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Leafs Fan Fest a big disappointment to some fans – Toronto

The Leafs Fan Fest was a disappointment to some fans.

“I’m pretty upset not getting to meet anyone. And just waiting, that’s all it was,” said 13-year-old Kyle Tarnoweckyj.

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Tarnoweckyj expected to meet his favourite players and see behind the scenes for his favourite team, The Toronto Maple Leafs. Instead, Tarnoweckyj said he spent more than half his day in a line up. He wanted to meet James van Riemsdyk, but the Left Winger was scheduled to be at the event Sunday and Tarnoweckyj had tickets for Saturday. Tarnoweckyj still decided to wait in line for autographs from other players. After two hours, he was told that wasn’t going to happen.

“We were told that the management wasn’t expecting everyone to want autographs,” he said. “They wanted us to come back the next day, we didn’t go.”

Fan Fest offered fans to get autographs and photos with certain players. On Saturday, two players rotated the autograph table every hour. Line ups stretched through the Air Canada Centre, some people tweeting they waited four to six hours.

On Monday, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment admitted there were kinks in the event.

“I think it gave us some lessons to be learned for moving forward,” said Dave Haggith, Senior Director of Communications for MLSE.

Haggith said one of the things they will look at is capacity levels.

“You know there was over 10,000 people that went through on Saturday and I think we just learned that number’s probably too high. So we’ll have to limit the number of tickets sold for years moving forward,” he said.

Tickets for the event ranged from $20 to $500 for VIP access Friday night. Director of Communications, Jamie Deans said some of the proceeds went to the MLSE Foundation.

“More than $100,000 was‎ raised for the Regent Park Community project through the MLSE Foundation over the course of the weekend,” Deans said in an email to Global News.

Tarnoweckyj said he may go back next year if it looks like there will be changes. He said Fan Fest should be all about the fans.

“Make it all about the fans,”  he said, “so no one has to wait all day to meet their favourite player.”

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