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Baie-Comeau Drakkar's Valentin Zykov Named BMO CHL Rookie of the Year

- Zykov a leading prospect for this year's NHL Draft; earned QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - May 25, 2013) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

BMO Financial Group proudly announced today that QMJHL forward Valentin Zykov of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is the 2012-13 recipient of the BMO CHL Rookie of the Year Award. Zykov accepted the award at a ceremony this afternoon as part of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon.

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.

"Valentin demonstrates extraordinary rigor in everything he takes on," said Eric Veilleux, Head Coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. "He is serious in his training on and off the ice, and leaves nothing half done. He is intense, driven and a perfectionist. No other player on the team possesses as much discipline as Valentin. He has a calm and quiet temperament and a positive influence on his teammates in and out of the locker room.

"Valentin is one of the most complete players in the league. He is capable of remarkable games and adapts easily to different styles. He has great motivation, unusual perseverance and above all an extraordinary talent. His determination and self-discipline led him where he is today," added Coach Veilleux.

Zykov, an 18-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Russia, finished first in rookie scoring with 40 goals and 75 points and earned the Michel Bergeron Trophy, which is awarded annually to the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is the top-rated Russian prospect playing in North America; in the latest QMJHL rankings, Zykov was ranked fourth among 2013 draft eligible skaters.

"We're delighted to present this year's award to Valentin. This extremely smart and powerful young player is destined for a bright future in the NHL and there will be no shortage of teams coveting him next month at the NHL draft in Newark," said Kelly Walker, Commercial Banking Area Manager, Saskatoon, BMO Financial Group, who presented the award to Zykov. "As a long-time supporter of Canadian junior hockey, we congratulate the outstanding achievements of all players and coaches in the CHL."

About BMO and the Canadian Hockey League

BMO is the Official Bank of the Canadian Hockey League and the Official Bank of each of the CHL's member hockey leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League and the Québec Major Junior Hockey League.

The sponsorship builds on BMO's partnership with the CHL of more than 10 years and affirms BMO's exclusivity as a financial services sponsor of the league in the retail banking category. It also engrains a presence with the 46 teams who currently participate in the BMO CHL Affinity MasterCard program, which enables CHL fans to support their favourite teams through branded credit cards.

About BMO Financial Group

For more than 195 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2012, BMO contributed more than $87.6 million in donations, sponsorships and events in Canada and the United States to groups, organizations and programs that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

For further information:
For media enquiries, please contact:
BMO Financial Group
Krysta Cooke
(416) 867-3996

Twitter: @BMOCHL

Canadian Hockey League
Paul Krotz
(416) 332-9711