Richard Kuypers Appointed Tournament Director for Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

Golf Canada veteran to lead development of the newest Canadian addition to the international LPGA Tour

TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC

WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial and Sports Properties International are pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Kuypers as Tournament Director for the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic is a new addition to the LPGA Tour and will take place from June 18-24, 2012 at the Grey Silo Golf Club in Waterloo, Ontario. 

Kuypers brings significant experience to the role. He has previously held positions at Golf Canada, as the Manager of Professional Championships, and at the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) as the Assistant Tournament Director of the CN Canadian Women's Open - the only other Canadian event on the LPGA Tour. Kuypers has previously worked with both the LPGA and PGA professional tours and served as Tournament Director for the RCGA's Amateur Competitions.

"The appointment of Richard Kuypers as Tournament Director is a very important step in bringing this international event to Waterloo," said Paul Rooney, President and CEO, Manulife Canada.  "As a Canadian company with advisors, employees and customers in virtually every country represented on the LPGA Tour, Manulife is committed to creating a world-class sporting event that will engage local volunteers, shine a global spotlight on Waterloo region and build connections with viewers from across North America, Asia and around the world. Richard's tremendous experience and strong golf background will ensure the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic becomes a top-notch event attracting the best female golfers in the world." 

As Tournament Director, Kuypers will be responsible for the promotion, sales and strategic planning of all aspects of the event. He will also be charged with the development and coaching of a team of tournament staff and volunteers.  An event of this size and scope is no small venture; in addition to the professional staff required to coordinate all of the marketing and logistical elements, Kuypers will be relying on Manulife Financial's strong connections to the Waterloo community and to Southwestern Ontario to help recruit close to 1,200 volunteers who will help make the tournament a success.

"This is an incredible opportunity," said Kuypers. "I'm very excited to help bring this world-class event to the Waterloo region and to Canada. While we're just getting started and there is lots of work to be done, I know that with the backing of a strong and reliable international company like Manulife Financial as the title sponsor, and with the full and active support of the people of Southwestern Ontario, we can make this local event an international success." 

"Attracting a top talent like Richard to this position is an indication that this new tournament is already gaining momentum and garnering excitement in the global golf community," said Hugh Morrow, CEO of Sports Properties International.  "We know that under Richard's leadership the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic will quickly grow to be one of the most successful tournaments on the tour."

More information on the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, including the preliminary tournament schedule, ticket information, and volunteer opportunities at the event can be found at manulifeclassic.ca. More information will be added to the website as further details are finalized. 

About the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic is a new addition to the LPGA Tour and will feature a standard eligibility field of 144 players, 72 holes of stroke play and a purse of $1.3 million. The 2012 tournament will take place June 18-24, at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, home of Manulife Financial's Canadian Division. Information on the tournament is available at manulifeclassic.ca.

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 21 countries and territories worldwide. For more than 120 years, clients have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We provide asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in property and casualty retrocession. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$481 billion (US$498 billion) as at June 30, 2011. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

About Sports Properties International
Sports Properties International was created to provide an environment where communities and spectacular sporting events can come together, connected by a common interest.  Sports Properties International can be found on the Internet at www.sportspropertiesinternational.com.

SOURCE Manulife Financial

For further information:

Media contact:
Michael May
AVP, Media Relations
Manulife Financial Canadian Division
519-594-2660
michael_may@manulife.com

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