The Santa List
'Tis the season to be jolly.
So, with that in mind, I proudly present my 2013 "Santa" list.
Oh, and if you're not on it - beware: in the next day or so, I'll also unveil my Scrooge list featuring all the people who, in the words of the old miser himself, "should be boiled in their own pudding".
The Santa List
Cody Franson, Mark Fraser, Joffrey Lupul and James Reimer four Toronto Maple Leafs and four of the best guys, and best interviews, in hockey.
Pat Park and Craig Downey Leafs media relations guys. It's not easy dealing with the daily pack of reporters who descend on the Leafs, but Pat and Craig are true pro's with a great sense of humor who help keep the mood as light as possible.
Eric Holmes Another media rep, with the Argos, who does a fantastic job making Boatmen players available to the media. The Argos do a lot of great things in the community, including projects such as their anti-bullying campaign, and Eric is a big part of that effort.
Pat Cairns Through her "Creative Connections" company, Pat handles the publicity for a lot of the authors of sports books that you hear on our Newstalk 1010 airwaves. I love a good sports read, and Pat helps us get the word out about some books you might be interested in picking up.
St. Michael's Buzzers What would I do without Friday night's at the Buzzers' games? The Buzzers are a Junior 'A' powerhouse that play their games in one of the best rinks in all of hockey-the historic old barn at Bathurst and St. Clair in Toronto. Performing beneath the regal banners of former St. Mike's legends such as Red Kelly and Frank Mahovlich, the Buzzers are one of the best deals in town, as kids get in absolutely free. That sets the stage for some epic mini-stick intermission battles featuring my two little lads, all their Buzzers game buddies, and this old guy trying to keep up but loving every minute of it.
Toronto Maple Leafs No, the other Leafs.....the baseball team. Although, for marketing purposes, I wish owner Jack Dominico would change the name of the franchise. Too many people get too confused by the dueling Leafs handle. With that said, what a legacy Jack and his late wife, Lynne, have created. Nothing says summer in Toronto more than a Sunday afternoon Leafs game at Christie Pits and, like the Buzzers, you can't beat the price; no admission cost, although Jack does pass the hat for a 50-50 draw that offers everything from baseball gloves to Montreal train trips.
Buffalo Bisons Speaking of trips, heading across the border to catch a Bisons baseball game is one of my favorite roadies. My 8-year old is a huge "Star Wars" fan and the Bisons annual "Star Wars" night is a must-see featuring an actual "May the Force Be With You" theatrical production on the field and a massive post-game fireworks show. The Bisons are also entering their second season as the Blue Jays top minor league affiliate, making the shuffle off to Buffalo even more enjoyable.
City of Toronto Don't worry.....a certain football-loving mayor has been a little too naughty to make the Santa list. However, you've got to give the city credit for creating some great recreational opportunities. T.O, for example, has a bunch of well-maintained outdoor rinks that help make the winter go by just a little quicker and there's nothing better than slapping on the blades and playing shinny; especially when you suit up for a father-son game.
James Duthie and Steve Buffery James is my favorite TV sportscaster, while Steve is my go-to sports writer; two down to earth guys who posses a wicked sense of humor. Duthie is a TSN stalwart, but I believe he'd also be more than capable of hosting his own Letterman-style late night talk show. Buffery, a veteran Toronto Sun scribe, is a true blue collar "man of the people" who reflects that sentiment every time he reflects on an issue.
James Moore and Becky Coles Two of my Newstalk 1010 teammates who go out of their way to help me spread the sports message. James is a talented reporter who also assists on the assignment desk; the nerve center of the radio station. He's the guy who helped educate an old dog like yours truly on the social media world, as I get tuned in to Twitter and all the new stuff I was deathly afraid of before James came along. Becky produces a number of the shows you hear on our airwaves, including "Saturdays with Ted", featuring Ted Woloshyn. Thankfully, Becky and Ted are both big sports fans and Becky has gone out of her way to make me part of their show. I've heard from lots of people who enjoy the segment, and I definitely enjoy jumping on board.
So, there you go. The Santa list is complete.
In the next day or so, the "Scrooge" list, featuring all the folks who can stick it up their figgy pudding.....and isn't that a warm, festive thought?