30 Games In 30 Nights

Game #30: Toronto Maple Leafs (April 11, 2015)

April 11, 2015

Last game of my 30games-30nights trip, and it was a great way to finish my trip.  What a day!  I arrived in Toronto early, getting to Air Canada Centre around 10:30 a.m. for the morning skate. The Leafs were first on the ice., then the Habs next at 11:30 a.m.

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Lots of media for the last game of the regular seasons, and some of them wanted to talk to me about my trip. That’s Lauren Howe from the Leafs – I really enjoyed chatting with her!

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At the morning skate, I met up with the legendary Bob Cole from Hockey Night in Canada, who in my opinion, is the best play-by-play man in hockey!  (And for decades, not years!) Thereafter, I met up with another hockey legend, Brendan Shanahan, and it was great to talk hockey with him at the morning skate.

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I was honoured to be invited by the NHL to have a tour of their office on the last day of my tour.  Andrew Kavanagh took me around the building, first to their main lobby area which features a replica trophy for each NHL award, and afterwards, to the NHL boardroom where so many big decisions are made about the game.

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My next stop was the “situation room,” or the “video war room” where every uncertain goal is reviewed, analyzed, and determined to be a goal or no goal.  Former NHL player (and coach) Mike Murphy joined me for this part of the tour, along with former NHL grit player Kris King.  I’m a big fan of players like Kris King, and I’m a bigger fan now.  I talked hockey with Kris for about an hour in the “situation room,” and when he found out that I did not have a single game-used puck, he made a point to get me one from every NHL team!  I’ve met so many people in my 30games-30nights tour, but Kris King is tops!  As I was making my way through the hallways of this special place, I ran into Hall-of-Famer Jim Gregory.  After finishing up my tour, I was presented with a silver-encased game-used puck from the NHL in recognition of my trip!

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I was next off to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and I was genuinely surprised and overwhelmed for what took place next.  Knowing that I was a bit short of my $30,000 goal to raise money for Make-A-Wish on my 30games-30nights tour, I was absolutely blown away by Honda Canada’s presentation.

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After the presentation, I was given a special guided tour of the HHOF, capped off with seeing (and touching) for the first time, the Stanley Cup.  As you can see, I was very happy to embrace this historic trophy!

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Next, I headed off to the CBC studios for an interview and a tour of the HNIC set.  The sets at CBC are absolutely incredible!

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For the last game of the regular season, HNIC included me in their intro with Scott Oake asking me a few questions about my trip.

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There was a special guitar presentation of O Canada by Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar.  Very cool, and the fans loved it!  I also took a few pictures of the banners in the building.

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For this game, I missed most of the first period, as I was being prepared for a surprise (and overwhelming) presentation by Molson Canadian.  I knew something was up when I ran into Wendel Clark, who was involved in this special presentation.  As for the presentation, Molson’s presented a cheque (on my behalf) to Make-A-Wish for $6,500.00, and in addition, an “Anything For Hockey” beer fridge commemorating my trip.  Wow is all I can say!  And “wow” is all I can say about Alex Forani from Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment.  She greeted me at the morning skate at 10:30 a.m., and Alex made my day an incredible experience!  Thanks Alex!

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With my Toronto Maple Leafs report now finished, stay tuned for my “Arena Report,” which is due out in the next few days on this site.

 

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