‘It was truly a special night’: Assabet hockey community gathers for alumni game
MARLBOROUGH — An Assabet Valley Regional High School alumni hockey game on Saturday afternoon drew several generations of Aztec players to the Navin Rink in Marlborough.
The event raised funds for the local West Tuttle Foundation while serving as a joyous reunion for these players, their families and members of the wider community.
“It was a really, really special night,” former Assabet boys ice hockey coach George Anastas told reporters after the game.
Maynard teenager organizes a game
It all came together thanks to the work of Maynard High School senior Steven Denn. Playing for Assabet through the school’s co-op program, Denn chose to use a senior draft opportunity at Maynard to give back to his Aztec hockey community.
Although excited about the effort, Denn said he initially assumed only a small number of players would be interested in participating. He prepared to ask friends still in high school to help complete his two teams for this charity game.
Instead, Denn said, registration was complete within a week, which forced him to turn away other interested players.
“I was overwhelmed by the number of people who reached out to me,” he said. “It was crazy.”
Proceeds benefit the West Tuttle Foundation
The alumni match saw two teams of Assabet alumni face off. They were coached by current Assabet head coach Dave Quinn and Anastas respectively.
The game raised funds through player registration fees, spectator fees, a donation jar, and a raffle with tickets donated by the Boston Bruins.
While he doesn’t have an exact estimate of the total amount of funds raised on Saturday night, Denn said he was thrilled to contribute to the West Tuttle Foundation.
“He had a huge impact on [city] of Marlborough,” Denn said of Tuttle, whose foundation is named after him. “…It felt like this game was for him.”
Tuttle was a titanic figure in the lives of many locals over several decades, helping to develop the New England Sports Center at Marlborough, among other things.
He died in 2020.
Since his passing, his foundation has continued to work to fund scholarships for young people who otherwise might not be able to afford the costs of playing hockey.
“If I never had the opportunity to play hockey, it would be just awful,” Denn said of that assignment. “So it’s huge to give that to the kids and give them the opportunity.”
‘[It was] just great for everyone’
This game was a long-awaited reunion for many on the ice on Saturday.
Now, organizers say the players are already talking about making their alumni showdown an annual tradition.
The 2022 game organizers aren’t sure what the future holds, but they’re excited about their results so far.
“It was very unexpected,” Denn said. “Globally [it was] just great for everyone.
Those interested in continuing to donate to the West Tuttle Foundation can do so by sending a check to:
Boston Bruins Foundation
Attention: Leandra Murphy
Path of 100 Legends
Boston, MA 02114.
Donors should write “Wes Tuttle Foundation” in the memo section of their check.
Youth hockey shaken by the sudden death of West Tuttle
A boat parade honors the late West Tuttle in Marlborough