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NHL, NHLPA announce seven-year jersey partnership with adidas

The partnership will commence with the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and begin full-time with NHL teams during the 2017-2018 season.

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The NHL has announced a longterm jersey partnership with adidas that will span for seven seasons, starting in 2017-2018. The deal also includes exclusive apparel and jersey outfitting for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

In 2017, adidas will also takeover exclusive control of NHL apparel and headwear.

Today, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr were joined on conference call by adidas president Mark King to officially make the announcement.

Reebok-CCM, part of the adidas Group, will not have either of its logos featured on the new jerseys.

Adidas will also be connecting with fans at all key events and grassroots initiatives, according to Bettman.

Last week, adidas announced Connor McDavid as a new signing. More "superstars" will be announced as adidas athletes in the coming weeks, according to King.

"Adding the league to our growing icon portfolio -- which includes premier athletes in U.S. league partnerships across football, basketball, and baseball -- is just a start for us," said adidas Group North America president Mark King.

The move does not change the NHL's approach to adding advertisements to jerseys, according to Bettman.

"We are not currently considering putting advertising on NHL jerseys," the commissioner said. "There have been no discussions formally or informally."

While the deal doesn't inevitably set the NHL up for ads on jerseys, but it opens up other branding, Bettman said.

For the World Cup, jersey advertisements are still in the mix and there have been discussions.

According to the NHL's chief operating officer, John Collins, there has been no final decision made on how the adidas branding will appear on the jerseys.

King acknowledges that the NHL's traditions are important, but that changes may come to the technology.

"The hockey jersey is very traditional, it's very much a part of the game," he said, adding that they may consider TechFit technology -- already used in the football -- in order to make the jersey lighter and tighter.

"It completely changes the look of the hockey player," King said of the possibility.

When decisions are made on the logo placement and increased technology, the players will be consulted, according to King.

"The TechFit technology is really light and fits closer to the body and actually allows more mobility and freedom, so that would be the No. 1 technology that we would look at."

But neither party is in a rush to usher in changes.

"This would be something that we would move slowly on," King added.

"The history, tradition and respect that goes with the sweaters is something that we and adidas respect," Bettman said. ""If there are better fabrics that help performance, that's one thing but we happen to like our jerseys a lot. We're not looking to revamp our jerseys."

The deal helps adidas expand their brand in North America.

"In sports in North America, at the top of the list is hockey," King said.

But North America isn't the only market. King pointed to Russia and other European markets as being beneficial for adidas.

The deal will coincide with the league's centennial season, which may also include centennial jerseys, Bettman added.

According to Fehr, NHL players are "particularly pleased" about the chance to partner with adidas.

"It's a big, big day for adidas," King said.