TORONTO - Molson Coors Canada and the NHL plan to appeal an Ontario court ruling that would block what has been called the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the league's history.

Judge Frank Newbould of the Ontario Supreme Court ruled last Friday in favour of claim by rival brewer Labatt.

It argued that in agreeing to the $375-million deal with Molson Coors the NHL had reneged on a deal already in place with Labatt.

In a news release today, Molson Coors president and CEO Dave Perkson described the ruling as an "unfortunate surprise" and says the company remains committed to doing all it can to keep the agreement in place.

NHL deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league disagrees with the court's reasoning and decision, and plans to "pursue an appeal of the ruling on an expedited basis."