opportunities throughout the season and beyond, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL Entry Draft and the NHL All-Star Game,” Pacsi said. The latter two will be in Montreal this year, as part of that fabled team’s Centennial celebrations.
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