Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Fest Review Part One


Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Fest September 5-7. Fans gathered at the Air Canada Centre for an evening full of activities for all ages-David Morassutti

Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Fest arrived in Toronto this past weekend and the event drew a decent crowd of fans to the Air Canada Centre for a fun filled weekend.

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Walking into the Air Canada Centre fans like myself were directed to ice level where an interactive zone was set up with games, for all ages. Most of the crowd was drawn towards an area where fans were able to drop the puck at center ice to a cut out of Dion Phaneuf and Sidney Crosby. Also set up in the same area were more interactive games like you see at the Hockey Hall of Fame. There was a hardest shot competition where people could take a shot and have it read by a radar gun, however no one took a slap shot just snap shots and wrist shots. Then there was a stick handling competition where you maneuver a ball through small pylons and try to complete it in the quickest time. The games were not too bad but the lineups were long and unfortunately not everyone had the chance to play the games.

Centre Ice at Fan Fest where booths were set up with interactive games-David Morassutti

Also on ice level were two Zambonis that people were allowed to climb up on and take pictures with which I thought was pretty cool and some stations where people could use their Fan Bands (a wristband that gave fans the opportunity to be entered in draws to win prizes) to take pictures and post on social media. Then fans could go through a tunnel into a massive room where there was game used equipment and apparel for sale at a discounted price. They had player t-shirts that sell for $30 at retail on sale for $8 and many other cool knick knacks for fans to pick up. I purchased a pair of slippers for $6 (regular price $20) and a framed picture of James Reimer that normally would cost $99 but I picked it up for $25. Yes I understand that they were probably getting rid of the Reimer pictures but on Saturday I went to Taste of the Kingsway in Etobicoke and got Reimer to autograph the picture, so I believe the $25 investment was well worth it.

People pickiing through the assortment of sticks at Fan Fest. Players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies were available-David Morassutti

The big buzz surrounded the used equipment sale. They had skates, shoulder pads, jerseys, helmets, gloves, and game used sticks. The prices for the sticks ranged in price but they started from $50 and went as high as almost $300. It is a cool novelty for fans to own but the lineup was too long and I found it a bit unreasonable for fans to spend a ton of money for a stick that was not even autographed. However I could understand a fan’s reasoning for wanting a stick because it was used by their favourite player, howeverI think spending $300 for does not give you the full value.

Equipment Available ranged from gloves, skates, helmets, pants, shoulder pads, jerseys, and goalie gloves

One of the main attractions for fans was the opportunity to have a tour of the dressing room tour. Only fans who signed up for a tour were allowed to participate and it took people through the dressing room and the other facilities that players have access to. Unfortunatley I was unable to sign up for a tour because they were booked solid but I talked with other fans about their experience and for the most part they were pleased with what they saw. One interesting point that a fan mentioned to me was that he disappointed because the dressing room looked empty. He wished that MLSE (Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment) would have put items in the players stalls instead of having an empty stall but at the same time he found it neat that people had a chance to look behind the scenes in the dressing room.

Brendan Shanahan, Dave Nonis, Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham discussed the offseason and upcoming season with questions from Ron Maclean.-David Morassutti

The town hall event and many other big events will be reviewed in part two of this series but for a little preview, the management team discussed their process for building their team (including a brief analytics talk from Assistant GM Kyle Dubas), more legends were added to Legend’s Row and the ring ceremony for the players that were Stanley Cup Champions from the 1960s Tornto Maple Leafs. Part two of this series will also include some fan reaction and my final thoughts on the weekend.