As the Maple Leafs' leader in hits during the 2006-07 season, Chad Kilger isn't expecting to see a lot of body checks at the Ontario Special Olympics provincial floor hockey championships.
But the Toronto forward knows the intensity will still be at a peak level in the tournament, which kicked off last night and runs through Sunday at Humber College.
"It definitely will be very competitive," said Kilger, who has been involved as an ambassador for Special Olympics for more than a decade back in his home town of Cornwall. "These are the best teams, and they definitely are skilled. It's great to see the joy and passion these athletes have. And they will have fun and meet new buddies at the same time."
Special Olympian Fareed Champsi will echo those sentiments. He had a busy day yesterday, joining Kilger and former Leafs captain Wendel Clark on SUN TV's The Grill Room.
"It was fantastic," Fareed said. "I am the No. 1 Leafs fan, so meeting Chad and Wendel was really neat.
"I'm really excited," he added. "Getting to play against other top teams in Ontario will be awesome.
"It is also great to meet new friends. I have been to Humber College as a student, so I know where we will be playing."
With Clark and Kilger among those offering their support, the event kicked off last night with a gala grand opening ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame
The Toronto Police Service, the host of the event, welcomed more than 300 intellectually challenged male athletes from age 20, to the provincial championship, which is held every four years.
"Special Olympics is such a worthy cause," Kilger said. "I've held a golf tournament near Cornwall supporting this cause for the past eight years."