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Bulletin: Melnyk Launches 'Patrons Of Sport' Campaign

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Toronto – Eugene Melnyk, Canadian business leader and owner of the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, joined with the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN Fund) to announce the launch of Patrons of Sport, a national campaign to raise funds in support of Canadian athletes. Melnyk, through his founding donation of $1 million, is rallying all Canadians to join him in raising funds for the country’s top athletes, so they can be more competitive when they represent Canada on the world stage.

More than 100 athletes, coaches, parents and corporate guests gathered to honour Melnyk’s commitment and to launch the Patrons of Sport movement.

“These athletes are at the top of their game. They are chasing big dreams of becoming a world champion, winning an Olympic gold and being the best in the world at their sport. Often there is a substantial cost and a very heavy financial burden to chasing these dreams,” Melnyk said. “I know from over 25 years of business experience, one cannot achieve success without the help of others. These athletes need our help.”

As the founding donor, Melnyk added: “This national campaign is about letting our athletes know that an entire country is behind them. I’m asking all Canadians who value everything our athletes represent to join me and become a ‘Patron of Sport.’ When these young Canadians wear the maple leaf and compete internationally, they instill an overwhelming sense of national pride and, in doing so, they remind us how sport can make a nation better.”

“Today, I have found a leader in Eugene Melnyk. I’ve found my Captain Canada,” said Jane Roos, CAN Fund’s founder and Executive Director noted. “Eugene has become the first Patron of Sport in this country and as a good-hearted Canadian he is willing to take the lead, put a stake in the ground and highlight to Canadians how important it is to support our athletes.”

Today’s launch of the Patrons of Sport campaign coincides with the official one-year countdown to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Canadians are being encouraged to follow Melnyk’s lead and make whatever contribution they can to show their support for these athletes. The campaign’s philosophy is that all donors, large or small, will be designated as a Patron of Sport. Donations can be made on-line at or by calling 1-866-YES-2008 with funds going directly to the athletes.

About the Canadian Athletes Now Fund
The Canadian Athletes Now Fund is a not-for-profit organization devoted solely to raising money and awareness for Canada's amateur athletes. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Fund has helped over 500 Canadian athletes prepare for international summer and winter competitions. Canadian athletes allocate this direct financial support to their training, coaching, nutrition and living expenses. For every contribution over $25 a tax receipt is issued and the donor finds out which athlete they have supported.

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