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Top-notch service for a good cause

by Gregory Rosa || AHL On The Beat Archive

The Monarchs Care Foundation, charitable arm of the Manchester Monarchs, is hosting its 11th annual At Your Service charitable dinner on Wednesday, March 14. The event includes a fun night with the Monarchs players and coaching staff along with a silent auction with the proceeds benefiting local charities.

The Monarchs players and coaching staff have been talking about At Your Service for a couple of weeks now. The players have been sizing up their competition each and every day, and the rivalries picked up with a little fun competition at Your Fired! in Bedford, N.H., last Monday night, when the players and coaching staff made their custom plates which will be auctioned off among other items at the dinner.

Naturally, each Monarchs player believes they have the best plate.

“Me, for the second year in a row,” said Monarchs left wing Ray Kaunisto. “And I would have won it the year before if I were here.”

“Definitely myself,” said Monarchs defenseman Andrew Campbell. “A lot of time spent and a lot of effort put in. It is very original. I look forward to raising the most money.”

“I think ours are probably the best,” said right wing Stefan Legein in reference to both his and left wing Richard Clune’s plates.

Clune disagreed and felt that his plate was the best by saying, “Yeah, mine is definitely the best.”

Clune continued to talk about all the plates created by his teammates that were not on the same level as their plates which included calling one of them the worst plate.

“I know what he was going for,” said Legein of one of his teammates’ plates. “He challenged himself. You cannot blame the guy for trying.”

There is no doubt the fun competition is heating up as we get closer to Wednesday’s event at the Radisson Hotel Manchester Downtown. The players have also been quite creative with their Build-A-Bears and care baskets. Clune and Legein have joined forces this year and have combined their efforts for the cause.

“Our basket is the theme of us: Superman,” said Legein, with Clune by his side. “We are both men of steel.”

Clune interjected Legein by saying, “we both have our kryptonite but we cannot talk about that.”

Similar to years past, the Monarchs will become wait staff that will be serving their guests. It seems as though some players have new tricks up their sleeves to claim the title of the highest charitable earner of the night. But do not expect anyone to openly discuss them prior to the event.

“Me and Leej go way back,” explained Clune. “We are kind of cut from the same cloth. We know how to turn a few tricks.”

“Yes,” said Kaunisto when asked if he had any tricks planned. “But the best thing I have (going for me) is a secret. I cannot let anyone know.”

The competition within the team is a great motivator but it is easy for the Monarchs to participate in the event when it is for charity, specifically Child Health Services, the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester and the Monarchs Care Foundation.

“That (charity) is obviously the main point,” reflecting Campbell of past dinners. “Everyone loves coming out supporting it and having a good time. It is such a great cause.”

The At Your Service dinner has raised nearly half a million dollars for these local charities over the last 10 years ago.

In the end, the competition is playful and they know that their teammates always have each other’s backs.

“He (Legein) is going to be my date,” said Clune. “I can make sure he behaves himself.”