The Crowd: Ducks land $100,000 for children's charities

Organizers called it "Center Ice White Out," as the mighty Anaheim Ducks held their annual casino night raising needed funds for the Orangewood Children's Foundation and for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County, better known as CASA.

The handsome athletes proudly known as the Ducks took their calling seriously and showed up dressed in all white with an occasional splash of orange at their home turf, the Honda Center. The gentlemen mingled with the crowd of some 650 donors surrounding a sea of gaming tables, ultimately raising $100,000 for the two charities dedicated to serving foster children in Orange County.

The casino night was in the hands of an auxiliary committee known as 44 Women for Children, a small but dynamic group founded by Susan Samueli, wife and partner of Ducks owner Henry Samueli. Kimberly Kirksey, a dedicated 44 Women for Children member, led the event committee that produced the casino night with the important support of title sponsor, the Bill Klein family.

The sold-out crowd gambled at the tables and danced to the music of DJ Serafin. Some of the Ducks rotated in and out as dealers at the blackjack, craps and roulette tables, which were provided by the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.

The all-white-with-a-splash-of-orange theme was carried to extremes, including a blood orange specialty cocktail created for the night. The food — a lobster salad, oysters on the half shell, hand-rolled sushi, butternut squash soup — was all orange. A white asparagus soup was served and dessert was what else but white cake and white-hot chocolate to balance the effect of the blood orange cocktails. If that was not enough, white-baked Alaska came out flaming (orange) surrounded by orange fruit, including cantaloupe and the hottest little thing on the fruit market, Cutie tangerines.

Celebrity athletes supporting the evening included Ducks team captain Ryan Getzlaf, National Hockey League 2012 All-Star Corey Perry, Cam Fowler, goalie Jonas Hiller, along with Coach Bruce Boudreau. Also in the crowd were Teemu Selanne, George Parros, major underwriters Jenny and Bill Klein, Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and from Orangewood, Cal Winslow as well as Gene Howard representing CASA.

Members of 44 Women for Children spotted in the crowd included Kelly Bozza, Andrea Casaw, Carey Clawson, Ginny David, Ann Diem, Hope Dorsey, Lupe Erwin, Sherri Hudson and Stacey Kinney. Additional 44 Women members working the Ducks evening were Mari Kurtz, Joyce Piercey, Kristen Stephen, Linda Thauer and Karen Whitfield.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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