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 season, 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 announcer 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 Kavanaugh 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 contested goal is reviewed. 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 hallway 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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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 presentation by Molson Canadian.  I knew something was up when I ran into Wendel Clark, who was involved in this special presentation. Molson’s presented a cheque (on my behalf) to Make-A-Wish for $6,500.00, and in addition, a “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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