Canucks rink no longer GM Place

Rogers has signed a 10-year deal giving them the rights to change the name of GM Place. (Bob...

Rogers has signed a 10-year deal giving them the rights to change the name of GM Place. (Bob Mackin/QMI AGENCY)

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:30 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Good-bye General Motors Place, hello Rogers Arena.

Canucks Sports and Entertainment made a surprise announcement Tuesday, changing the name of the Vancouver Canucks' home rink five years before the expiry of the original 20-year naming rights deal with General Motors.

Rogers Communications signed a 10-year contract to rename the 18,810-seat downtown rink Rogers Arena. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Rogers wants to help us connect our fans to Canuck hockey and concert experiences to technology," said CSE chief operating officer Victor de Bonis at a news conference.

Rogers is already the Canucks' main TV rights holder through its Rogers Sportsnet regional sports channel. Rogers replaces Telus as the CSE telecommunications sponsor. Telus was negotiating to take over the naming rights from GM. CSE even registered the TelusPlace.com website last January in anticipation of a deal.

"While we were interested in continuing our sponsorship, we evaluated a proposal that was put forward to us," said Telus spokesman Shawn Hall. "They wanted to pursue a relationship elsewhere."

General Motors reportedly spent $20 million for exclusive naming rights in 1995. The name change comes a year after the auto giant was in bankruptcy. GM Canada spokesman Tony LaRocca said the premature end of the contract is not directly tied to restructuring of the company, which was saved in 2009 by loans from the Canadian and United States governments.

It was a mutually satisfactory and beneficial scenario, LaRocca said of the name change.

LaRocca said GM brands will continue to be advertised and promoted inside the arena.

Rogers Arena is actually the third name in the venue's history. It was known during the 2010 Winter Olympics as Canada Hockey Place because International Olympic Committee rules prohibit venue advertising.

Rogers already owns the Toronto Blue Jays and their home ballpark Rogers Centre, the former SkyDome.

"We had to have the right mix and the right mix is the Aquilinis," said Rogers' vice-chairman Phil Lind of the family that owns both the Canucks and Rogers Arena.

Bell, Canada's biggest telecommunications company, became the jersey sponsor and telecommunications partner for the Major League Soccer-bound Vancouver Whitecaps in June and may be a candidate to buy naming rights at B.C. Place Stadium.


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