The Toronto Maple Leafs will honour the Canadian Forces and their families on Saturday when they play the Ottawa Senators at the Leafs third annual Canadian Forces Appreciation Night.
Approximately 500 Canadian Forces from 8 Wing Trenton and CFB Borden, along with their families will watch the Leafs face the Senators at Air Canada Centre. Tickets for the Canadian Forces and their families were donated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Leafs Season Seat Holders.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk will drop the ceremonial puck. He will be accompanied by his two sons, John and Will who serve in the Army and Air Force respectively, and his daughter Margaret, who is in the Navy.
“On behalf of the entire Maple Leafs organization, we’re honoured to host the men, women and families of the Canadian Forces on this very special night,” said Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "The Leafs Canadian Forces Appreciation Night is our way of recognizing the tremendous personal sacrifices that our forces and the families have made to serve their country proudly."
For the past two years, Anselmi, along with Leafs and NHL Alumni, have travelled to Afghanistan on a goodwill mission to visit Canada's soldiers. The Stanley Cup has accompanied them on both missions.
Throughout the game, Canadian Forces personnel will be showcased and interviewed on Air Canada Centre’s high-definition video board. The video board will also feature special messages from troops currently serving in Afghanistan.
Leafs fans attending Saturday’s game will be asked to take part in singing the National Anthem to the troops in attendance as a way of recognizing and honouring the Canadian Forces.
The Toronto Raptors hosted Canadian Forces Appreciation Night on November 23 at their game versus the Boston Celtics. On February 21, the Toronto Marlies will host their Canadian Forces Appreciation Night when they play the Rochester Americans at Ricoh Coliseum. For more information about this special event, visit www.torontomarlies.com