05/29/2013 10:10 EDT | Updated 07/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Maple Leafs, University of Windsor ink education deal

The University of Windsor has entered into a strategic partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Together, the two will create new student internships, pursue research opportunities and establish promotions with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC and the Toronto Marlies hockey club.

The agreement is the first partnership of its kind for both organizations.

Under the agreement, MLSE guarantees to hire undergraduate and graduate interns from the university’s business, human kinetics, computer science, statistics and communications programs.

Jeff Deline, MLSE vice president corporate partnerships, praised the company’s newest partner.

“Our organization has a strong connection with UWindsor through the graduates we’ve hired and we are looking forward to working on research projects with their kinesiology and marketing students,” he said. “We also chose UWindsor for this partnership because of their demonstrated dedication to the pursuit of excellence, both academically and through Lancer athletes.”

Former MLSE president and CEO Richard Peddie is from Windsor and is a University of Windsor graduate. The school has also sent grads and interns to work for MLSE before.

“We’ve had a history with Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment,” said Dave Bussiere, the school’s assistant vice president. “Good work begets more work."

Students say internships are key in landing a full-time job.

"To get a job, you have to have skills. To get those skills, you can do an internship or you have to do a personal project," computer science student Kevin Yavno said.

"It’s like a job interview every day. If they like you enough, they might offer you a full-time position," added fellow student Alex Velazquez.

According to the school, faculty and graduate students will also benefit. MLSE will use the school’s students to perform market data analysis, for example. The school will also send faculty to Toronto to work with MLSE executives.

“This multifaceted partnership supports [the university’s] desire to create unique learning and research opportunities for our students,” University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman said. “At the same time, this partnership will expand our visibility in Canada’s largest city and provide new opportunities to engage alumni in promoting what our University has to offer for current and future students.

“We are looking forward to working with MLSE to enhance and grow our campus community.”

In addition to the career advancement and academic opportunities, the agreement offers a cross-promotional component. It includes the right for the University of Windsor to use the logos of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Marlies in promotional and recruiting campaigns.

The school will also have signage at MLSE venues and will be able to host student and alumni events at various games.

“We’re competing for quality students. This is one thing we’re doing that no one else in Canada is doing,” Bussiere said. “This is beyond just advertising. It’s about student experience and the connectedness of research with [MLSE]."

The partnership addresses two issues for the University of Windsor, said Bussiere.

“It gives us substantial promotional opportunities in the GTA,” he said. “More importantly, the focus on student employment and research within the sports industry is consistent with the University of Windsor Lancers’ success at the provincial and national level.”