Raonic to visit MAC for second fundraiser


Milos Raonic at last year’s Raonic Race for Kids event at the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club. (Photo: Peter Figura)

Milos Raonic may have lost the Japan Open, but he has won the hearts of many for raising money for disadvantaged children right in Ryerson’s backyard.

The highest-ranked Canadian tennis player in the open era is hosting his second Raonic Race for Kids event on Nov. 19 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The event will feature Raonic and 19 other celebrities, each leading a team that races against the clock to complete a series of playful tasks.

“I’m very excited and honoured to be having the second Raonic Race for Kids at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens,” Raonic said. “It’s going to be a great experience for everyone this year as we’ve made it bigger and better, to give back to the Raonic foundation and Tennis Canada.”

Last year the first ever Raonic Race for Kids raised more than $160,000. The money was put towards the Milos Raonic Foundation and Tennis Canada’s “Let’s Make Tennis Matter for Kids” campaign. This year, the goal is to raise more than $250,000.

“The race last year was crazy,” said the event’s manager, Suzanne Lanthier. “All the teams got so into it and came out in matching costumes with team names and cheers, so we can’t wait to see what they will do this time around.”

The more we do these kinds of events, it opens our eyes to the possibilities of what can be held here.

Both the Milos Raonic Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children, and Tennis Canada are non-profit organizations registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. Event attendees will receive a $25 charitable tax receipt and VIP zone fans will receive a $50 receipt. Tickets range from $24 to $108.

Competing teams at the event will be made up of six to eight racers who will raise a minimum of $5,000. The team that raises the most will get Raonic, the world’s No. 10 ranked tennis player, as their team’s captain, and will also get a hitting session with him. The rest of the teams will attend a draft party the night before the race to select their captains.

The opening ceremony will be nothing less than grand, featuring a stage with spotlights, and smoke when the teams enter. Retired Canadian Football League players Damon Allen and Adriano Belli, along with tennis professionals Daniel Nestor and Ivan Ljubicic are just a few of the athletes who will be participating.

The planned activities, including ping-pong, Pictionary and mini-golf, will take place on the MAC’s ice level. Each timed activity will last two minutes and the team that gets the most points will be awarded The Raonic Cup.

“These are highly competitive people,” said Kelly Austin, director of marketing at Global Spectrum, the company that operates the MAC.

“So it will be interesting to see how much of that competitiveness comes out when everyone is racing against the clock.”

This is not the first big event that Global Spectrum has promoted and held at the MAC. Since the building opened 14 months ago, it has hosted nationally televised events such as the RBC Play Hockey Charity Challenge, the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship, and the Final Four OUA men’s basketball championships.

The Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game will also be played at the MAC on Nov. 10. Canadian hockey legend Darryl Sittler and former Toronto Maple Leaf Lanny McDonald will captain two teams of hall of fame inductees and renowned Maple Leafs in their return to the former Maple Leaf Gardens.

“The more we do these kinds of events, it opens our eyes to the possibilities of what can be held here,” said Austin.

“We are definitely building on the success of last year and have set ourselves up to have a successful second season.”

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