It all started with a challenge.

You remember Monika with a K, right? 

It was a showdown between her and I; mono y mono. Which one of us could meet more of Leafs Nation.

There was a catch though, there always is.

Monika would have Air Canada Centre and all of its 19,000 fans at her disposal. I would be allotted Ricoh Coliseum.

And just like that, Meet Me at the Marlies began.

I remember once being told that the reason someone came to an event was unimportant in comparison to the fact that they were in attendance. And so – in hopes to get a leg-up on the lovely miss Monika – offered in exchange for one’s attendance was a food and beverage item of choice from the concessions. That turned expensive real quick.

I remember Hugh and Tony being there, Dangle too. We carried the events right into the playoffs. Unfortunately the Mariles made it only six games.

Come the following season, with the help of Laura (@KungPowLau) MMatM took over it’s very first suite at Ricoh. It sat 18 people and only 12 could make it – that’s including me bringing out Mama Chans for support. Brian Burke and the rest of the Maple Leafs brass were seated right next door. Laura organized a swag bag for everyone, and with the help of the Marlies staff, all were invited downstairs to meet a play after the game.

Now in its fourth season, you have filled nearly a dozen suites. You have met Ben Scrivens and Joey Crabb, Darryl Boyce as well as Marcel Mueller. Dropping by to talk hockey in the MMatM Suite during intermission has been none other than Mr. Burke himself, as well as the one famed for bringing Doug Gilmour into all of our lives – Cliff Fletcher.You have sat with the President’s trophy, and mingled with the Marlies Dance Crew. Seasons tickets have been won, as well as an autographed James Reimer jersey.

You have walked away with tickets to Leafs games, Marlies games and complimentary visits to hockey’s own hall of fame. And all the while it’s been rad.

The challenge has always been finding a way to out-do ourselves.

I think we found it.

We’re sending you on the road (the winner that is) to Hamilton for Canada’s first ever AHL outdoor game. It’s expected to set AHL attendance records as the AHL affiliates of the Habs and Leafs do battle. We have never sent anyone on the road before, let alone to an outdoor game. Be sure to pack your long-johns and a toque.

If you want in on this chance, you’ll have to be there this Sunday. It’s Meet Me at the Marlies own Festive Face-Off to celebrate the holidays. Peep all the details on the MMatM Facebook Page or give Wayne a ring at the Marlies office to grab your ticket (416.263.3540).

Just one last problem… I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to better this for next time.

Your buddy,

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