Leafs and Raptors announce plans for huge tailgate parties outside ACC
The area surrounding the Air Canada Centre is set to become party central once again this spring as both the city's NBA and NHL teams head into postseason play.
The Toronto Raptors clinched first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time in team history on Friday, while the Maple Leafs have finished their regular season third in the NHL's Atlantic Division.
Both franchises proudly call the ACC home, as do the legions of fans who support them – either from inside the stadium or from what's become known colloquially as "Jurassic Park" (aka Maple Leaf Square.)
Ready. #2018Playoffs pic.twitter.com/BaqKx2JMqc— Air Canada Centre (@AirCanadaCentre) April 10, 2018
MLSE, which owns both teams, just announced what it calls a "fan plan" for the space during 2018's NHL and NBA playoffs.
"As the Leafs, Raptors, and their fans prepare for the 2018 playoffs, the teams are excited to invite fans to Maple Leaf Square to the Leafs Playoff Tailgate Parties presented by Canadian Tire and Raptors Tailgate presented by Sport Chek to watch the postseason on the big screen," reads a release from the entertainment company.
As always, the ACC's huge outdoor screen will playing all home and away games, live, for thousands of fans to enjoy, completely free.
This year's tailgate parties will also include "giveaways, fun activations, special guests, a live DJ and more," according to MLSE.
I’ll be flying back to Toronto on Thursday just in time for Leafs vs Bruins Game One — will head to Maple Leafs Square where the crowd should be electric.— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) April 9, 2018
This was the scene last year.
There will also be alcohol.
"Inside each Tailgate Party in Maple Leaf Square, Real Sports Bar & Grill will have a beer vendor," the release notes. "To provide fans, quicker service, these kiosks along with all bars, food trucks, hawkers and hotdog vendors will be cashless."
The ACC will change from game to game, both inside and outside, based on which team is playing at home. Gates will open two hours in advance of each game.
Goosebumps thinking about Jurassic Park this playoff season— Sandro Rubin (@Insider6ix) April 9, 2018
"If the Leafs or Raptors are playing within the arena, the tailgate party in Maple Leaf Square will also be dedicated exclusively to the home team," notes MLSE.
"Both the Leafs and Raptors will host tailgate parties for away games, provided the other team is not playing a home game at the same time."
The tailgate series kicks off this Thursday, when the Leafs face the Boston Bruins at Boston’s TD Garden in Game One of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series.
The Raptors, who won a franchise record 59 games this season, will finish their 2017-18 regular season tonight in Miami.
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