The hard hats were back. It was the kind of momentous occasion that only comes around once a year. Toronto’s storied teams came together for MLSE Team Up Foundation’s Players Gala, presented by Rogers. Among the flashing lights and pounding music, the Raptors, Leafs, Toronto FC and the Marlies were gathered under the same roof at Toronto’s Real Sport Bar And Grill. They had pens in hand, signing the white hard hats, as they were passed to them.
And once again, they had their chance behind the bar, serving drinks with the help of the good servers at the Real Sport. Over 80 of Toronto’s athletes, combining forces for a good cause.
Tickets sold for $275, with proceeds going to MLSE’s do-gooding Team Up Foundation, who work to refurbish sporting and recreational facilities for kids across the province. Hard hats and VIP seats, of course, sold for more. Under the musical talents of Real Sport’s own DJ, Ryan Horne, emcee Andy Frost kicked off the night, and the guests got a chance to order drinks from and mingle with their favourite athletes. Even the Leafs were serving drinks.
As with last year, there was a tremendous silent auction, including a vintage Raptors jersey, a Toronto Leafs guitar signed by the players, a signed DeRozan jersey, signed basketball and a unique official signed guitar. There were also several contests, including the Lucky Replica Winners, who got a chance to win beautiful memorabilia out of three mystery replica lockers.
Lucky fans got a chance to take pictures with Toronto’s athletes, including Toronto’s own Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson.
The athletes’ theme was again the Hamlet look, in black button up shirts and trousers, simple black belts, and the white scarves. The odd one out was DeRozan, rocking a dark wool sweater, stripes and tie.
It was another example of the Team Up Foundation’s genius when it comes to fundraising. Getting a chance to order drinks from the Raptors is a powerful way to sell tickets. MLSE has already invested over $850000 in communities, and the proceeds from the Gala will allow them to invest further.
I wonder if anyone had a chance to walk away with one of the scarves.