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Gretzky and Cherry Named Most Priceless Zamboni Machine Drivers

New MasterCard Canada Fan-O-Metre measures the pulse of Canadian hockey fans as the quest for the Stanley Cup begins

Toronto, March 1, 2006 — Wayne Gretzky and Don Cherry topped the list as Canadians’ most popular choices to drive a Zamboni® during the Stanley Cup™ Finals, as reported in MasterCard Canada’s Fan-O-Metre issued today. The two hockey icons narrowly edged other prominent Canadians such as Mike Myers (14 per cent) and Shania Twain (13 per cent) for the coveted job.

With the NHL® season resuming this week and the race to the playoffs officially underway, the Fan-O-Metre kicks off MasterCard’s Your Crew at the Cup™ sweepstakes — cardholders who use their MasterCard card between March 1 and April 15, 2006 are automatically entered to win 1 of 3 trips for 4 to a 2006 Stanley Cup Finals game.

Your Crew at the Cup grand prize winners will meet and watch the game with an NHL Alumnus, plus participate in an “Ice Crew Experience” where they meet the home team’s ice crew and help prepare the ice on a practice day during the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. MasterCard has been a North American partner of the NHL since 1995.

“Canadians are never shy about sharing their opinions on hockey and the MasterCard Fan-O-Metre captures their perspectives,” said Tammy Scott, Vice President, Brand Marketing, MasterCard Canada. “For Canadian hockey fans there’s nothing more priceless than attending the Stanley Cup Finals, except perhaps, being able to bring three friends. By being part of the ice crew, hockey fans get as close to the ice as the Zamboni driver, an experience we’re thrilled to be able to give our sweepstakes winners.”

Other Fan-O-Meter findings:

  • Shania Twain was the top pick to sing the national anthem(s) at the Stanley Cup Finals (18 per cent), followed by Celine Dion (15 per cent), U2 (11 per cent), Great Big Sea (10 per cent), Stompin’ Tom Connors and The Tragically Hip (nine per cent each), and The Rolling Stones (eight per cent).
  • One in five Canadians (20 per cent) want to drive a Zamboni machine, but only two per cent of Canadians have ever driven one.
  • One in three (32 per cent) Canadians selected Sidney Crosby as the best NHL player under the age of 25; Alexander Ovechkin was second (11 per cent), followed by Rick Nash (nine per cent), Ilya Kovalchuk and Eric Staal (five per cent each).

The “Your Crew at the Cup” sweepstakes builds on MasterCard’s four-part series of Priceless “Zamboni” television ads, which follow a boy named Drew who longs to make it to the NHL — but not as a player. Drew experiences a life changing moment when he decides at an early age that his place on the ice doesn’t involve guarding the net — it's behind the wheel of a three tonne vehicle. The third installment of the series is currently in rotation with the finale set to debut during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Hockey fans can visit www.yourcrewatthecup.ca/game and play MasterCard® Zamboni® Machine Driver for a chance to clear the ice. And, as an added bonus, cardholders will automatically earn a second entry when they use their MasterCard card to make a purchase during the promotion period at any of the following partner retailers: National Car Rental, Cineplex Entertainment LP, SellOffVacations.com, WestJet, and Home Depot. Winners will be announced May 15, 2006. For full contest details please visit www.mastercard.ca.

About the Fan-O-Metre Survey
The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of MasterCard Canada from February 16-21, 2006. The telephone survey is based on a randomly selected sample of 1,001 Canadians ages 18+. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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 manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment card 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 105 countries and in 48 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com.