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Volume 21 No. 1
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Reebok near deal with hockey phenom

Reebok’s CCM Hockey brand is close to signing a multiyear head-to-toe apparel and equipment endorsement deal with 15-year-old hockey phenom Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick of the Ontario Hockey League.

If the deal is completed, as expected, it would be the most significant deal Reebok has signed with a young hockey player since 2005, when it signed Sidney Crosby, 17 years old at the time and now an NHL star, to a five-year deal. McDavid would be the youngest hockey player to endorse Reebok.

Glen Thornborough, Reebok CCM vice president of global marketing, confirmed that he was in discussions with McDavid, his family and Bobby Orr, the NHL hall of famer and founder of the Orr Hockey Group, which represents McDavid.

“We want to align with the best in the world, and we believe Connor McDavid is in that class,” Thornborough said.

Orr Hockey Group partner Rick Curran confirmed that the agency was completing an equipment deal for McDavid, but he would not identify the brand.

Thornborough would not say when a deal might be announced but said the company was in advanced discussions with McDavid’s representatives. “I won’t get into the terms of it, but it would obviously extend into when and if he is in the National Hockey League,” Thornborough said.

McDavid will be eligible for the 2015 NHL draft.

McDavid was chosen as the first pick overall by the Erie Ontario Otters after the Ontario Hockey League granted him “exceptional player” status, which allowed him to be drafted into the major junior hockey league one year early. He is the third player to be granted the status by the OHL, a major feeder of talent into the NHL.

McDavid’s precocious talent has been compared to that of Crosby by hockey experts including Crosby himself.

“It is not an everyday occurrence in the industry that a player like Connor comes along,” Thornborough said. “We are not in the habit of signing kids that age, but there are special occurrences and this is one.”

Orr Hockey Group’s Curran said, “Bobby has seen a lot of good hockey players, and he said [McDavid] is definitely one of the more impressive players he has ever had the opportunity of watching play at that age.”

McDavid has been using Reebok hockey products for years, Thornborough said, including the new CCM RBZ hockey stick, which Reebok developed in collaboration with TaylorMade. That stick was released in stores in August.