NHL Lockout Can't Stop Leafs Execs From Hosting Massive Holiday Dinner

By Karen Bliss 12/20/12 | www.samaritanmag.com

Two members of Toronto Peel Police with Toronto Maple Leafs president/general manager Brian Burke (2nd from left) and head coach Randy Carlyle (far right).
While the National Hockey League lockout continues, members of the Toronto Maple Leafs camp, including president and general manager Brian Burke and head coach Randy Carlyle, were at their stomping ground, the Air Canada Centre Dec. 18, to do something that likely raised their spirits — as well as hundreds of other people’s.

The Leafs’ executives and employees — in partnership with Second Harvest food bank and the Salvation Army — helped serve a mega holiday dinner in the arena bowl for close to 900 guests from over 30 local shelters and agencies, such as Covenant House, Kiwanis, Eva’s Phoenix, Red Door Shelter, Right To Play, Sketch, YMCA and Yonge Street Mission (see full list below).

Teamsters Local Union 847 and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 333 donated their time.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment executive chef Chris Zielinski and 18 people from the food and beverage staff spent the previous two days preparing the meal. MLSE president and C.O.O. Tom Anselmi also joined vice-president of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin, Burke and Carlyle.

“We are all very fortunate to live in the great city of Toronto. It’s important, especially at this time of the year, to assist those that need it the most,” said Burke in a statement released by Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment.  “We hope that, in this small way, we were able to offer a helping hand by opening our Air Canada Centre doors and providing a special holiday dinner. The Maple Leafs would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Second Harvest and the Salvation Army, as well as the long list of generous corporate donors that helped make this event possible.”

All the leftovers from the dinner were collected by Second Harvest and donated to Good Shepherd Ministries. Every day Second Harvest rescues excess food, including from Air Canada Centre, and delivers it to more than 200 Toronto social service agencies with a wide variety of people in need, according to the press information.  In 2011 and 2012, the food bank delivered over 7.2 million pounds of donated food to agencies in Toronto.

Many of the Salvation Army shelters from across Toronto attended the Holiday Dinner.

Below is a list of participating agencies:

A birds-eye view of the holiday dinner at Air Canada Centre for 900 people from local shelters and agencies.
Chris Penrose

Covenant House

Daily Bread Food Bank and its agencies

Eva’s Phoenix

Evangel Hall Mission

Fort York Food Bank

Fred Victor

Holiday Helpers

Hospice Toronto

John Innes

Kids Up Front


Leafs Hockey in the Neighbourhood

Massey Centre


North York Harvest Food Bank and its agencies:

PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre)

Parkdale Food Bank

Project Esperane

Red Door Shelter

Right To Play



St. Felix Centre

St. Nicholas of Bari

Salvation Army Locations from Across Toronto

Second Harvest


Street Connection


Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

Toronto Police

University Settlement

Waabanong Aboriginal Head Start

YMCA – Youth Drop –In

Yonge Street Mission


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* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.