The first annual Toasting GOATs Gala at The Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center was a night of celebration for some of the Erie region’s finest athletes. This exclusive event was to support the Greater Erie Regional Area Team Training (G.R.E.A.T.T.) and Erie Bank Sports Park. G.R.E.A.T.T. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was created by local youth sports leaders and business owners who saw a real demand in improving the athletic facilities and sports programs. This program allows for increased access and opportunities for the youth of the greater Erie region.
The fundraising event, which took place in the Garden Atrium and Terrace, featured multiple past and present NHL stars. During the event, Erie legend Rick Chartraw and former Erie Otter Mike Rupp were honored for their dedication to Erie sports. To go along with these notable athletes, former Otters Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome made guest appearances in support of the new rinks at Erie Bank Sports Park. Connor McDavid, drafted first overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is considered to be one of the best hockey players in the world. DeBrincat and Strome, who are now teammates on the Chicago Blackhawks, won the OHL Championship with the Erie Otters in the 2016-17 season.
Guests of the gala enjoyed a raw bar with a variety of seafood, exquisite hors d’oeuvres and premium drinks which included a wine station featuring Bure Family Wines. Valeri Bure, co-owner of Bure Family Wines, was another notable celebrity at the event, sharing his passion for wine with guests. Renowned artist, Cody Sabol, created multiple pieces of art which were auctioned off to benefit G.R.E.A.T.T. and Erie Bank Sports Park.
The fundraiser ended in a live performance from The Pop Rockets and had guests dancing throughout the night and enjoying a beautiful summer night!