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Barons announce rink naming-rights deal

The Cleveland Barons announced today a new two-year strategic corporate partnership with National City.

Michael T. Lehr, President of the Cleveland Barons, in conjunction with Rick Lewis, executive vice president at National City, made the announcement.

The partnership includes rink-naming rights, making National City Rink at Gund Arena the only corporately sponsored sheet of ice in either the AHL or NHL. The Barons will now host their home schedule at the newly named National City Rink at Gund Arena. National City will be prominently displayed on the ice with a wrap around the center face-off circle and two in-ice logos.

Dedicated to developing young hockey players, the Barons and National City have structured a financial education workshop. The workshop topics will range from simple banking strategies to sound investment-making. In addition, National City will work with the Barons front office in a similar fashion.

National City will team with the Barons on the community front as well. The two will partner in four National City Breakaway with the Barons during the 2004-05 season. The Breakaway with the Barons program has been a staple of Cleveland Hockey during the Barons existence. The entire Barons roster takes part in a one-hour practice at a local ice rink followed by a one-hour post-game skate. Dates and locations of the 2004-05 National City Breakaway with the Barons will be announced at a later time.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have National City as the bank behind the Barons. This partnership is completely unique in that the Cleveland Barons have the only sponsored sheet of ice in both the AHL and NHL,” stated Lehr. “Not only did National City come to us with the interest of developing and educating our organization, but they also displayed their commitment to supporting the community.”

“At National City, we’re a proud supporter of local sporting and educational events, and we’re excited to hit the ice with the Cleveland Barons,” said Rick Lewis. “This relationship allows us to impact the lives of young people in this area and foster their development both in and out of the rink.”

National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC), headquartered in Cleveland, is one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies. The company operates through an extensive banking network primarily in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania, and also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its core businesses include commercial and retail banking, consumer finance, asset management, mortgage financing and servicing, and payment processing.