Maple Leafs, Marlies, Lakeshore Lions Club team up with MasterCard to foster Hockey Excellence

    TORONTO, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - The Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies and the
Lakeshore Lions Club announced Wednesday 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 a
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,
    -   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(TM) program, which works with charitable groups such as Big Brothers and
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(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard serves consumers and
businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go

    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

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: For Maple Leaf Sports &
Entertainment: Rajani Kamath, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, (416)
815-5790; Jamie Deans, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, (416) 815-5445; For
MasterCard Canada: Sheryl So, Environics Communications, (416) 969-2725

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