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May 28, 2011 16:30 ET

Sarnia Sting's Nail Yakupov Named BMO Rookie of the Year

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 28, 2011) -

Attention Lifestyle and Sports Editors

BMO Financial Group has named 17-year-old Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting the 2011 BMO Rookie of the Year. National Hockey League legend Igor Larionov accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Yakupov at the Hershey Centre today in Mississauga. Nail plays right wing for the Sarnia Sting.

The BMO Rookie of the Year award is presented annually to a Canadian Hockey League player who demonstrates outstanding achievement, sportsmanship and dedication to sport.

"Nail's achievements to date have been tremendous. He is exemplar of the sportsmanship, skill and unwavering determination that we are proud to support at BMO," said Nick Mastromarco, Director, Acquisition & Head of Retail Partnerships Marketing, BMO Bank of Montreal, who presented the award to Nail. "We are proud to be a long time supporter of Canadian junior hockey and congratulate the outstanding achievements of players and coaches."

In 2010, Nail was selected second overall in the CHL Import Draft. He was named OHL Rookie of the Year for the 2010–11 season.

Mr. Yakupov's record-setting career places him in the top ranks of rookies throughout OHL history. He is tied for fourth overall in league scoring for the season, with 101 points in 65 games, scoring 49 goals and 52 assists. This achievement makes him the fifth OHL rookie in the past 15 years to reach 100 points in a season. Mr. Yakupov has also established a new Sting record for goals and points scored by a rookie, surpassing Steven Stamkos' record from the 2006-2007 season.

"Nail's play this year exceeded all expectations that we had heading into the season," said Sting Associate Coach Trevor Letowski. "Our hope was that he would be able to contribute offensively but he proved to be one of the most dynamic players in the entire league. "The passion that he brings to our dressing room makes us a better hockey club and his combination of skill and desire will make him a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft."

About BMO and the CHL

BMO Bank of Montreal has been a proud supporter of the Canadian Hockey League for 11 years. BMO and MasterCard sponsor the MasterCard Memorial Cup, which features the champions of the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Currently, 46 Canadian teams in the CHL participate in the BMO Affinity MasterCard program, providing customers the opportunity to support their favourite teams.

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