That Timmy’s commercial with Sidney Crosby still gives me goosebumps every time I see it…

Last week I heard a story that hit home with me…and for no real reason other than the fact it was a genuine feel good story. No barriers were crushed, no obstacles overcome, no ‘Road to the Gold’ mentality…it was just a feel-good story, one that if you weren’t paying attention, would probably go unnoticed.

A colleague of mine in Montreal was the one who told me the story, and was able to give me goosebumps at 5:00 on a Tuesday afternoon when most people were taking off for the train ride home, the first day back after the long weekend (God bless family day).

We were promoting the Stanley Cup Playoffs at work as our sales teams went out pitching to the media buyers, and with them was the one of the most iconic hockey figures you will ever come across. The shimmer will make you look twice….hockey fan or not. The stories, the legacy…the tears of happiness and the tears of defeat suddenly rush to the forefront of everyone’s emotion once the first glimpse of this figure is seen. I have seen many grown men, in the best shape anyone can be, be beat up and beat down all over the ice – take sticks, pucks, and fists to the mouth, and still push on. But the first time they lay eyes on this icon they become children..most if not all…weep.

The Stanley Cup has a way of touching everyone it surrounds and this story is an example of it.

Father & son – playing hockey on the backyard rink (I swear this wasn’t scripted, but someone get Tim Hortons or MasterCard on the phone..) the little boy filled with the genuine love of the game, out to all hours of the night (or if you lived in my house, until the street lights came on…that was the ‘final buzzer’). No CBA could taint this kids view of hockey (note I didn’t say NHL) – watching his stars is one thing – flying down the ice pretending to be those God-like figures is another. He shoots and scores, and each goal is as exciting as his first. He’s a kid. He’s a fan. He’s the root of all real sports fans.

His father organized a game in his backyard and had it fixed that his son would score the overtime winning goal because he knew that there wasn’t a single thing on earth that would make this kid smile more than that goal.

It went off without a hitch – the friendly game of pick-up with friends and family went to sudden death, and the little boy got his goal. On top of the world.

His father then surprised him with a mock Stanley Cup, crafted mostly with tin foil and scotch tape. The kind we’ve all had at one point (mom always knew where to look when a roll of tin foil and 3 tupperware containers were missing). The boy was so happy and excited and he turned to his father and said…. “Dad, one day I’m going to win the Stanley Cup…and I’m going to give it you”

And that was that.

Not many children can grow up to actually do what this little boy had promised – and for every one that is able to, there are thousands who are handing the tin foiled Becel containers to their children, hoping to bring them the joy that every little kid dreams of as they sit in front of the TV watching the legends take the ice.

Well the final stop of the Stanley Cup Roadshow in Montreal was the basement of the colleague who told me this story where he invited friends, family and clients over for a social gathering – to trade their fondest Hockey Night in Canada stories (we are with CBC after all), remembering when they pretended to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug into the air, just like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and the rest of them did – and here it was, right here in the basement of a home where no hockey legends (on-ice) lived – nothing but a bunch of fans, decked out in their favourite team’s jerseys with the names and numbers on the back.

Well the colleague of mine had to call his one buddy and tell him to come over because he had a surprise for him in the basement. So he agreed, grabbed the keys, asked his son if he would like to go for a ride – which he did, and off they went. They got to the house and were met by 80 pairs of shoes (they were counted) and they headed toward the basement where all the commotion was.

They got down the stairs and in the middle of the room there it was. The Stanley Cup. Drinks were flowing, people were laughing and talking – most crowded around the bar where Mike Bolt (the keeper of the cup) told another one of his famous stories – he’s got a good Chris Chelios one – but in the middle of the room…the most silent, yet speaking the loudest – was Lord Stanley.

The father and son walked over to it and as people moved away giving them both a clear shot at it, the son looked at his father and without skipping a beat said:

“Told you…”

…for everything else…there’s MasterCard.


Today in Ontario, we are celebrating FAMILY DAY.

That’s right, a day to celebrate the people in our lives that we consider our family.

What IS Family? In my opinion, family is comprised of the person or people in our lives (including those not related by blood) who are there through thick and thin; who provide us wit h unconditional love; who challenge who we are and who we want to be; who are there to celebrate and cry. Family are those who give meaning to our lives. They inspire us, they support us, and in the end, they are the people who we would do anything for. Coaches, teammates, players, friends, parents, siblings, neighbours, coworkers, etc.

To my beautiful family-thank you for being there. Thank you for your constant support, encouragement, and those very special moments in which silence says it all. I am who I am in part because of the great influences you have in my life.

Family-what does it mean to you and how are YOU celebrating/spending your family day?

Sunday January 24th, 2010 was a BIG day. 

1. The PLAYmakers had the privilege of enjoying a nice breakfast hosted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The 7:45am call time was well worth it and was made even better when Toronto Raptors Head Coach Jay Triano joined us for Q & A and later invited the attendees to the Raptors private shoot around in preparation for last night’s game. THANK YOU Rob Cowan & the MLSE and a BIG thank you to Jay Triano.

2. Our Toronto Raptors came from behind to beat the #1 L.A. Lakers 106-105 last night at the A.C.C. The crowd was electrifying as Hedo Turkoglu step to the foul line with 1.2 seconds left and made both baskets to tie the game and then ultimately WIN the game. To the Raps: it was fun to see you boys in practice but it was that much sweeter to see you come from behind and beat the Lakers. It comes to show that ANYTHING can happen.

photo courtesy of

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do you want Raptors Tickets…at a discount price? Well here’s your chance.  Call Rob Cowan @  416-815-5636 or email with the game of choice and say you are a friend of TO PLAY Toronto. It’s that simple and the discount tickets are yours! It’s WIN-WIN.
3. Superbowl XLIV (44 for those who are not down with Roman numbers) is set! With an overtime win against the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints will take on Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on the ever so famous Superbowl Sunday in sunny South Beach. (As a side note: Peter, your Jets were thisclose….). Who will reign supreme? Tune into the festivities on Sunday February 7th, 2010 at 6:25pm eastern time.

photo courtesy of

So here’s my latest thought: I, Joann Lim,  am going to play this 2010 year by quarters.

Rather than trying to swallow this year whole, I am going to set forth for myself FOUR quarterly challenges. Perhaps it’ll be a physical challenge (like riding a bike for 35 mins straight-I know what some of you may be saying, “that’s not very long”…it is for a girl who has patello-femoral in BOTH knees!) or an intellectual challenge (like taking a class of some sorts or learning a language) or a spiritual challenge (like practicing daily meditation). The options are endless.

The reality is I am prepared TO PLAY this year. I am ready TO PLAY this year and make it the Year of the INCREDIBLE.

First Quarter Action:

1. “Keep Fit/Have Fun”–> min. 4 training days a week including sports, yoga, strength training, and cardio

2. Read atleast 1 book/month

3. Begin learning Italian such that by the end of the quarter I can converse with my Nona using some Italian phrases and she will understand.

I will keep you posted on how my first quarter goes. Until then, I wonder how you will use your year. Will you give yourself a yearly goal, not make any goal(s), or maybe join me in the quarterly challenges?

The team who wins the four quarters, ultimately will win the game. Basketball has the NBA Championship, Football has the SuperBowl, and I (and you) have the Year of the Incredible. Let the incredibleness begin…

Do you like the Raptors?

We like the Raptors.

We like you.

As such, stay tuned for the listing of Toronto Raptors Tickets offered at a special TO PLAY price for YOU to enjoy!

Check back soon.

January 3rd, 2010

A new year has arrived. A new Decade has begun. ‘Tis the season for fresh starts, new beginnings, new challenges, endless growth, and countless opportunities TO PLAY.

As people are contemplating their “New Year’s Resolution,” we at TO PLAY are up to something a little different. We aren’t looking to “change” anything, we are looking to TRANSFORM the way WE see and experience things. We are contemplating the little things we can do everyday to PLAY it Forward and ignite that passion within that encourages everyday people like YOU & us PLAYmakers TO PLAY everyday.

Now that the rush of the Christmas/Holiday Season is over and 2010 is making its home, we challenge YOU to find that thing in your life that inspires you TO PLAY. Whether it is a skipping rope, an etch & sketch (personal favourite of Jo), a picture of Michael Jordan doing his infamous dunk, an old picture of you in your “finer” days, getting together with a bunch of friends to play a team sport, the Olympics around the corner, etc, this is YOUR chance to make 2010 a year you come TO PLAY everyday.

Remember folks, TO PLAY is more than an event-it’s a LIFESTYLE.

p.s. and for those interested in sharing their 2010 inspirations, please email us at or comment directly on this blog. We want to hear from you!

This holiday season, remember the little things that matter most. We take for granted health, safety, and well-being when so many others are struggling to obtain a stranglehold on one of those, let alone all 3.

I’ll keep this short and sweet in keeping with the theme, but just remember, those 4 or 5 quarters you have lying on your dresser that have been sitting there for a few weeks…that can help someone eat this Christmas. The Salvation Army has stations all over, and just yesterday I was at the mall, and their buckets were full. And I mean full of 10 and 20 dollar bills. Made me feel a bit better about myself and our community. We can’t forget, we don’t forget.

Let’s all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – even those we don’t know. We all deserve it.

PLAY it forward.