Molson Canada

Molson Canada

May 01, 2007 16:00 ET

Molson Supports Alberta Skeleton

Brewer races head-first to develop world-class Alberta athletes

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - May 1, 2007) - Molson's Matt Skolnik jumped head-first into skeleton racing three years ago with no coach and no training, racing down an icy track at more than 120 kilometres per hour. Today, he's a competitor in the World Championships.

"In only three seasons Matt has gone from a complete novice to a world-class athlete," said Will Meijer, Molson's Alberta sales director.

"Matt's passion to excel embodies our company and employee values at Molson and we are thrilled to be able to support the grassroots development of more elite amateur athletes like him."

Canada's oldest brewer today donated $5,000 to Alberta Bobsleigh to support the ongoing development of world-class amateur athletes in Alberta such as Skolnik.

Skolnik is a 6-foot, 185-lb a sales planner for Molson at its Western head office in Calgary. He was the first slider ever to compete for Slovakia in international skeleton races and has placed as high as 11th, qualifying this year for both the European and World Championships. Skolnik finished 29th at his first ever World Cup race in March in St. Moritz, Switzerland, birthplace of skeleton racing.

"Skeleton is a sport that requires strength, speed and above all patience," Skolnik said. "It's a sport where you need to be completely focused and completely relaxed on the sled while going 120 km per hour with your face less than an inch off the ice."

"To me, the challenge of this sport is like the challenge of working in Canada's fiercely competitive beer industry. It's fun, fast-paced and intensely competitive," Skolnik said.

Skolnik trains as a member of the Calgary Bobsled Club, the home club to retired 2006 Olympic gold medallist Duff Gibson. Skolnik first tried skeleton when he worked part-time as a ski instructor to pay for his finance degree at the University of Calgary.

Amateur athletes like Skolnik often compete on their own time and their own dollar. His expenses for gear, track time and travel average nearly $20,000 a year without any association or corporate sponsorship.

Molson's funds will go to develop Alberta skeleton athletes through the Calgary Bobsled Club and the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the umbrella organization for amateur sport and recreation in the province.

Molson has a proud history of developing amateur athletes. For more than 50 years, Molson has established grassroots relationships with hundreds of athletes and sports teams nation-wide including a $1 million contribution to both the Men's and Women's National hockey teams that successfully brought home gold medals from Salt Lake City in 2002.

Skeleton racing was originally included in the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland but was dropped from competition until the 2002 games.

About Molson

With roots dating back to 1786 and a time-honored tradition of brewing quality beers, Molson is proud to play its part in communities across Canada. With an emphasis on helping Canadians aged 19-29, Molson is proud to support the development of active lifestyles, healthy communities and skills improvement in communities coast-to-coast. For more information on fund eligibility and allocation, visit Molson.com.

Molson operates six breweries, including one in Edmonton that is the oldest brewery in Western Canada. Molson also invests in communities across Western Canada through sports and entertainment sponsorships. In addition, Molson's charitable programs include the Molson Donations Fund, its employee gift-matching program and MVP, the new Molson Volunteer Program that gives each employee a paid day's leave to volunteer for a community cause.

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