Toronto Maple Leafs make big gesture to Port aux Basques and donate to Fiona relief fund

Brian (Smokey) Osmond is the proud recipient of some Toronto Maple Leafs gear, straight from the team president himself. (Malone Mullin/CBC)

Brian (Smokey) Osmond stands proudly in his kitchen, sporting head-to-toe blue and white.

Before speaking, he chokes.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Osmond’s favorite hockey team, sent a bundle of Leafs gear to his hometown of Port aux Basques this week to show their support for the community hit hard last month by the storm. post-tropical Fiona.

For Osmond, this means the world.

« [Channel-Port aux Basques Mayor] Brian Button gave it to me, » Osmond said, showing off his new sweater.

« I lost everything. I had everything in it. My basement was set up as a game room. I painted it blue and I had a bar. I had almost everything the Leafs had – sweaters on the walls. »

It’s been a lifetime of collecting Leafs memorabilia lost in one fell swoop when Fiona brought Osmond home, and nearly her life in September.

He salvaged just two pieces from his collection in the days following the storm, sifting through rubble and clearing debris.

« The more I talk about it, the worse it gets, » Osmond said.

“It will always have a special meaning”

Button received about 18 boxes from the Leafs on Monday morning, filling his office with what he initially thought was a joke.

The boxes are filled with jerseys, hats, coats, blankets and other items to distribute throughout the community, as well as two highly personalized items from Leafs president and NHL Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan.

A man is holding a blue shirt indicating Button with the number 22.
Channel-Port aux Basques Mayor Brian Button shows off the personalized gear he received from the Leafs. (Brian Button/Facebook)

« The first thing I pulled out was a jersey with my name on it and a signature on it. When I looked at the signature…I said ‘That looks like Brendan Shanahan to me.’ There was an envelope there, and when I opened it, it [said] « From Brendan Shanahan’s office, » Button said.

« It made my day, as a Leafs fan, of course. But it’s touching, for now, just to see how far it’s gone and how people are reaching out everywhere. »

In her letter to Button, Shanahan wrote, « I want you to know that we are thinking of you and the people of Port aux Basques. »

Button said Shanahan told him the Maple Leafs were also donating $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to relieve Fiona.

He said the gesture meant a lot to him as a Leafs fan, but it was secondary to the organization simply taking the time to help.

« This jersey will go in a shadowbox, and the letter will go in my game room as well, » he said, noting that he had been a collector since he was a teenager and owned about 200 team jerseys.

« Forever and a day, it will always have a special meaning. »

Learn more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

cbc sp

Back to top button