Toledo is poised to play host to its first CCM/All-Star Hockey Weekend. The four-day celebration, which begins Friday, January 18 and runs through Monday, January 21, will see five former Toledo hockey players inducted into the Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame.
Celebrations are scheduled throughout Downtown Toledo, beginning with an Opening Night Party at Hensville on Friday and a Winter Brewfest at Fifth Third Field on Saturday night. A regular season Walleye game against the Fort Wayne Komets on Sunday and the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic and Skills Challenge on Monday night will round out the weekend.
On Sunday, the 2019 Toledo Hockey and ECHL Hall of Fame luncheon will be held at the Seagate Center. Sponsored by Cooper Tire, during the luncheon former Toledo players and coaches—Maurice “Moe” Benoit, Mike Eruzione, John McGrath, Chris McSorley and Greg Puhalski (see interviews below)—will be remembered for their based contributions to the sport.
The doors will open at noon, and admission includes a full meal. Tickets are $45 and include a full slate of events to honor the inductees: the Hall of Fame luncheon, that evening’s Toledo Walleye game and a pre-game ceremony where the inductees’ banners will be unveiled. (The cost to attend the luncheon alone is $30).
For a complete schedule of the CCM/All-Star Weekend events, go to ToledoWalleye.com/Allstar. Single-game ticket packages are on sale now online or by calling 419-725-9255. Hall of Fame luncheon tickets are currently available only to Walleye Game Plan Holders. Luncheon tickets for the public will go on sale at a later date.
Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame 2019 class
Toledo hockey fans have the chance to participate in honoring five legendary figures who participated locally in the sport with the 2019 Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame inductees representing decades of memories.
Maurice “Moe” Benoit was a defenseman who played for and coached the Toledo Blades from 1963 through 1966. Prior to his tenure in the Glass City, Benoit played for several Canadian International teams and won a silver medal as part of the 1960 Canadian Olympic Team. His Toledo team won the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup in 1964, when Moe was a member of the Blades, and again in 1969 when he played with the Dayton Gems. Benoit was still a Dayton resident when he passed away in 2013 at the age of 81.
Mike Eruzione, nicknamed “Rizzo,” spent two seasons with the Toledo Goaldiggers beginning in 1978, winning the IHL Rookie of the Year Award and leading the team to win the Turner Cup that year. Bigger fame would soon come to Rizzo as he was named captain of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in 1980, and he scored the winning goal in perhaps the most famous hockey game of all time, the US team’s defeat of the Russian Olympic squad in the “Miracle on Ice.”
Greg Puhalski played four seasons at Wilfrid Laurier University of the Ontario University Athletic Association and for Ohio University’s club program before coming to Toledo. Puhalski played three seasons with the Toledo Storm from 1991-94, also serving as assistant coach during the 1993-94 season. He helped Toledo win back-to-back ECHL Riley Cup titles in 1993 and 1994. Fourth on the all-time Storm scoring list, Puhalski scored 70 goals with 155 assists in 123 regular season games. In 35 playoff games, he scored 20 goals with 33 assists. Puhalski lead the Storm as the team’s head coach from 1994-98 including four straight playoff appearances.
Chris McSorley played for several minor league teams throughout North America before finding his true calling as the man in charge. Landing his first head coaching job in 1989, McSorley joined the Toledo Storm as the team’s coach in 1991. During his three seasons as coach he led the team to back-to-back championships in 1993 and 1994. Since leaving the Glass City, McSorley has continued to coach all over the world, including his current job as coach and general manager of Geneve-Servette HC in Switzerland.
John McGrath, a native of Minnesota, became a stalwart of Toledo Mercurys teams over the course of five seasons between the late 1940s and early 1950s. As captain, he helped lead the team to Turner Cup titles in 1948, 1951 and 1952. He was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1951.