Major Toronto franchises create assistance fund for event staff

Thomas WilliamsHockey writer
Yahoo Sports Canada

Five major Toronto sports teams have joined forces to create a special assistance fund for their part-time employees that have lost work due to the coronavirus. The group announced what they’re referring to as the “Team Toronto Fund” on Sunday.

The top executives, coaches and players of the Blue Jays (MLB), Argonauts (CFL), Toronto FC (MLS), Maple Leafs (NHL) and Raptors (NBA) will be personally contributing to the fund that will further help the event and support staff for their individual organizations.

“For me, the definition of teammate was never limited to the people who wear our jersey or who work for the Raptors. We showed that last spring in good times. Now we’re coming together to get through these unprecedented times,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in an official statement.

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The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays are just some of the major Toronto sports teams helping out their event staff financially affected by COVID-19. (Getty Images)
The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays are just some of the major Toronto sports teams helping out their event staff financially affected by COVID-19. (Getty Images)

The 2019 NBA champions will be joining their Toronto counterparts to extend a helping hand to the staff of Scotiabank Arena and beyond.

“As we're dealing with these unprecedented circumstances, we're seeing this as a time where our communities can band together and take care of one another,” said Toronto Maple Leafs President & Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan in a release provided by his team. “So many of our staff provide us love and support every day they come to work, so we see this as an opportunity to reciprocate those same virtues in this time of uncertainty.”

Outside of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment — the ownership group of the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts and TFC — the Blue Jays have connected with the other franchises that share the city and will assist the staff of the Rogers Centre.

“Our staff are often the people fans remember most about their trip to the ballpark — for their smiles, helping hands, and passion. It is an honour to join my fellow sports leaders in Toronto to help make a meaningful impact on the lives of all our game day staff,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said via the team’s official Twitter account.

As of Sunday, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that no events of more than 50 people be held for at least the next eight weeks. While initially the suspension of sports leagues across North America appeared to be relatively short-term, there might not be sports in Toronto in the near future.

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