More than 25 years ago I covered the Verdun Junior Canadiens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Besides superstar Pat LaFontaine, one of my favorite players was rugged winger Claude Lemieux who went on to enjoy a stellar NHL career with the Canadiens and several other teams. Last year he came out of retirement briefly to play for the San Jose Sharks.
Now Lemieux is the president and CEO (North America) of Moov Frozen Fruits. You can find Moov products on the shelves of the two IGA stores in Côte Sant-Luc.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Claude at the downtown offices of Torchia Communications (see photo). One of his partners in this initiative is Petr Svoboda, another former Hab.
Here is the complete press release which describes the business:
Two former teammates of the 1986 Stanley Cup Champions, the Montreal Canadiens, have joined forces with two local entrepreneurs to form a new corporate team and on a different frozen medium with MOOV Frozen Foods Inc., an exciting business venture in high-end frozen fruits and vegetables. They have come a long way from their humble beginnings as teenagers just drafted into the super competitive NHL.
Claude Lemieux, Petr Svoboda, Montreal businessmen Platon Gavrielatos and Steve Zervoudakis are now partners in the new Canadian company that packages, markets and distributes frozen fruit under the MOOV™ label. The product line is already available in IGA supermarkets in Quebec and negotiations are currently under way with other major chains across Canada. Lemieux is CEO of North America, Svoboda is CEO of Europe with Gavrielatos Chairman and CEO of MOOV Frozen Foods Inc. and Steve Zervoudakis as Executive Partner, Operations. Moov Frozen Foods Inc. is a 100% Canadian company that will serve both domestic and international markets.
Lemieux, a Buckingham, Québec native, 44, is only one of four NHL players who have won four Stanley Cups with three different teams. He accomplished this over a 20-year NHL career. Last year, Lemieux gained many admirers when, after a five season hiatus, he tried out for and was signed by the San Jose Sharks at age 43.
“My comeback to the NHL would not have been possible without a strong regimen of physical exercise, hard work and proper nutrition – that is why as a professional athlete and father of four I am invested in the high quality MOOV™ has to offer,” he said at press conference today.
Lemieux has shown his consistent love of competition and skating as seen by his involvement in the CBC TV program, Battle of the Blades, where he and partner Shae-Lynn Bourne, World Champion of Ice Dancing in 2003 and Olympic competitor, were one of two pairs to reach the finals in this nationally telecast series.
“Battle of the Blades was a great experience and it showed millions of Canadians how important it is to be your best. I believe that Moov quality fruits are is part of a healthy lifestyle and presents itself as a winning opportunity, one that is a solid investment in my post-hockey career,“ said Lemieux.
Svoboda, 43, is currently a Montreal-based agent for NHL players with Sportrust International Inc. He was the first Czech to play more than 1,000 NHL games with Montreal, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
Petr is also a father of two and someone committed to healthy living. Like Claude, he sees Moov as a brand that can make eating right easier for Canadians. He is also eager to introduce the brand to his native Czech Republic.
“I can see Europe opening up to us with a product line like this, to become yet another successful Canadian export across the Atlantic. I’m excited by the possibilities,” said Svoboda.
Montreal-based businessman Platon Gavrielatos, owner of Alasko Frozen Foods Inc., has been distributing frozen fruit and vegetables from around the world for more than 20 years. Platon is a forerunner in this field bringing experience and expertise to the mix, as well as his long standing relationships with some of the best growers in the world. The highest quality fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen to ensure taste, quality and nutritional value. There is no need for additives, preservatives or sugar. Like Claude Lemieux and Petr Svoboda, Platon also is a strong proponent of the health benefits of MOOV’s product line.
“The Food and Drug Administration of the United States noted 11 years ago that frozen fruits and vegetables are equivalent to fresh produce in their nutrient profile as they are processed at their highest point of nutritional content. Health Canada recommends eating 5–10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. With a growing market and an increasing focus on health we knew it was time to introduce MOOV™” said Gavrielatos.
The “frozen fruit” category in Canada is a $143.5 million industry according to recent statistics from August ’09 A.C. Nielsen and is more developed than the U.S. where penetration is only 27%. A.C. Nielsen also shows growth in every region in Canada over the last 52 weeks. MOOV Frozen Fruit is committed in helping to promote healthy mind, body and spirit for Canadians as well as helping its retailers increase category sales.
Today’s consumer is time pressured. Achieving a healthy balance as well having the time for nutritious meals makes products like MOOV Frozen Fruit a staple. Recipes are quick to prepare and provide essential daily nutrients. Based on recent data from RTS as well as MOOV’s independent research, teens, young adults and families alike are known to be heavy consumers of Frozen Fruit, particularly for breakfast and as a healthy snack.
“The world is moving at hyper speed, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to eat health well; in fact, it is even more important for us to care for our physical health and diet under these circumstances,” said Steve Zervoudakis. “Proper nutrition is the fuel for the kind of hard work our bodies need to maintain top physical health and well-being. Quality products like MOOV™ make these goals easier to achieve.”
As active parents with kids involved in sports, all four partners have the same motivation for this endeavour. Through their long-time friendship, and their kids, they see Moov as one of the best ways to keep bodies and brains healthy. Eating well combined with regular activity is the key to help families live a fuller, richer life. That is one of the reasons that on its packages Moov asks consumers to: “Eat well. Keep moving. Be Active. Be Smart!”