The Toronto Maple Leafs have added an extra game to their 2008 preseason schedule, and they're opening the doors free to all fans with a unique ticket giveaway opportunity in partnership with Coca-Cola Canada.
The Leafs and Coca-Cola Zero™ announced Wednesday that the September 22 preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Centre will be called the Coca-Cola Zero™ Fans First Game. The Leafs added the free game to their schedule as a way of recognizing the outstanding support of their fans.
"The Leafs have the most loyal and passionate fans in the NHL," said Leafs General Manager Cliff Fletcher. "Securing the additional preseason Leafs game and giving away tickets to the Coca-Cola Zero™ Fans First Game is our way of thanking them for their on-going support."
He added that this event was an opportunity for hockey fans who have never seen a live Leafs game to experience one at Air Canada Centre.
Fletcher made the announcement in Air Canada Centre's Galleria in front of hundreds of Leafs fans. He was joined by Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and chief operating officer for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Greg Cyr, director of integrated marketing, Coca-Cola Canada, and Mike Clark, Ontario vice-president, Coca-Cola Bottling.
All Leafs fans in attendance were given a pair of complimentary tickets to the game against the Buffalo Sabres. The remaining tickets will be distributed free to fans through a series of unique promotions and contests.
Current Leafs players Curtis Joseph, Matt Stajan, Carlo Colaiacovo, John Mitchell, and Jeremy Williams, and Leafs legend Wendel Clark attended the announcement, met fans, signed autographs and distributed tickets for the Coca-Cola Zero™ Fans First Game.
"We’re excited to provide this unique opportunity for our fans to get the first look at the 2008-09 Toronto Maple Leafs team," said Anselmi. "The Coca-Cola Zero™ Fans First Game will be a memorable event. It will have the feel of an opening night with pregame festivities including a tailgate party for attendees to enjoy."
"Many thanks go to our corporate partner Coca-Cola Canada who has teamed with us to make this event a reality for our fans.”
“Coca-Cola Zero is about making the impossible, possible. Our product exemplifies that, said Greg Cyr, director of integrated marketing for Coca-Cola Canada. We've made a product that has the taste of Coca-Cola with zero calories. And now we’re making the impossible, possible for passionate Leafs fans that have never experienced the thrill of a live Leafs game.”
The event offers Leafs fans the first opportunity to see the new-look Leafs under the guidance of Head Coach Ron Wilson. The 2008-09 Leafs will see the return of familiar faces including Matt Stajan, Nik Antropov, Vesa Toskala and Alex Steen, who will be joined by newcomers Niklas Hagman, Jeff Finger
, Mikhail Grabovski
, Jamal Mayers and first-round draft pick Luke Schenn
. Former Leafs player Curtis Joseph returns to the club in goal.
Rogers Sportsnet has secured the broadcast rights for the Coca-Cola Zero™ Fans First Game.