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Leafs GM, police chief & philanthropist to sleep outside for Covenant House

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, philanthropist Suzanne Rogers and celebrity CEO Arlene Dickinson will be among those trading the comfort of their beds to sleep on the streets Thursday night to highlight the problem of youth homelessness.

Burke and Dickinson, who are co-chairing the first-ever event, will join more than 50 executives and local celebrities at the sleep out to raise funds for the youth shelter Covenant House — the largest in Canada.

Participants are set to check in at the Gerrard Street shelter at 6 p.m. They’ll have dinner there, talk with kids and then set up their outdoor sleeping spot around 11 p.m. They’ll have breakfast with Covenant House kids at 6 a.m. Friday.

“As a parent, I can tell you that raising a teenager isn’t always easy. These kids have issues. They have battles. They have daily struggles, even in totally supportive situations,” Burke said. “Just imagine what these young kids are going through. Trying to deal with that same set of issues without a home base, without steady meals, without support from family — it’s a hard, hard battle and a hard hill to climb.”