(January 25, 2006) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs held their first official outdoor practice Wednesday at Rennie Park in Swansea. The practice was held in partnership with The Home Depot, the Leafs corporate partner and the world's largest home improvement retailer.
The Leafs were joined by Toronto Mayor David Miller, Leafs General Manager John Ferguson, local area councillor Bill Saundercook and The Home Depot Canada President and CEO Annette Verschuren on ice prior to the start of practice where Captain Mats Sundin presented the Mayor with a team jersey.
Verschuren and Ferguson also announced a hockey rink legacy program that will support refurbishing Toronto-area hockey rinks with Rennie Park being the first to benefit. Over the past year the Leafs and Home Depot have made a series of significant improvements to the rink including a new scoreclock, rinkboards and a fresh coat of paint for the locker rooms. These upgrades will provide a better environment to skate and play hockey for the many families and local schools who use the rink.
"Today's outdoor practice marks the start of an important legacy program that supports city building and bolsters our team's vision and values in giving back to our community by providing access and opportunity to the game of hockey," said Ferguson.
350 excited elementary students from Swansea Public School and St. John Fisher Public School had the opportunity of a lifetime to watch the team practice and were entertained by Leafs mascot Carlton the Bear.
"Today's project is a great example of what can happen when government, and the private sector unite for the benefit of the community," said Verschuren. "This wonderful new rink will benefit thousands of children and who better to partner with than The Toronto Maple Leafs and the City of Toronto."
"It's great to skate with the Leafs, but it's even better to see the generosity they and Home Depot are showing by investing in our community facilities," said Toronto Mayor David Miller.
The Home Depot Canada currently operates in ten Canadian provinces, employing more than 25,000 people across the country. The Home Depot's corporate culture believes in giving back to the community it serves.
The Leafs are committed to responsible community leadership through providing access to sports and recreation, and encouraging health and wellness in the community. Through the Leafs Fund, the team raises and disperses more than $1 million to charities annually.
The Leafs face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, January 26 at Air Canada Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.