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Hartwall pulls name sponsorship from Helsinki Arena

Beverage manufacturer Hartwall announced on Wednesday that it had terminated its marketing collaboration with Helsinki Halli.

Venäjän hyökättyä Ukrainaan panimoyhtiö Hartwall irtisanoi sponsorisopimuksensa Hartwall-areenan omistavan yhtiön kanssa. Maaliskuun alussa Hartwallin kyltit irrotettiin hallin seinästä. Image: Emma Hyyppä / Yle

The signs for beverage manufacturer Hartwall, the main sponsor of the Helsinki arena, were removed from the venue's walls on Wednesday.

The arena had until this point been known as the Hartwall Arena, but the company has announced via a press release that it has terminated its marketing partnership with Helsinki Halli. Hartwall is one of Finland's largest beverage manufacturers and has sponsored the Helsinki arena since its opening in 1997.

The decision is based on Russia's attack on Ukraine less than a week ago, Hartwall stated.

"The war started by Russia is an absurd and reprehensible act. We will no longer engage in marketing collaboration with Helsinki Halli due to the war in Russia. In the future, the arena will not bear Hartwall's name, and the Hartwall logo has been removed from the arena's walls," Hartwall CEO Kalle Järvinen said in the press release.

The arena has been owned by a company called Arena Events since it purchased the property from MP Harry Harkimo (MN) in 2013.

Arena Events is owned by Gennady Timtshenko, who is on the West's sanctions list due to Russia's military actions in Ukraine, as well as Arkadi and Boris Rotenberg. Rotenborg's son Roman Rotenberg is chair of the boards of both Helsinki Halli and Arena Events.

The Finnish Hockey Federation announced following Russia's attack on Ukraine that the men’s national ice hockey team’s jerseys and championship pennants would be lowered from the rafters of the Hartwall Arena. Shirts worn by Raimo Helminen, Timo Jutila, Saku Koivu, Jari Kurri, Jere Lehtinen, Ville Peltonen, Teemu Selänne and Kimmo Timonen had been on display.

Finland is set to host the Men's Ice Hockey World Championships in May. Finland will play its matches in Tampere as part of Group B. Group A games are due to be held at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, but that may change.