TORONTO — Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews is used to enjoying in packed arenas beneath the brilliant lights. Put him in a colourful costume at The Nationwide Ballet of Canada, nonetheless, and it is a completely completely different story.

Matthews and teammate Mitch Marner made cameo appearances as Cannon Dolls in a efficiency of “The Nutcracker” on Wednesday night time, a call Matthews was having second ideas about moments earlier than stepping in entrance of the group.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Matthews stated Thursday morning. “We jumped on the thought to do it. About 20 seconds earlier than we went on stage I used to be actually considering it, however I am comfortable I did it. It was a fairly neat expertise. One thing not many individuals can say they have been ready to take part in.”

The roles lasted about three minutes and did not contain any precise ballet — however each gamers stated it appeared like an eternity.

“It felt like we have been up there so fast,” Marner stated. “However after we have been in the second it felt so lengthy, which is form of loopy.”

Clad in saggy pants, shirts and hats, the 21-year-olds have been tasked with accompanying a cannon operator in the present. Matthews performed the function of the excited Cannon Doll, waving his arms like a windmill, whereas Marner’s character was scared, usually protecting his mouth together with his fingers.

“My pants have been large on me,” stated Marner, who claimed he did not have the identical nerves as Matthews. “I stored joking round that I may match three individuals into them.”

“These outfits have been fairly attention-grabbing,” stated Matthews, who has appeared in a few trend publications already this season. “Most likely probably the most cozy outfits I’ve ever worn.”

So how did they decide the roles? Easy, as a result of one doll had to bounce in the arms of the opposite.

“Mitch stated he could not catch me,” stated Matthews, who’s three inches taller and practically 50 kilos heavier than Marner. “That is how we determined.”

“I wasn’t going to carry Matts off the stage,” Marner added.

Matthews and Marner, who watched the second act from the viewers, have been amazed on the athletic skill of the ballet dancers.

“They’re very proficient,” Matthews stated. “It is loopy what they’ll do. Each time they jumped I used to be considering in my head I’d for positive fall and break my ankle doing this.”

Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly took in the present together with his mother and was happy with his teammates.

“I obtained nervous for them so I am positive they have been nervous, however they have been nice,” Rielly stated. “Good for these guys for getting up there.”

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, whose staff visited Toronto on Thursday night time, playfully tweeted: “After such a giant night time ought to most likely think about giving them the night time off tomorrow no?”

NHL News

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