Spring football trip just got greener
By James Pugsley
The Western football team that will play in Japan this spring toasted sake and ate sushi yesterday in celebration of its new sponsor, Lucent Technologies of Canada.
The sponsorship will involve a donation of $56,000 toward the Mustangs' eight-day trip to Osaka, Japan to challenge the College All-Stars of Western Japan. The money donated by Lucent Technologies, a communications company based in Toronto, will make up 35 per cent of the projected $160,000 cost to send the 65-member contingent overseas.
Jim Schram, president of Lucent Technologies sees the sponsorship as a positive investment into the community.
"It will be a tremendous learning experience for the players and it will enhance Western's football program," Jim Schram, president of Lucent Technologies, said.
The official announcement, made at an afternoon press conference held at Somerville House, also allowed an opportunity for Western's elite, as well as Western's coaches, to give their reaction to the sponsorship and the trip.
"Lucent Technologies is one of the great researching corporations in the world and we are proud to have them take part," Western football coach Larry Haylor said.
Western President Paul Davenport will attend the game while visiting Asia on a joint City of London/UWO trade mission.
"This trip will symbolize the growing importance of our links with Asia, its culture and our educational contacts with Asia," Davenport said. "[The Mustangs] are representing our school, our province and our country and we are very proud they are doing so," he said.
The team, which leaves May 6 and plays the game five days later, will be the first Canadian intercollegiate team ever to play in Japan. Haylor views the trip as a substantial learning experience for his players.
"Nothing brings people and culture together better than sporting events," he said.
According to Haylor, the sponsorship of Lucent Technologies was a priority before the Mustangs moved forward in their fund-raising campaign. The only other commercial source of sponsorship for the excursion is Reebok Canada, a sponsor through the regular football season that will supply the Mustangs with trip-oriented kits.
I AM NOT A CROOK. President of Lucent Technologies of Canada, Jim Schram [standing] is joined by Mustang football coach Larry Haylor [left], university president Paul Davenport and athletics chair Darwin Semotiuk [right] at yesterday's press conference.