Kids are our greatest investment. Just ask the MLSE Foundation, who raised nearly $500,000 in support of youth sports at its annual Players’ Gala on March 6.
MLSE enlisted a raft of sports superstars to help raise funds for the revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park, one of Canada’s neediest neighbourhoods. Players mingling with the crowd at the sold-out event included members and staff of the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto FC.
Situated behind the abundant bar space of Real Sports Bar & Grill, the athletes were on tap to pour beers and serve food. However, they still took time out to shake hands (and take selfies) with fans who donated to the great cause. Familiar faces included DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Patrick Patterson, Jonas Valanciunas and even the Raptors’ president and GM, Masai Ujiri.
The Toronto soccer crowd was amped up for the occasion, taking the opportunity to unveil their brand-new alternate uniforms. Jeremy Hall and Andrew Wiedeman of Toronto FC gave us a preview of the black Onyx kit, with a design featuring nine columns of maple leaves and clean lines inspired by the World Cup.
As for the Maple Leafs players, the especially chatty ones included the ever well-coiffed winger Joffrey Lupul and his compatriot, Tyler Bozak. About an hour into the festivities, goaltender James Reimer was spotted upstairs on the balcony autographing one lucky fan’s jersey.
Other notable guests included the Dance Pak, who were all smiles when it came to taking snaps with guests. Team hosts Kat Stefankiewicz, Brooke Pashley and Rachel Bonnetta could be seen interviewing members of their respective rosters at the centre of the venue.
And, of course, who could possibly forget the adorable youngsters from Regent Park who kicked the night off on a high note?
We’re pleased to note that some in attendance definitely stepped up their style game since last year. A modern layered look worked great for Raptors small forward and shooting guard Landry Fields, who sported a slim, textured cardigan over a shirt with geometric tie. Amir Johnson proved himself a stickler for details with some killer Nightmare Before Christmas skull cufflinks, and he subtly matched the red and black check of his shirt’s collar base to the Prince of Wales pattern of his two-button suit. Top notch.