September 21, 2009 15:30 ET

RONA and MLSE Mark New Partnership With In-Store Event, Athlete Appearances and Pledge to Refurbish Arena

Canada's leading hardware and home improvement retailer will join forces with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to rejuvenate a rink in Whitby, Ontario

WHITBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2009) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, today celebrated its new five-year partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) with an in-store event at its Whitby store.

RONA is now the Official Home Improvement Retailer of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS) and the Toronto Marlies (AHL) as well their home facilities: Air Canada Centre, Ricoh Coliseum and BMO Field. To mark the occasion, players from each of the four teams - as well as the teams' dancers and mascots - were at the event to greet the public and sign autographs.

The public and invited guests were able to meet and obtain autographs from: Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs; Quincy Douby of the Toronto Raptors; Dwayne De Rosario and Jim Brennan of Toronto FC; and Darryl Boyce and Alex Berry from the Toronto Marlies.

During their speeches, RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton and Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke, announced that their organizations would team up to refurbish a city-owned arena in Whitby. The arena to be refurbished will be determined at a later date. Also in attendance for the announcement was MLSE's senior vice-president of corporate partnerships David Hopkinson.

The rink announcement marks the beginning of RONA's community-building-initiative with MLSE, part of a corporate partnership between the two companies that was announced on September 3. RONA will play an active role in the Maple Leafs Hard Hats for Hockey program, which was launched three years ago. As part of the program, RONA will contribute labour, materials and expertise to every rink refurbishment. To date, the Maple Leafs Hard Hats for Hockey program has already invested $400,000 in completing eight rink refurbishment projects in the City of Toronto.

"We are thrilled to associate our winning RONA team with MLSE's important Canadian sports teams," Mr. Dutton said. "The Maple Leafs, Marlies, Raptors and Toronto FC are an inspiration and source of pride for so many people, not just in Ontario, but all across Canada. Our sports sponsorships and community initiatives allow us to promote Canadian values of fair play, social responsibility and perseverance."

"This rink refurbishing project is a great opportunity for us to give back to the Whitby community," Mr. Dutton added. "The town has welcomed us very warmly from the first day we opened our doors here. We also salute Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for starting this community program. As soon as we joined them as a sponsor, they agreed warmly with our suggestion that we tackle this project in Whitby. This is the first time the program has been extended outside of the City of Toronto."

"We're excited to partner with RONA and to team up with a proudly Canadian company to support the city of Whitby," said Mr. Burke. "The Maple Leafs Hard Hats for Hockey program has made tremendous contributions to growing and developing hockey and aspiring young hockey players."

"Whitby's ten arenas play a vital role in this community," said Mayor Pat Perkins. "They are host to both house league and competitive hockey programs. They serve thousands of children, youth and adults through recreational skating programs. Some rinks are getting old and could use refurbishment. To have RONA and MLSE offer to fund improvements to one of our facilities is just great news for the Town of Whitby."

RONA's partnership with MLSE is a continuation of its long-standing commitment to Canadian sports, both professional and amateur. RONA is already a National Partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a National Partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams through the London 2012 Summer Games.

About the Companies

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of nearly 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is one of the premier sports and entertainment companies that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Toronto Marlies Hockey Club of the American Hockey League (AHL), Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), Air Canada Centre and three digital channels - Leafs TV, Raptors NBA TV and GOLTV. MLSE also operates and manages events at BMO Field, home of Toronto FC, and Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Marlies.

Contact Information

  • Media
    RONA Inc.
    Michele Roy
    Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
    514-599-5900, ext 5398
    Financial Community
    Stephane Milot
    Senior Director
    Investor Relations
    Rajani Kamath
    Director, Corporate Communications