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Molson Canadian named 'Official beer of the NHL' in new landmark league deal

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NEW YORK ─ The National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a major agreement with brewers Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP) in Canada and MillerCoors in the U.S., awarding flagship brand Molson Canadian exclusive League rights in the beer sponsorship category, including the rights to the Official Beer of the NHL® designation, beginning with the 2011-12 NHL season.  The deal will span seven years.

In addition to becoming the official and exclusive beer sponsor of the NHL, Molson Canadian will gain the same distinction for key League events, including NHL Face-Off™, NHL Winter Classic®, NHL Heritage Classic™, NHL All-Star, as well as the opportunity to offer consumer promotions involving the Stanley Cup. The deal also provides the brand with opportunities to engage fans through NHL media assets NHL.com, NHL Network™, NHL Mobile™ and NHL Social.  Molson Canadian is currently the Official Beer sponsor of many NHL teams in Canada and the U.S.

While Molson Canadian will be the lead brand on the NHL alliance in both countries, Coors Light will share some of the sponsorship assets in the U.S. and Canada.

"This partnership with Molson Coors and MillerCoors will be groundbreaking for the NHL and our fans," said John Collins, NHL Chief Operating Officer.  "Molson Canadian is an iconic brand with a rich hockey heritage and Coors Light has a track record of connecting with sports fans in innovative and effective ways.  The combination of unprecedented support of our clubs and TV rightsholders with activation across the NHL's comprehensive portfolio of marketing and media assets will create great opportunities for both brands."

Dave Perkins, President and CEO, Molson Coors Canada, said, "Molson Canadian is synonymous with the game of hockey and was the brand that helped build the tradition of 'Hockey Night' across Canada. Partnering with the NHL reinforces Molson Canadian's 'Made from Canada' brand position, and also reflects our company's desire to help Canadians connect over shared passions and great beer."

"Molson Canadian has a long history of supporting hockey at all levels and will use this platform to build momentum in the States, especially in its core markets where hockey already has a stronghold with fans," said Andy England, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer at MillerCoors.  "And Coors Light, the brand that's all about 'cold refreshment,' will use the NHL partnership to strengthen its presence in NHL markets, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Great Lakes."

The partnership between Molson Coors and MillerCoors on the NHL sponsorship is just one example of the benefits of the U.S.-based joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller that resulted in the establishment of MillerCoors.