In order to raise more than $90 million the United Way is going to need all the help it can get, so the Toronto Maple Leafs pitched in today at Ricoh Coliseum to ""Go For the Goal"" together.
Bryan McCabe and Tie Domi were among those on hand as the United Way of Greater Toronto announced the beginning of this year's fundraising campaign and its goal to raise $94.5 million to support charities across the city.
""I think when people see the Toronto Maple Leafs standing side by side with the United Way they see two great institutions in our city joining together to make a difference and I think people take a sense of pride,"" said Frances Lankin, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Toronto.
""I'm proud that they care enough to be here and they care enough year round to do the work they do beside us in neighbourhoods.""
The hockey-themed campaign launch featured a group of hockey players from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto. Andy Frost, the voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, introduced them as they skated onto the ice and were invited to join McCabe and Domi, getting the opportunity to have their pictures taken, jerseys autographed and shoot the puck around with their hockey heroes.
""These kids are obviously special kids and they're down here for a reason,"" said Domi.
""To do this for these kids is special for all of us. I think there's more need than we think, the problems that we have, the gun problems and all that stuff, those are all things that we have to address and there are charities that really need a lot of money.""
The United Way funds about 20 per cent of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto's budget.
Also taking part in the campaign launch was Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment., who stressed the need for everyone to get involved.
""By supporting organizations like the United Way we can help make Toronto a great place to live and work one community at a time.""
Those words were echoed by Lankin.
""Look at what we do as Torontonians through the United Way. Imagine what we could do if everyone participated. Right now about 10 to 15 per cent of Torontonians actively participate through the fall United Way campaign. What if we bumped that to 20 or 25 per cent? Imagine the lives we could touch and the difference we could make.""
Last year the United Way raised $90.2 million to support over 200 health and social agencies across Toronto to help those most in need. With the help of the Toronto Maple Leafs they are confident that they can reach and surpass their goal again this year.