More Londoners now have a chance to catch some of their favourite sport stars in action after Budweiser Gardens released more tickets for a pair of weekend events featuring the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs alumni.
On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors will visit the downtown London, Ont., arena for a late afternoon open practice. This will be followed by a Sunday afternoon hockey game featuring former Leafs players including Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler, Darcy Tucker and Tomáš Kaberle.
While both events were previously capped at 1,000 tickets each, “a limited number” of tickets were made available on Wednesday morning.
However, by 2 p.m., tickets were seemingly already sold out for the Raptors’ open practice, with would-be ticket holders presented with a prompt that reads “Unable to secure seats at this time,” when attempting to purchase a spot for Saturday.
The new tickets come less than a week after Budweiser Gardens, along with other major outdoor and indoor sporting venues in Ontario, received a boost in its capacity limit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Venues such as Budweiser Gardens are now allowed to fill seats to 50 per cent of capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is less.
In pre-pandemic times, Budweiser Gardens’ capacity was up to 9,036 people for hockey games and up to 10,200 for certain concerts.
On Friday, when the London Knights host a pre-season OHL game against the Hamilton Bulldogs, the arena will be allowed to flex its capacity limit gains with roughly 4,500 people allowed to attend.
Proceeds for both events will benefit Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Foundation’s Change The Game campaign, which aims to build awareness and help eliminate barriers facing youth.
Budweiser Gardens says “MLSE and MLSE Foundation are working with the City of London and local Muslim Community Stakeholders to develop a legacy project” that aims to provide “lasting change and access to sport for London’s youth.”
“The project is rooted in the community’s need and will be an infrastructure investment that will be announced officially on the weekend of the events,” Budweiser Gardens added in a release announcing the events.
The event will mark the latest show of solidarity among the outpouring of support that followed June’s targeted vehicle attack in northwest London, which claimed the lives of four members of a local Muslim family and left their young child in hospital.
“My aunt, Madiha Salman, was the epitome of strength, the embodiment of hard work, and a pillar for her community,” said Hajra Naram, a relative of the family that was targeted in the attack.
“An event like this, which champions community and stands for anti-hate, is a perfect way to honour her legacy.”