Leafs Alumni in Huntsville

Oct. 24, 2022

By Danielle McPherson

From the retired big leagues to the tinniest of Timbits, Saturday night’s Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni games and fundraiser, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Huntsville, proved to be a great event.  

The Huntsville arena was packed and there wasn’t an empty spot in the parking lot!

This night would not have been possible without the late Ross Kirwin who was an active member of the Huntsville community. Kirwin, who was also very involved with the Rotary Club of Huntsville, approached the club with the idea of hosting a Maple Leaf Alumni game to raise funds. Kirwin wanted to use the money collected from the game to build a multi-use, year-round sports pad for the community. COVID-19 thwarted those plans twice, then came Kirwin’s declining health and unfortunately, he never did see his dream become a reality. But the Club, determined to see Kirwin’s idea brought to fruition, finally managed to host the event last Saturday and begin collecting funds for the sports pad while also celebrating Kirwin’s memory.  

Big names in Leaf history played on the ice, such as Mikhail Grabovski (#84) to record holder Bob McGill (#15) who spent 263 minutes in the penalty box as a rookie. The Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Association (TMLA) was founded in 1995 by Red Kelly, Allan Stanley, Eddie Shack, and Frank Mahovlich.  The TMLA is the largest alumni in the NHL with over 600 former players. Local team Tulloch Engineering, also the platinum sponsor for the event, lost four to six to the Alumni team. The game was clean and gentle, with little to no time spent in the penalty box.  

The Huntsville Sting U13 and U15 girls also played against the Alumni. The girls went on to win their game, three to nothing. The U15 girls had won a previous game during the day, zero to five, and got a second win as well. 

After the Huntsville Sting girls came off the ice, the littlest players took over the ice, the Timbit team came out ready to rock’n’roll. By far, the Timbit players received the loudest cheers from the crowds.  

Hockey lovers of all ages came together for a great game and huge support from the crowds. Kirwin would’ve been proud.

Maple Leafs Alumni Mikhail Grabovski (#84) and Bob McGill (#15) celebrate with the U13 and U15 Sting girls after they scored a goal. (Photo: Danielle McPherson.  
The U13 Sting girls joined the U15s in the Huntsville Rotary-Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Hockey Game & Fundraiser. Wendel Clark (#17) was on the ice with the U13 girls during the game. (Photo: Danielle McPherson.)
The U13 and U15 Huntsville Sting girls’ hockey joint team won against the Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Association. U13 players in the photo are Lilianna Henderson (#14), Kaelyn Doughty (#12), Lily Dixon (#13), and Sophie Ryan (#3). U15 players are Autumn Docherty (#9) and Hailey Plant (#22). Alumni player Mikhail Grabovski (#84). Everyone played a great game. (Photo: Danielle McPherson.)
The U13 Sting with the U15s in the Huntsville Rotary-Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Hockey Game & Fundraiser. U15’s Lauchlyn Trenholm (#3) and U13’s Mayson Singleton (#10) playing against Alumni players Bob McGill (#15) and Mikhail Grabovski (#85). (Photo: Danielle McPherson.)
Duke Best (#8) from the Huntsville Timbit team goes for a goal during Saturday’s Alumni Game. (Photo: Danielle McPherson)
From left to right, Freya Ware (#3), goalie Nolan Stevenson and Sawyer Aiken (#16), the Huntsville Timbit hockey team took to the ice. Later in the evening, some players came back on the ice to help clean up the puck toss. (Photo: Danielle McPherson)
The Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Association hockey team and the Tulloch Team at Saturday night’s Alumni Hockey Game. Alumni team player Chris Pearce (#10) was a Leaf For A Day). Ryan Venturelli (#42) played goalie during the game for Team Tulloch and Ryan Clarke (#18) was one of the forward players. (Photo: Danielle McPherson)

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