The Maple Leafs call it the Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone. In theory and in practice, the 30-foot rolling Maple Leafs dressing room represents a new era shared by the club and its millions of fans.
“It’s unprecedented access,” said Shannon Hosford, senior director, marketing for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “It’s taking the Leafs back out into the community.”
The vehicle was christened by Carlton the Bear who broke a bottle of Champagne against it’s bumper in a lunchtime ceremony behind Air Canada Centre. Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher and head coach Ron Wilson also attended the event.
The Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone will put fans first.
“I think the dressing room is an inner sanctum people don’t get access to,” Hosford said. “ It’s something where people can feel what it’s like to actually be there. That’s why we wanted to replicate it and take it out into the community for all the people who are such a big part the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
The Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone will be driven to locations all over the GTA over the next six days. Some of those events will include Leaf players and alumni handing out Leafs gear. Everyone gets free swag as well as a walking tour of the rolling room. Admission is free. Check out the map
to see where to get on board. Look at the photos
As if to emphasize the global appeal of the club, two Irish fans were among the first pressing to tour the Leafs Nation Mobile Fanzone.
“We have a great TV package in the U.K. I can even watch Hockey Night in Canada so long as I don’t mind watching at 2 a.m.” said Raymond Mullan, a Belfast resident who took in the promotion with his wife Colette and the couple’s toddler, Adam.
“I don’t know what made me fall for the Leafs,” he said. “I guess the tradition and the fact that when I started watching, they had just acquired Mats Sundin.”
The Mullans were visiting family and read about the event in a local paper.
Mark Pacheco didn’t have to come nearly as far. Pacheco works as a carpenter at Maple Leafs Square. He had just finished his lunchtime sandwich when a worker summoned him to check out the scene at Air Canada Centre. He too was among the very first to tour the replica dressing room.
“Nice lunch break,” he said. “My favourite player is Tomas Kaberle. Heart and soul guy.”
“It’s an incredibly well-done replica of the room,” said Leafs forward Dominic Moore. “We talked about bringing it on the road with us because it’s definitely nicer than some of the visiting rooms.”