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SportsColumnistsSteve Zipay

Rangers aren't on board with idea of advertising logos on jerseys

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist protects the

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist protects the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Henrik Lundqvist has numerous endorsement deals, and other Rangers have agreements on memorabilia with Steiner Sports, the firm that marketed Derek Jeter's farewell.

But when it comes to selling space on jerseys for sponsors logos -- a common practice in Europe that is creeping closer to the U.S. -- the Rangers bristle at the suggestion.

"I'd hate to see ads on a Rangers jersey, the look is so classic," Lundqvist said. "It would be hard to imagine. Coming from Sweden, I know what happened there. First there was one, then more and more, and now you almost can't see the logo."

In Sweden, Lundqvist began his career with the Frolunda Indians, and a glance at the current jersey is startling: Ads on the shoulders, upper chest and sleeves, and across the bottom hem; essentially a red billboard. Russia's KHL uniforms are similar. And anyone who has watched European soccer can't help but notice the giant logos that have replaced the clubs' crests.

The NHL's uniform contract with Reebok, which has been in place since 2006, expires after the 2016-17 season. Adidas, the parent company of Reebok, outfits 18 teams in the five major soccer leagues in Europe, including Arsenal, which receives $50 million a season to wear a Fly Emirates crest. The only logo currently on NHL jerseys is Reebok's, on the back of the neck, although at least two teams have patches on practice sweaters.

But don't be surprised if the next deal, perhaps with adidas, includes some clause for future sponsorship -- if given the green light by the NHL. Perhaps it all starts with ads on third jerseys, or for special events, such as the proposed revival of the World Cup of Hockey, last staged in 1996.

So how about an airline or telecommunications brand on an NHL jersey? "I wouldn't be happy with it at all," said Rangers defenseman Matt Hunwick, who also has played for the Bruins and Avalanche. "But I think it's inevitable. Look how much Manchester United got, was it $600 million?"

Actually, it's a whopping $559 million over seven years courtesy of General Motors, for the Chevrolet logo across the chest.

The NHL has refrained from discussing the possibility, although at a recent seminar in New York, Chief Operating Officer John Collins said jersey advertising is "coming and happening," but the league later clarified his remark, saying he was speaking about North American pro teams. To be sure, the NBA is considering crossing that bridge.

Some marketers estimate that advertising logos on NHL jersey could generate about $120 million in sales annually, about $4 million per team. As hockey-related revenues, the proceeds would be split with players. But that doesn't even sway some veterans.

"I support the growth of the league," veteran center Dom Moore said, "and I'm well aware of the economic situation. But I'm more of a traditionalist; not in favor of it." Not even a little patch? "No, it seems once you open the door . . . "

Dan Boyle, 38, who has laced up the skates for Florida, Tampa Bay and San Jose before coming to the Rangers, doesn't like tampering with history.

"I'd be a little uncomfortable, what it represents," Boyle said, shaking his head. "It's probably because I've been around for a long time. I even like the white jerseys at home."

Hab-ulous

The current team leaders in scoring against the Canadiens, who visit the Garden Sunday night, are:

Martin St. Louis 18-22-40 in 50 games

Dominic Moore 4-13-17 in 29 games

Dan Girardi 3-7-10 in 29 games

Derek Stepan 0-8-8 in 14 games

Rick Nash 3-4-7 in 11 games

Pair of helpers

Two lifelong Rangers fans attending George Washington University have raised $28,000 through fundraisers by their fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and half is being donated to the Katie Moore Foundation. Katie, the 32-year-old wife of center Dominic Moore, died of a rare form of cancer in January 2013.

"Half of the money raised went to help Tom Syron, the dad of a frat brother who has stomach cancer," said Anthony Avitable, a senior. Delta's Tim Kenna "was the mastermind of the entire project," said Avitable, 21, who, along with junior Neil Govoini, both from Norwalk, Connecticut, contacted the Moore foundation and were sent a few signed pieces of gear to auction. "It just seemed like the right thing to do," Avitable said.

Prospect watch

Goalie Igor Shesterkin, a Rangers prospect, starred in five games for the winning Russian National Junior team in the just-concluded six-game Subway Super Series against Canadian all-star junior league teams. The athletic 18-year-old, drafted in the fourth round last summer, posted a 1.58 GAA, a .940 save percentage and one shutout.

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