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AHL names title partner for All-Star Classic

WINNIPEG, Man. … The American Hockey League announced today that it has reached a two-year agreement that will make The Hockey Company the title sponsor for the AHL All-Star Classic.

The agreement begins this season with the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, to be played at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man. The event will begin with the 2006 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on January 31, and conclude with the 2006 AHL All-Star Game on February 1.

The site and date of the 2007 event are still to be determined.

“The Hockey Company has a significant and highly valued presence in the AHL as our premier equipment supplier, exclusive jersey manufacturer and leading licensing and marketing partner,” said David Andrews, President and CEO of the American Hockey League. “We are thrilled to be adding to this relationship through THC’s decision to become the title sponsor of the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. It is a great fit to have the leading company in hockey join with us to showcase our top players at this world-class event.”

As part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar partnership with the AHL, The Hockey Company produces all authentic, replica, practice, warm-up and alternate jerseys for each of the league’s 27 teams under its Reebok brand, as well as the jerseys for the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. The Hockey Company is also an approved manufacturer of headwear and non-jersey apparel in the AHL’s licensing program, and presents CCM Promotional Nights, purchasing more than 25,000 tickets for distribution to charitable organizations and youth groups in each AHL city and to its top retailers for customer reward programs during the year.

The Hockey Company, a division of Reebok International Ltd., is headquartered in Montreal. With operations in Europe and the United States, it is the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and marketer of hockey equipment and related apparel under four of the world’s most recognized hockey brand names: Reebok, CCM, Jofa and Koho. The Hockey Company is a world leader in the design and innovation of skates, sticks, helmets, protective equipment products and related apparel, and is the Premier Equipment Supplier of the AHL.

The 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League, competing in the 2006 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition and the 2006 AHL All-Star Game, in an event to be televised nationally in the United States and Canada. Of the 364 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Manitoba Moose alumni such as Ryan Kesler, Nolan Baumgartner and Jason King.

In operation since 1936, the AHL is celebrating its historic 70th anniversary this season, and continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 80 percent of all current NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and in 2004-05, more than 7.1 million fans – an all-time league record – attended AHL games across North America.