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Community: Casino Night Recap

by Doug Warf / Carolina Hurricanes
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The 2009 Kids ‘N Community Foundation Casino Night was held this past Sunday, March 15th and Canes players and fans turned out in masse to support local children’s charities.

Doug Warf
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In addition to the players, the event featured almost everyone from the Canes front office, including owner Peter Karmanos Jr., as well as the coaching staff and broadcasting team. 

With events like these, everyone’s first question is, “How much did you raise?” That always takes a few weeks to solidify as final charges are tallied, but we are projecting a net gain to the Foundation of anywhere between $160,000 to $180,000.

Some highlights of the fundraising:

  • The silent auction raised over $44,000 on 88 items. 
  • Baskets that feature the ‘Canes “favorite things” have become a very popular attraction to the silent auction. Casino Night featured 24 baskets of each player in attendance as well as a basket for the coaches and equipment managers. 
  • The 24 baskets alone raised over $25,000
  • Baskets accounted for 10 of the top 13 silent auction items. 
  • The top non-basket silent auction item was an Eric Staal Pepsi machine ($2,600). These are very rare, but will be used during fan appreciation week. They are Pepsi machines that feature the players on the front. 
  • The live auction raised just over $119,000 on 9 different items (two of the items were awarded twice for a real total of 11…avg. of $10k per item). The team trip has become the most popular item, rightfully so, and two trips were awarded this year and this greatly helped our ability to donate money to local children’s non-profits.

Some highlights of the night:

  • The theme was the “Roaring 20’s.” To help add to the theme, the event featured an awesome “Capone-themed” backdrop, a four-piece Jazz band, a 1929 Ford, the Storm Squad in “flapper” dresses, dozens of fedoras and strands of “pearls,” and table top decorations that featured pictures from the 20’s. VAB Catering even got in on the act by creating food that was popular in that time, like the Waldorf salad, White Castle Burgers (founded in 1921), tea sandwiches, etc. 
  • To our delight, many attendees also got in the spirit as I think Raleigh costume shops must have been completely rented-out of flapper dresses and zoot suits. 
  • The Erik Cole/Ray Whitney was by far the most elaborate basket. Among the many things in their package were jerseys from several former Canes (Weight, Ward, Hutchinson) as well as a chance to play golf with Ray and Erik at Hasentree. This would win the award for best in show.
  • The “best all-around” basket would go to Patrick Eaves. Patrick did a great job of telling a story on each of his items (for example, he autographed his Busch Light Cans with an inscription something like “my favorite since college”). Also, part of his basket was that he would come to your house to cook his famous “Patty Cakes” for breakfast. 
  • Tuomo Ruutu had the most surprising basket to me. I found out that his favorite CD’s are Gloria Estafan’s greatest hits and Guns ‘N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction and his favorite movie is Dances with Wolves…quite a mix. Also, I had no clue that he enjoys playing basketball in his spare time. 
  • Chad LaRose continued to have a very lively table during his turn at dealing…but Erik Cole gave him a good run for his money this year.
  • Ryan Bayda was brave enough to branch out from blackjack or poker as he tried to run the roulette wheel. He had a few misfires, but seemed to become a real pro at snapping the ball. I had no clue it was so difficult. Joe Corvo also branched out to help run the Craps table.
  • John Forslund, as always, was the perfect emcee.
Overall, it was a great night that, regardless of the final total, raised much needed funds for our local foundations. The money raised at this year’s Casino Night should allow us to surpass the $500,000 level in donation for the second straight year. Last year was the first time we ever eclipsed the half-million dollar mark, so this is a perfect time for our Foundation to be stepping up and assisting more than ever.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us in our attempt to help thousands of local youth.

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