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Street Buds face off with Mats Sundin

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Mats Sundin knows that before you can become a Leaf, you must first start out as a Bud.

On Sunday, November 25 Sundin will launch the Esso NHL Street Buds program at the Norseman Community School and Pool in the City of Toronto's Parks and Recreation hockey community. This year marks the program's seventh season, and with the support of Esso, it will surely be a successful year.

Esso Street Buds is an access and opportunity hockey program that enables more than 5,000 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 the opportunity to play organized hockey at 32 different Toronto Parks and Recreation community centers and public schools.

Mats Sundin is the honourary Street Buds captain.
The goals of the program are three-fold: skill development, exercise and fun. This minor hockey development initiative includes the presentation of three awards each month to Street Buds participants recognizing sportsmanship and fair play, and a continuing initiative this season - the Esso "Seat to Suite" program. This promotion allows eight lucky fans from the stands to be moved down to Esso's private box by simply presenting an Esso Extra Card during a commercial time-out on the video screen. Esso Street Buds participants then fill their seats. This promotion will enable Street Buds participants to attend six home games this season at Air Canada Centre.

"We believe that it is important to get involved in programs that recognize the value of positive reinforcement in youth skill development," said Sundin. "This program gives boys and girls a chance to participate in an outstanding program that encourages them to enjoy the game, while promoting the importance of team work, exercise and that hockey is fun."

"Through the Street Buds Program, we've expanded our Esso Medals of Achievement Program to include a recognition award for those volunteers who help children learn about the game," said Todd Corradetti, manager of sponsorships at Imperial Oil. "The Esso Volunteer awards recognize Toronto Street Buds staff and volunteers who exemplify an extraordinary commitment and dedication to the youth involved in the Street Buds program."

Sundin will give a demonstration to 45 Esso NHL Street Buds participants from the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation-West District. The Street Buds will then have an opportunity to try and master the hockey skills of the Leafs captain in several interactive clinics for skills such as passing, shooting, goaltending and stick handling.
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