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Bowling For Charity

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Rebecca Virgin

(TORONTO) -- It's not hard for Doug Gilmour to draw a crowd, even celebrities are drawn to him.  An impressive list of more than 50 crowd pleasers, from hockey players, to musicians, actors and other athletes were bowling as guests of Gilmour to raise money for kids in need.

The 4th annual Doug Gilmour and Friends Celebrity Bowl took place at Playtime Bowl in Toronto on Thursday afternoon, with funds being raised for Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

"Everybody who comes here, they want to come back and that's one of the things that makes it fun," said event host Doug Gilmour.  "Obviously it's for the kids. When you do understand what it means to these kids, the pain that they go through day in and day out, it makes you feel like you have issues, but just walk into Ronald McDonald house and you don't have any issues."

Several kids from Ronald McDonald House were on hand to bowl with the teams made up of celebrities and fundraisers, and they were making their impressions on everyone.  Jay Harrison had the pleasure of hanging out with a special little girl for the day.

"Monica's actually taught me quite a bit about bowling," said Harrison.  "She is one of our best players.  She uses the simple technique of just pushing the ball down the lane but it seems to knock down more pins than me so she's awesome.  She's very refreshing and making it a great day."

Darcy Tucker couldn't agree more as he shared his day with Elias.

"We've got one little guy here on our team out here bowling and to see the smile on his face is reward enough for me," said Tucker.

The kids on hand were just a small sample of the children that will be helped with the money raised at the annual tournament.

"Families are coming from across Canada and they need to be here in Toronto because they need their children to be treated at the wonderful hospitals that we have in downtown Toronto," said Judy MacGowan, director of business development, RMHC. "We allow them to be here together, and stay together as a family while their children are undergoing treatment."

"They're helping literally thousands of children and their families so we are absolutely thrilled," added Barbara Thompson, senior executive director, RMHC.

The bowling event has grown so popular that Gilmour is taking his show on the road to two more Canadian cities this summer, hoping to raise $200,000 between the three events for all 12 Ronald McDonald Houses across the country.

Gilmour is always grateful the support from his hockey and celebrity friends but as big an undertaking it could be, there is a reason why it's easy to get some many people on board.

"Beyond the cause, Doug has done so much for the community over the years and he's done so much for the people, this city and the game," said Harrison.  "Everybody feels like they can give back a little bit and learn from what Doug has done and follow in his footsteps as well."

Some of Gilmour's friends included:  Maple Leafs Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Jeff O'Neill, Jay Harrison, Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Kris Newbury;  NHL players and alumni Brendan Bell, Chris Campoli, Tom Kostopoulos, Paul Coffey, Bobby Orr, Kirk Muller, Steve Thomas, and Wendel Clark; and other Canadian icons from Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde), Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies), John Derringer (Q107), Mike Vanderjagt (NFL), Jennifer Robinson (woman's  skating champion), and Brian Stemmle (world cup skier).

For more coverage of this event catch a special edition of Leafs Today:  Doug Gilmour and Friends Celebrity Bowl, on Leafs TV, Friday at 4, 5, 6, and 11 pm, with encore airings throughout the weekend.

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