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Maple Leafs, Marlies, Lakeshore Lions Club Team up with MasterCard to Foster Hockey Excellence

TORONTO, August 19, 2009 – The Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies and the Lakeshore Lions Club announced today their partnership with MasterCard Canada to provide hockey players of all levels with more opportunities to achieve their dreams through the new MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence™.

Scheduled to open in September 2009, the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence is the first community ice facility to be built in the Toronto-area in the last 25 years. It will also serve as the Maple Leafs and Marlies practice facility and will be home to the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey School.

“We’re excited to partner with a great global brand like MasterCard,” said David Hopkinson, Senior Vice-President of Corporate and Community Partnerships for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Our organizations share the same philosophies and values when it comes to community outreach that create opportunities for young people and promote sport.”

Hopkinson added that the Maple Leafs and Marlies are equally excited to partner with the Lakeshore Lions Club and Canada’s sports leaders – Hockey Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame – to develop what will become an epicentre for hockey and a global model that caters to every level from grassroots to high performance.

“We’re looking forward to developing a community asset that supports making hockey and ice time more accessible, while growing and further shaping the sport in Canada.”

Through their Hockey Legacy program, the Maple Leafs have invested more than $400,000 over the last three years to refurbish eight city-owned outdoor rinks for youth hockey development in Toronto. In 2009, the Maple Leafs committed to invest an additional $2.3 million over the next five years for city-owned rink refurbishments.

The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence will be a state-of-the-art facility with three NHL-size pads and one Olympic-size pad with seating for 1,000 spectators.

“MasterCard Canada’s ongoing involvement with hockey across the country inspired us to lend our support to this state-of-the-art facility that will bring together everyone who is passionate about hockey – from grassroots players to the sport’s elite, and all of their supporters – under one roof,” said Kevin Stanton, President, MasterCard Canada. “Hockey has created hundreds of priceless memories for Canadians involved in the sport, either as a player or as a fan. The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence will play a key role in creating more of these memories in the years ahead.”

As part of its support, MasterCard Canada will donate 250 hours of ice time to the local community and grassroots hockey programs each year, including:

  • Free MasterCard Community Skate for families every Saturday;
  • Free MasterCard Open Skate for students on professional development days throughout the school year;
  • Additional free ice time from September to June to various local community groups.

Today’s announcement also benefits MasterCard Canada’s Little Fans in Big Seats™ program, which works with charitable groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada to put more kids in premium seats at junior and professional hockey games and events across the country.

MasterCard Canada is proud to be a major sponsor of five NHL hockey teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadian Hockey League and the MasterCard Memorial Cup since 1999.

The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence replaces the existing single ice-pad at the old Lakeshore Lions Arena, which was build in 1951 and operated by The Lakeshore Lions Club. The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence will also be operated by The Lakeshore Lions Club.

“Our vision of building a state-of-the-art hockey facility become reality after five years of planning,” said Bob Harris, President, Lakeshore Lions Arena Incorporated. “The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence is a great legacy project that will benefit Toronto and the community of Etobicoke for many generations.”

Hockey Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame will also be tenants in the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence. Hockey Canada will operate their Ontario Regional Offices from the new facility and use the Olympic-sized pad for training and development of Canada’s national teams. The Hockey Hall of Fame will relocate its archives and research facilities to the new building. The arena will also be the permanent home of the Etobicoke Dolphins, Canada’s second largest women’s hockey organization, and the Faustina Sports Club.

The MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence is presently in its final phase of construction and is scheduled to open for the start of Maple Leafs training camp. The Lakeshore Lions Club, the Maple Leafs, Marlies, MasterCard Canada, Hockey Canada, the Hockey Hall of Fame and government officials will celebrate the grand opening of the facility in early September that will include public skates, community events and facility tours.

MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com.

Lakeshore Lions Club
The Lakeshore Lions Club was founded in 1932 as a service club and has had a bountiful history. It is a legacy of a group of local men and their dedication and personal involvement in the affairs of their community. Since its inception, the Lion members have raised and donated in excess of $3 million within the local area. For nearly 60 years, the Lions have owned and operated the Lakeshore Lions Arena providing local hockey teams with an ice surface to play their games and turning all the operating profits back to the community.

Media Contacts:

Rajani Kamath
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
416-815-5790

Jamie Deans
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
416-815-5445

Sheryl So
Environics Communications
MasterCard Canada
416-969-2725