When it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs, there's no hotter ticket in town -- or perhaps anywhere.
By 2 p.m., 708 fans e-mailed looking for one of the 10 pairs of tickets the Sun offered for the Coca-Cola Zero Fans First Game against the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre Sept. 16 -- or three times the number who attended the 'Keep the Coyotes in Phoenix' rally.
The Coca Cola and Maple Leafs free pre-season game is a wonderful community gesture from an organization that does very well, thanks to Leaf fans, but also gives a lot back. There are dozens of initiatives every year, whether it be renovating an outdoor rink or participating in the Toronto Maple Leafs Charity Golf Classic for at-risk-youth at Angus Glen Golf Club as they are doing today; the Maple Leafs do their part.
As president Brian Burke said on his first day, the players will be more involved in this community than any player on any other team. Special thanks to the team's Rajani Kamath for sending over the 10 pairs. It was so great to hear from so many Sun readers and Leafs fans.
One common theme was the cost of the games and every e-mail had a compelling story. I wish I had 700 pairs to hand out, but here are your winners:
Kevin Sine, of Belleville, writes: "I have been a die-hard Leafs fan for 36 years and have never been to a Leafs game ... I now have an 11-year-old son who every Saturday night looks forward to watching the boys in blue play. I would love to take him." It's going to happen.
Writes Angel Plaskitt: "My husband has been a Leafs fan for 30 years and has never attended a game. He is a very hard-working man who works six days a week to support his family. I know he would love to take our three-year-old son, Kyle, to his first hockey game." He will be doing that.
Cindy Dicks' story is: "Three years ago I was run over twice by a snowplow and have spent the last three years recovering from two broken legs and a broken hip. I have spent a lot of time watching hockey with my boyfriend and, now able to walk, I would love to go to a game." Have fun, Cindy, and stay clear of the Zamboni.
Harry Baker, of Renfrew, emails: "I am a single father of a 13-year-old boy. The one thing we have always had to keep us close together is our love for the Leafs. It was our bond." And now you will have a game experience to talk about, Harry.
Lynnette McNaught says she entered "not for me, but for my son, Joshua who will be 14 in November and has never been to a Leafs game." He will have been to one after Sept. 16.
Steve Gibson writes: "The last time I saw the Leafs live was when I was a boy of nine, with my dad at Maple Leaf Gardens. I have a son now and I want him to have the same thrill I did as nine-year-old with my dad." Maybe one day your son will take his son, too.
Al Kanji says: "It has always been my desire to go" but couldn't "due to the escalating prices and the state of the economy. If I win I would return the favour and make a donation to Daily Bread Food Bank." Your win is someone else's win.
Zahra Kotadia emails: "I am a 36-year-old mother of a two-year-old and am expecting my next child in October and it would be an awesome gift for near the end of my pregnancy." And perhaps you being there will deliver some luck to the Leafs.
Frank Grossi of Woodbridge writes: "I have been a Leafs fan since the 1960s, have two boys who have been Leafs fanatics forever and it would be nice for the boys if they could go." They are going -- thanks to you.
Mike Sangster writes: "I have been trying to get my hands on a pair of tickets so my nine-year-old son, Spencer, and I can make that magical trip to our first Leafs game as father and son. I can't afford the scalper prices." Cheer loud, Mike and Spencer.
Thanks to all who entered.
The only hotter ticket will be one day when the Leafs actually win the Stanley Cup.