Let’s be honest: the Players’ Gala really is the best of all the Team Up Foundation’s sport events in Toronto. There just is no comparison.
Yes, that’s right: the hard hats were back again, and while the Red Party had the Raptors mucking about playing table tennis, only at the Players’ Gala can you see four of Toronto’s professional teams serving drinks to guests for charity.
The Gala really is one of those one-a-year deals. There are really not a lot of chances to meet the Raptors, Leafs, the Toronto FC and the Marlies all on the same night, and get a beer from them.
Once again, Toronto’s professional athletes spread out behind Toronto’s Real Sport Bar and Grill’s bar, signing hard hats, and making drinks for a good cause. This year, they seemed to be a bit better at pouring them too. Practice makes perfect.
Tickets were $250, with VIP seats and hard hats going for more. If you managed to make it to the Gala that night, you knew your ticket was going to a good cause, with proceeds going to MLSE’s Team Up Foundation, who throw these parties so they can fix up sporting and recreational facilities for kids all over the provinces.
The dark side of the Players’ Gala, of course is that, every year the Raptors dress like bartenders. Sure, it makes sense, given that they’re, you know, serving drinks, but bartenders don’t dress well. They dress in black shirts and black pants. Minimum beltage. I mean, the Leafs and the Marlies dress the same way, but, you know, that doesn’t matter as much.
Last year, we lamented the Hamlet look, with the black button ups and white scarves, but you know, they’re starting to grow on me.
An exception to that rule was our man Jonas Valanciunas, who eschewed the black-on-black look with a snazzy v-neck over a striped dress shirt.
The Dance Pak were great sports, as usual, taking hilarious photos with fans—even with the ones decked out in Leafs jerseys, which you’d think would tear apart time and space and all that.
Above all, the Team Up Foundation continues to prove that they’re the Real Deal when it comes to charity event planning.
They consistently get the right place (Real Sport’s Bar and Grill’s enormous, two-story chambers, with wraparound balcony, and gigantic screen) and the right guests (four of Toronto’s professional sports teams). They raise the right money for the right cause. They’ll continue to do good work, and to throw great parties, well on into the future.
As Landry Fields said in an interview, “The fans are so great to us, and show us so much support throughout the year, that for us to give back just a little bit, it’s something we should take pride in and really cherish.”
Here’s looking to next year’s!