2002 – 2003 Donations to MasterCard Hockey Equipment
for Big Brothers Big Sisters Eclipse Previous Years’ Totals
2002-2003 Drive raises over 4,000 pieces of children’s hockey equipment for Big Brothers Big Sisters; Cape Breton Screaming Eagles lead CHL in donated equipment
MasterCard Memorial Cup, Quebec City – May 24, 2003 – MasterCard Canada today announced that its annual Hockey Equipment Drive collected over 4,000 pieces of new and previously owned children’s hockey equipment for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. The equipment was donated by hockey fans across the country during the 2002-2003 CHL season. The 4,000 pieces collected more than quadrupled the previous year’s totals, setting the stage for even bigger things in 2003-2004.
Equipment has been collected at designated home games of most Canadian Hockey League teams throughout the 2002 – 2003 season, and at McDonald's Restaurants of Canada at participating outlets last autumn. All donated equipment stays in the local community and is distributed by Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies to children in need.
Before today’s MasterCard Memorial Cup semifinal game, hockey legends Jean Beliveau and Bobby Orr joined representatives from MasterCard Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters in honouring the CHL team that collected the most equipment during the season. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and their fans gathered more than 200 pieces of equipment this season.
"Hockey should be a game of pride, not privilege," said MasterCard Canada spokesman Bobby Orr. "It can cost anywhere between $500 to $700 to equip a child to play the game. That's too much for many families to afford. The MasterCard Hockey Equipment Drive aims to lessen that financial burden and helps ensure kids across Canada have the equipment necessary to safely play and enjoy the great game of hockey."
"It was a hallmark year for the MasterCard Hockey Equipment Drive culminating in today’s grand total announcement," commented Walt Macnee of MasterCard Canada. "The goal for 2003 – 2004 is to maintain the momentum of support and eclipse the previous year’s donations."
The 2003 – 2004 edition of the MasterCard Hockey Equipment Drive promises even more success with an expanded approach that includes an enhanced community outreach and support program and the second annual Stars for Skates celebrity hockey game to kick off the drive.
"Each year, the MasterCard Hockey Equipment Drive has a tremendous impact on the children supported by local agencies," said Gary Peddle, president, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. "As more people become involved on both the corporate and grass roots level, the more children we reach with much needed equipment."
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) is a national youth-serving organization supporting 181 member agencies across the country that deliver a wide range of mentoring programs to children and youth in hundreds of communities across Canada. For over 85 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has offered mentoring programs to children throughout Canada in the form of one-to-one matches where caring adult volunteers are matched with children with similar interests. Through its mentoring programs, BBBSC agencies are dedicated to helping in the development of children between the ages of 6 and 18. Currently, there are over 17,000 Little Brothers and Sisters involved in mentoring programs across the country with more than 7,000 waiting for a match. Big Brothers Big Sisters is the recognized expert in recruiting, screening and match monitoring.
About the Canadian Hockey League
The CHL is the world's largest hockey league with 55 teams in Canada and the United States and more than 1,300 players aged 16 to 20. It is the premiere developmental league for the NHL and has produced stars including Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy. More than 50 per cent of current NHL players and 70 per cent of NHL coaches and administrators are CHL trained. The CHL also provides virtually every player and coach to the Canadian National Junior Team, which has captured seven gold medals and one silver medal in international play over the last ten years, dominating world junior hockey.
The CHL is the highest attended sports league in Canada and attracted more than 8 million fans to games this past season, marking the 17th consecutive season of growth.
The CHL includes three regional leagues: the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The playoff winners for each of the three plus a host team compete in the annual MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship.
About MasterCard International
MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 96 countries and in 45 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For the year ended December 31, 2002, gross dollar volume exceeded US$1.14 trillion. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com