February 6, 2006
(Toronto) -- The ice at Ricoh Coliseum never looked as good as it did all dolled up for the Leafs Fund 13th annual Have A Heart Dinner on Wednesday night.
The rink was turned into an elegant ballroom and the servers dressed in black pants and white shirts were none other than all of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"They really did something to this building," said head coach Pat Quinn. "In the sixties when I was first dating my wife she competed in the Miss Majorette of Canada in this building and it was a barn then, now it's a lovely place."
The dinner normally takes place at Alice Fazooli's but construction on the restaurant forced the dinner to move elsewhere.
"We thought this was a great opportunity for us to make it bigger and better so we're trying it out here," said Jennifer Millard, Leafs Fund manager. "It's kind of our sister building."
Some people mentioned cold toes from standing on the covered ice but as the evening progressed the mood and room warmed up.
"It might be cold out there but there's lots of warm hearts from the Leafs in this building tonight," said Fergie Devons of Molson Canada.
Devons purchased Tie Domi's team signed apron to add to the evenings fund raising efforts but someone out did Devons when they purchased Mikael Tellqvist's apron for a whopping $1,500.
All of the funds raised at the dinner are put towards helping charities that promote recreation and health for youth. Everyone involved was having a good time.
"The players are so approachable," said Andre Visser, a first time guest at the dinner. "I've got countless pictures, autographs, everything, so we're really having a great time."
And with the players busy signing autographs there wasn't much time to serve the food, so the wives and girlfriends pitched in.
"Did you see those guys hand the plates off to us," said Patricz Quas, Jeff O'Neill's girlfriend. "Jeff's like "honey you have to serve the fish the people are starving,' and off he went."
O'Neill defended himself. "To be quite honest with you, if I serve food it's probably not going to be that pretty of a site."
O'Neill also pitched in later on and served a table all on his own, he didn't spill a thing and said that he had fun doing it.
"The intermingling with the people that love the game and love the Leafs and the players is what has made it a terrific success," said Quinn. "It's one of the most generous groups of people I've been around and going for a great cause and the nice thing is we're having a good time too."