By Melissa Wronzberg
While it’s been a rough season on the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the organization deserves a lot of credit for a pair of recent heart-warming gestures.
For Saturday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators the Leafs hosted Garrett ‘G-man’ Gamble. The 11-year-old boy suffers from Moriquio Syndrome (a rare birth defect that impacts metabolism), which has left him restricted to a wheelchair. The Leafs signed him to a one-day contract, and gave him a dressing room stall beside captain Dion Phaneuf. At the end of the night, he was named first star in the Leafs overtime win.
Three days later, with the Maple Leafs home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, they started their pregame with a moment of silence in honor of Carley Allison, a Leafs anthem singer who passed away early that morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Allison, 19, was diagnosed in 2013 with a rare form of cancer in her trachea. It was removed, but in August 2014 it returned, this time to her lungs.
Allison had posted videos on YouTube of herself singing and was also invited to sing the Canadian national anthem on two occasions at the Air Canada Centre. One of those games was in November, on Hockey Fights Cancer night.
She left an impression with the team. Phaneuf and his wife, Elisha Cuthbert, had visited Allison in the hospital the day before she passed away.
The Leafs won both games she sang at, as well as yesterday’s after the moment of silence.
Allison also sang the anthem that kicked off the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer tournament in Toronto this past September.