People...at the Cup

ALLISON GRAHAM -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 2:15 PM ET

Wondering what happens inside the VIP tent at the John Labatt Centre during the Memorial Cup? Well, a lot of what you would expect -- drinking, socializing, relaxing and cleaning. Yes, that's right, cleaning. Granted, that is only necessary when you make a mess.

The other night a few of us were in the tent sitting in the comfy, yet aesthetically questionable couches watching the hockey game on the big screen televisions. During the game, hockey great Rene Robert polished off a bag of peanuts.

When Rene stood he revealed a pile of peanut shells. It was no big deal -- he just swept them on the floor. A moment later, Johnny Bower appeared with a broom and dust pan for his friend.

There are few sights in life more surprising than two hockey legends working together to create a spic and span sitting area -- very cute.

Obviously with the title VIP tent event co-ordinator, Paul Hardy of CSTT Sports Management has the area under lock and key. The tent is for a select group and really intended so people can avoid crowds and I suspect the media . . . which is why, out of respect, the broom stick story is all I should tell.

Many of Hardy's family and friends -- including his wife Cinzia Hardy-Molinari, an independent sports marketer, his sister Janice Norris of Parkwood Hospital and neighbour Karen Bogal of Balloonatics -- have been working at the tent during the Memorial Cup.

It may have been my lucky day to sit in the VIP tent but it was a really lucky day for Eric and Kyle Bulgin. The father and son duo were outside prior to Thursday's game looking to buy tickets.

Sporting his London Knights jersey with his phone number on the back, realtor George Georgopoulos happened to have two extra club seat tickets. He shocked the Bulgins by handing them the tickets for free even when they offered to pay.

Between the afternoon weather and the absence of a tiebreaker game, Friday night and early Saturday were pretty tame at the market. However, there was one special visitor hoping to catch a little Knights enthusiasm -- provincial Opposition Leader John Tory.

First thing in the morning, the Conservative leader spoke at a party youth conference at the Four Points Sheraton. He then headed downtown to get his own Knights jersey for a perfect 51st birthday present.

He stayed in town the night before to take his wife Barb to the Black Trumpet for dinner to celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary.

It was also London Knights alumni Jason Allison's birthday this weekend. On Thursday night he still planned to leave town to celebrate. I would think the final weekend of the Memorial Cup would offer a fabulous celebratory atmosphere for a professional hockey player and former member of the team, but surely he'd have a good time wherever he happened to land.


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