Release - Toronto Maple Leafs and their partners say "Hello" to China

Air Canada Centre will feature Chinese-translated rinkboards during Saturday's Leafs versus Red Wings game

TORONTO, March 29, 2014 /CNW/ - The good ol' hockey game is growing and the Toronto Maple Leafs have something to say about it.  In recognition of a rapidly increasing interest in hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs are sending a special message to viewers in China during their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Throughout the first period, 11 rinkboards at Air Canada Centre will be translated to acknowledge China's burgeoning NHL audience. Each rinkboard will feature the partner's logo, name and a special message in Mandarin. Organizations that have signed on to participate in this special initiative are Avis, BlackBerry, Casino Rama, Dairy Queen, Hero Certified Burgers, Purolator, MasterCard, Norton Rose Fulbright, RedTag.ca, Scotiabank and Sun Life Financial.

"The popularity of hockey continues to increase globally and we wanted a way to acknowledge the fast-growing audience in China and say thank you to the fans that have helped the sport grow in such an influential nation," said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Chief Commercial Officer, Dave Hopkinson.  "We are fortunate to have like-minded partners that felt the same and wanted to participate."

This is the first season NHL games are being broadcasted in China.  Through China Central Television Sports (CCTV5) 87 NHL games will be broadcast in HD which are initially aired live and then replayed in the evening to account for time change.  Despite the time difference an average of 300,000 households view the live broadcast in the morning with 450,000 to 600,000 households viewing the encore during prime time hours of 7 to 9 p.m. Since last month's 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the live audience number has amplified to an average of 800,000 households per game.  CCTV5 will air a total of 12 Toronto Maple Leaf games this season with Saturday night being the 11th

*** Photo opportunity on Saturday, March 29th from 2:15 - 3 p.m. with Leafs mascot Carlton the Bear and the rinkboards.  Please RSVP to Abby Albino if you would like to attend.

SOURCE Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

For further information: Media contact: Abby Albino, MLSE, 416.569.5325, abby.albino@mlse.com