Another Year, Another Success For Raptors Red Party

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Mike Ulmer -
January 11, 2011

The Raptors held their 16th annual Red Party gala at Muzik in Toronto on Monday. As always, the event married MLSE’s charitable arm with fans anxious for some close-up time with their favorite players, coaches and broadcasters.

“There are two objectives,” said Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment CEO Richard Peddie. “First, it’s a great way for our players to interact with the fans. They love to spend time with our players and it’s great for our guys to meet the people who support them so avidly.

“As well, through our Team Up program we have contributed to the city and the people who live here. It’s just a nice combination of those two goals.”

Presented by Rogers, the event raised $250,000 for the Team Up Foundation, MLSE’s charitable arm. Through the season Team Up will invest $800,000 in facility improvements including the refurbishment of Variety Village Centre's court and the St. James Town community court.

“Having been with other organizations I can tell you there is no other event like this out there,” said Raptors’ broadcaster Matt Devlin. “And from an outreach point of view, Team Up has been responsible for so many positive changes in the city. When you can do something that helps put a smile on the face of a kid, you’re doing the right thing.”

Alvin Williams, resplendent in a dark-hued tuxedo, was attending his second Red Party as a coach after eight parties as a player. He too was a fan of the event.

“The great thing as a player is that you were meeting people in an environment where both of you could relax and enjoy the conversation. It’s just a great opportunity to meet the fans who support us.

“I remember as a player you might be tired and not want to leave your place but then you get out and meet your teammates and the fans and you have a great time.”

The event featured a short speech from Bryan Colangelo and a silent auction that included signed jerseys, a Red Tag all-inclusive Jamaican vacation and courtside seats to watch the Raptors play the Miami Heat.

In a gorgeous room teeming with stars and memorabilia fan Frank Creafara raved about the event and garnered autographs on a white construction helmet.

“I think it’s a great event. All these great athletes for you to speak with. It’s a beautiful venue, filled with beautiful people. I’d be a fool not to love this.”