Photo: Emily Bowers

ACC jobs leave students star-struck

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By Emily Bowers

It’s all part of the job when Ryerson students brush shoulders with celebrities at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and many special events.

Dan Kurek, a first-year theatre technical production student, has been working at the ACC as a Maitre d’ for the corporate boxes since September and making a salary of $120 an event.

Kurek has met hockey legends Darryl Sittler, Johnny Bower and most of the current Maple Leafs.

When World Championship Wrestling brought their pay-per-view special Mayhem to the ACC last November, Kurek got to be on camera.

“It was one of the hardcore backstage matches, and I saw them rehearsing before,” he said. “So I went back and stood there and got in the background.”

He also met wrestlers Scott Hall and Kanyon that evening.

Kurek said large companies own a lot of the boxes and bring clients of events.

“Companies like Coke have six boxes throughout the building, all in different places,” he said. Kurek works in the Platinum section, where a box goes for $600,000 a year.

To get a platinum box, you would not only have to shell out the pricey annual fee, but have a platinum licence, which can cost up to $20,000 a year. The license will also get you access to the ACC’s five-star Platinum Lounge where Ryerson student Melissa Pellow works as a food runner.

Pellor, a first-year graphic communications management student, has had the opportunity to see all the Leafs and meet many Raptors. She makes $9 an hour and $40 to $50 a night in tips.

Dawson’s Creek’s Joshua Jackson is an ACC regular, Pellow said. So is actress Tia Carrere from The Relic Hunter. Pellow also said a lot of hockey and basketball players with children bring them in for ice cream after a game.

She sees a lot of basketball players like Vince Carter and Antonio Davis on practice days when they come in for tuna sandwiches and hamburgers, even though they’re not offered on the sophisticated menu. She said that if the players want something, they’ll get it.

There many perks to her part-time job. Aside from serving celebrities $40 steaks and beer for $5.95 a bottle, she can come in on days off and see events.

The players and celebrities treat the students and other employees with respect, Kurek said.

“They’re generally nice,” he said. “It depends on when and how you catch them.”

While some of the novelty of the job sighting has worn off, “it’s still cool,” Kurek said.  

The meetings, however, don’t go beyond handshakes. “You’re not going to bug them for an autograph,” he said. “Then you get fired.”

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