Toronto is among the world’s greatest hockey cities, with a tradition entrenched by the Toronto Maple Leafs that few organizations can measure up to. Maple Leafs players are larger-than-life icons to their legions of loyal fans, many of whom couldn’t pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity brought on by Fanatics Presents.
A packed house of Maple Leafs fans invaded the famous Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Toronto for Fanatics Presents: An Evening with Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman & Travis Dermott, got the chance to meet their favorite players in an exclusive setting and walked away with a wealth of memories, photos and memorabilia after one unforgettable night.
From VIP photo opportunities to autograph sessions to Chalk Talk, Fanatics Presents helped make dreams come true for fans who want nothing more than to meet their heroes. Whether it was a handshake, a signed jersey or simply witnessing them interact on stage, fans got their chance to get face-to-face with some of Toronto’s biggest celebrities.
Old-school Toronto fans who flocked to the event were welcomed by the legend Doug Gilmour, who’s number 93 is retired by the organization. Gilmour mingled with VIP fans during a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres.
Gilmour may not have been the headlining act at this event, but that didn’t keep fans from being star-struck over seeing one of the stars of the 90’s Leafs teams.
“Dream come true, man, you’re my hero,” one fan shared with Gilmour during their photo op.
Of course, the real men of the hour weren’t far behind.
In came Matthews, Hyman and Dermott, fresh off a 2-1 home win over the Washington Capitals the night before. And straight to the VIP area they went to meet some of their biggest fans, take photos and sign exclusive memorabilia for the silent auction.
Fans of all ages got the opportunity they came for – a chance to get face-to-face with their heroes. Every fan who purchased the VIP package got to pose with the Maple Leafs stars for some professional photos.
Unsurprisingly, the Leafs fan in the above pic left the Fanatics Presents event beyond ecstatic with his experience.
“It was a wonderful experience,” the VIP fan said. “Well worth the money. I had a blast, and got to meet all my favorite players.”
“I’d recommend it for anybody. Shout out to Fanatics – what a time!”
While pictures serve as a valuable momento, some fans – especially the young ones – just want to meet their favorite stars.
Many parents got to make dreams come to life for their kids, who got to shake hands, visit and pose with the star Maple Leafs while holding back their star-struck nerves. Below are two little Leafs diehards who got to chat it up with Zach Hyman.
Meet-and-greet time was surely the highlight for many VIP fans, but that only encompassed a portion of the evening for the masses in attendance.
All three players took time to sign some exclusive memorabilia for a Silent Auction, allowing fans to bid on one-of-a-kind Maple Leafs collectibles. A portion of the proceeds from the silent auction was donated to the Goodman Family Foundation and the Zach Hyman Celebrity Golf Classic on July 29th, 2019 at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, which also benefits the SickKids Foundation and UJA Federation & Right to Play.
Nothing can match a chance to meet your favorite athletes, but the Chalk Talk became the highlight of the night for a lot of Leafs fans who got to see their players interact like we don’t often witness.
Matthews, Hyman and Dermott delivered the best entertainment of the night when they were introduced to the packed theatre and engaged in a fun Q/A that touched on all sorts of topics in a relaxed, fan-focused setting that allows players to show a different side than we typically see.
Take Auston Matthews. He had no hesitation taking over some of the questions with playful remarks, showing fans the side of him that isn’t easy to showcase between the boards.
“I liked Auston Matthews’ jokes,” said one girl after the Chalk Talk when asked of her favorite part of the night.
As one would expect in a setting centered around teammates who spend everyday together, the tone remained light-hearted and fun throughout as fans got to tap into a different side of their stars.
Topics covered everything from the biggest hockey nerd on the team (Matthews quickly shouted John Tavares’ name), to the rigors of a NHL player’s in-season conditioning and more.
Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Travis Dermott dished on what it’s like to live in the crazy hockey bubble that is Toronto, where fans won’t hesitate to say hello at the grocery store and even snoop around your cart.
“I remember I was at the grocery store a month ago,” Dermott said, “and someone came up and noticed me. As they’re talking to me, they were kind of looking at my grocery cart, like ‘what’s this guy buying?’ Don’t look at my chips, and my cookies!”
Sure, being a star Maple Leaf in a city with as much passion and energy as Toronto isn’t always easy in the public eye. But with that comes an unwavering level of loyalty, showcased by the huge turnout of fans at this Fanatics Presents event.
Hockey rules Canada, and the Maple Leafs rule Canadian hockey with one of the largest fan bases. As such, the scene at An Evening with Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman & Travis Dermott was one that any serious Maple Leaf fan in attendance will cherish for the rest of their life.
Fanatics Presents is bringing fans exclusive events all year long, with new experiences just like this one rolling out regularly across the U.S. and Canada. Keep an eye out for new events unveiled on our Fanatics Presents page that will constantly update as new experiences get rolled out.
Also check out our best events from 2018!