The ice may be gone at CONSOL Energy Center, but there was plenty of activity buzzing on the arena floor this week.
That’s because the city and the arena hosted this year’s NHL Exchange, the annual licensed products and retail trade show of the National Hockey League, from July 29-31.
The NHL Exchange (now in its eighth year) features the largest offering of NHL licensed products in the world. NHL licensees, retailers and sales representatives from all 30 clubs gathered at the NHL Exchange to explore emerging consumer product and retail trends for the 2013-14 season.
Top sports licensing brands occupied more than 100 booths on the floor of CONSOL Energy Center, where the team sales representatives and retailers browsed and observed the merchandise available for them to sell in their stores. In addition to the trade show, Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse and Penguins radio broadcaster Phil Bourque held a Q and A on Tuesday with the event attendees, moderated by NHL Network host (and Pittsburgh native) Steve Mears.
Bourque spoke about the importance of merchandise to fans who want to represent their team, saying, “There’s a lot of pride when you put that jersey on. Not just in our arena here at CONSOL, but we also travel on the road and it’s crazy and it’s unbelievable when you look down from the press box whether we’re down in Florida or in Nashville or LA and you look down and we see black and gold everywhere. It’s a pride thing.
“Think about your favorite team, whether it’s the Penguins or whoever else it may be. When you buy their merchandise, you’re wearing it with pride, whether it’s the covers of your golf clubs (or anything else). It’s a pride thing – you want to be associated with a winner, and I think that’s why merchandise is so important.”
The NHL Exchange is just the latest high-profile league event to come to Pittsburgh, after the 2011 Winter Classic and the 2012 NHL Draft. In addition to hosting NHL events, the city also had the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four, 2012 March Madness regional games and will have the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 26.
Mears took PensTV into the trenches onto the arena floor and spoke with a number of licensees at their booths about their merchandise, even gamely getting a manicure of sorts from Jaime Boreanaz, wife of actor David Boreanaz, at the Chrome Girl nail polish booth (yes, we got it on camera and yes, Mears tried the Penguins version).
Watch his adventures below and get a look at some of next year’s merchandise from vendors like Reebok, who’s the official outfitter of the NHL, and other intriguing and interesting products:
Game On Glove
Holland Bar Stool Company