Carrying on the strong ties between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Canadian Forces, Joffrey Lupul and the Maple Leafs will launch the program ‘Lupe’s Troops’ beginning Monday, January 21 at the Leafs 2012-13 home opener against the Buffalo Sabres.
Lupul will donate two tickets, jerseys and food to every Maple Leafs home game this season to current members of the Canadian Forces who will be honoured at the game. The program is modeled after ‘Luke’s Troops,’ an initiative started by former Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn in 2009. Since the program’s inception, members of the military have been recognized with standing ovations from the patrons and teams when introduced at Air Canada Centre.
“First of all, we’d like to thank Luke Schenn for his generosity and dedication to this initiative over the last four seasons,” said Dave Nonis, Sr. Vice-President and General Manager of the Maple Leafs. “Our organization has a long-standing and proud connection with the men and women that serve our country. It continues to grow deeper every year and we’re pleased that Joffrey has decided to help carry on that tradition.”
MLSE’s history with the Canadian military can be traced back to the early part of the 20th century, starting with Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe who was a Major with Canada's Forces and represented Canada in World War I and II. Other notable Leafs who served with Canada’s military included Hall of Famers Turk Broda and Syl Apps.
The Maple Leafs have hosted a ‘Canadian Forces Night’ game for six consecutive seasons at Air Canada Centre. In 2012, over 450 members of the Canadian Forces from the Greater Toronto Area, CFB Borden and CFB Trenton were in attendance on January 14 when the Leafs played the New York Rangers. The heroes watched the game from one of Air Canada Centre’s gondolas plus various seats throughout the arena, many of which were generously donated by Maple Leafs season seat holders.
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