Feb 24, 2011 Nashville, TN, New York, NY

Nomination Process Now Open for Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award

Bridgestone also continues sponsorship of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award

For the third consecutive year, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) has teamed up with NHL® Hall of Famer Mark Messier to recognize and reward an individual who has made a positive impact on the lives of kids in the world of amateur hockey, and nominations for the Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award are now being accepted.

This award is intended to encourage leadership and community spirit and to reward those involved for their contributions to youth sports or education. It will provide a $5,000 grant or scholarship to the United States or Canadian resident involved in amateur hockey judged to have overcome adversity in achieving his or her goal or dream; supported community service by promoting youth sports or excellence in academics for athletes; or who has enabled underprivileged kids to participate in hockey. This could include players, coaches, administrators, sponsors, officials and timers and scorers – anyone who has used hockey to make a difference. The award will be presented during the third game of the 2011 Stanley Cup® Final. (For complete award and nomination guidelines for the Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award please visit: www.bridgestonetire.com/Messier).

Last year’s winner was Neal Henderson, Founder and Head Coach of the Washington D.C.-based DuPont Hockey Club – a remarkable program that provides opportunities for deserving kids to build character, learn sportsmanship and experience the unique joy of playing youth hockey.

“I’m so happy to see this program is in its third year and still going strong,” Messier said. “The submissions we received the first two years were so inspiring, and I can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store. Thanks to Bridgestone for being a great partner in this rewarding initiative and I am proud to have my name alongside theirs in this effort to promote excellence and leadership both on and off the ice.”

In addition, the Bridgestone brand will continue to sponsor the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which recognizes a National Hockey League player who has demonstrated superior leadership in hockey and has made positive contributions to society. The award honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes.

“Once again, the NHL is pleased to have Bridgestone on board with efforts to recognize those in the sport of hockey who are making a positive impact, whether they are at the professional or amateur level,” said Brian Jennings, NHL Executive Vice President of Marketing. “Our partnership with Bridgestone goes beyond sports marketing to reach hockey enthusiasts at the grassroots level, which creates connections we can build upon for years to come.”

The successful multi-year partnership between the Bridgestone brand and the NHL has also included title sponsorship of the Bridgestone NHL Premiere™ series in Prague and Stockholm in 2008, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Bridgestone Greatest NHL Captains program in 2009 -- an on-line promotion on NHL.com that enabled fans to pick the greatest captains in NHL history -- as well as prominent brand exposure in premier NHL events like the Stanley Cup® Playoffs, the NHL Entry Draft, the NHL All-Star Game and the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™.