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Spirits high at Skills Competition

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Tie Domi gives some instruction to a couple future NHLers.

Jamie Burnham
by Jaime Burnham

It was definitely a day for the fans at this weekend's charity fundraiser when Leaf players went toe-to-toe in their annual Bell/Toronto Maple Leafs Skills Competition.

The exciting atmosphere was perhaps more than the walls of the Air Canada Centre have seen in a couple of weeks. The sell-out crowd maintained a high energy level as they watched their Leaf heroes do battle against each other. Of course, in occasions like these, the fans are the ones who always win.

The event allowed the truly bluest Leaf fans to be part of all the fun plus a great cause. The Skills Competition raised $150,000 this year for children's charities in the Toronto area that benefit from Go Kids Go! The Leaf Fund.

Also involved in the day were eight of the top minor leaguers from the Greater Toronto Area selected from the Youth Competition held earlier. These young superstars had the once in a lifetime opportunity of playing with their designated Leaf squad. Putting the Leafs top goal scorers to the test and temporarily stealing the show was 11-year old T.J. Brody who went 4 for 4 in the Accuracy Shooting Contest. Only Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker matched his performance.
The White team celebrates a victory with a little buddy.
Jamie Burnham

Although the Blue Team captained by Curtis Joseph took an early lead; it was the White Team starring Mats Sundin that captured the event title with 18 points.

A cliché perhaps, but the interactive energy between players and fans generated at this weekend's event could be just the remedy for what is currently ailing the Leafs. The genuine fan support doled out will hopefully rejuvenate the team as it heads west for three games this week.

The results were as follows:

Kellogg's Puck Control Relay: Blue Team
Kellogg's Puck Control Individual: Blue Team - Tomas Kaberle
Bell Fastest Skater: White Team - Garry Valk (14.3 seconds)
Burger King Hardest Shot: White Team - Bryan McCabe (97.8)
Pizza Pizza Accuracy Shooting: White Team, Mats Sundin - Blue Team, Darcy Tucker (both went 4 for 4)
Orville Redenbacher Pass & Score: Blue Team - Curtis Joseph (most saves
Parmalat Breakaway Relay: White Team - Corey Schwab (most saves)

Final Score: White Team 18, Blue Team 14
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