The National Hockey League and The Hockey Company have agreed a deal to form a long-term worldwide exclusive licensing and marketing partnership for all Center Ice authentic apparel.

Under the new agreement, The Hockey Co will have the exclusive rights to supply and market apparel such as team uniforms, practice gear, headwear and locker room apparel for the players and team personnel of all 30 NHL Member Teams.

The agreement, which will begin in the 2004/05 season and extend until the end of the 2013/14 season, includes a substantial initial payment to the NHL. No financial details were revealed.

"This agreement unites the strength of the NHL Brand with the premier hockey focused equipment and apparel company, The Hockey Co," said Ed Horne, president, NHL Enterprises.

"It provides both partners with the benefits of a long term, stable relationship and the freedom to research and develop the highest performance sports products sold."