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Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mitch Marner celebrates a goal against the New York Islanders during a game in Toronto, on Jan. 31, 2018.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner has joined the ownership group of OverActive Media, the parent company of the Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant and Call of Duty League’s Toronto Ultra esports teams.

The 23-year-old Marner, a keen gamer himself, joins The Weeknd as part of the ownership group. The Toronto R&B singer and producer, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, joined OverActive in April 2019.

Marner joins an ownership group that includes more than 80 individuals including the Kimel Family – Michael Kimel is part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins – as well as tech entrepreneur Sheldon Pollack and Bell.

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“Over the past few months, I’ve live-streamed with several Toronto Ultra players and built some great friendships with the team at OverActive,” Marner said in a statement. “As a gamer, my investment is an opportunity to join one of the best global esports organizations and to help bridge the gap between hockey fans and esports.

“I’m looking forward to working with the players and the front office to introduce the Toronto Ultra and Toronto Defiant to a young audience of traditional sport fans.”

Marner and pro gamer Anthony (Methodz) Zinni, who competes for the Toronto Ultra, are friends and have played “Call of Duty: Warzone” together.

“He’s actually pretty good,” Zinni said of Marner, who agreed to a US$65.4-million, six-year contract with the Leafs last September.

Chris Overholt, CEO and president of OverActive Media, said the esports company was thrilled to welcome a “hometown hero and hockey superstar” to the ownership group.

“Mitch’s authenticity within the ‘Call of Duty’ scene and his interest in growing the esports industry will be such great additions to our fan base and to each of our franchises,” he added.

OverActive Media also owns the Madrid-based MAD Lions franchises in the League of Legends European Championship and CS:GO.

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