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When did advertising first appear on NHL rink boards?

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Doug Harvey in the 1950s, when the boards were (more or less) white.

Doug Harvey finishes his check, back in the day when the boards were (more or less) white.

Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Question: When did advertising first appear on NHL rink boards?
When did they first put advertising on the boards in the NHL?
- Brent, Edmonton
Answer: If you remember the seventies you might also remember a time when the solid white of an NHL arena was interrupted only by the necessary lines, the black skid marks of pucks and the occasional bloodstain.

The ad men took over in the eighties. NHL clubs were granted the right to place ads on the boards beginning with the 1978-79 season, but the first ads did not appear until 1980. Within ten years every NHL arena had advertising on its rink boards. Ads painted on the ice first appeared in the early 1990s.

So far, the NHL has resisted the hideous European trend, where the white space on the ice is almost eradicated by corporate logos and the players are plastered with brand names.

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