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.
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.