‘It was really a special night’: Assabet hockey community gathers for alumni game

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Assabet alumni shake hands after the conclusion of their alumni game at Navin Skating Rink on Saturday. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – An Assabet Valley Regional High School alumni hockey game on Saturday afternoon drew multiple generations of Aztecs players to Navin Skating Rink in Marlborough.

The event raised money for the local Wes Tuttle Foundation while serving as a happy reunion for those players, families and broader community members.

“It was a really, really special night,” former Assabet boys ice hockey coach George Anastas told reporters after the game.

Maynard teen organizes game

Participants in this weekend’s Assabet alumni hockey game pose for a team photo. (Photo/courtesy Mike Lowe)

This 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 opted to use a senior project opportunity at Maynard to give back to his Aztecs hockey community.

Though excited about this effort, Denn said he initially assumed that only a small number of players would be interested in participating. He prepared to ask friends still in high school to help fill out his two teams for this charity game.

Instead, Denn said, registration was full within a week, leading him to have to turn away additional interested players.

“I was overwhelmed with the amount of people that reached out to me,” he said. “It was crazy.”

Proceeds benefit Wes Tuttle Foundation

The alumni game saw two teams of Assabet alumni play against one another. They were coached by current Assabet head coach Dave Quinn and by Anastas respectively.

The game raised money through player registration fees, spectator costs, a donation jar and a raffle featuring tickets donated by the Boston Bruins.

Though he didn’t have an exact estimate for the total amount of money raised as of Saturday night, Denn said he was excited to be contributing to the Wes Tuttle Foundation.

Herbert Tuttle IV
Wes Tuttle was the beloved longtime general manager of the New England Sports Center.

“He had a huge impact on the [city] of Marlborough,” Denn said of Tuttle, for whom the foundation is named. “…It just felt like this game was for him.”

Tuttle was a titanic figure in the lives of many in the region across multiple decades, helping grow the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, among many other things.

He passed away in 2020.

Since his passing, his foundation has continued work to fund scholarships for youth who might not otherwise be able to afford the costs of playing hockey.

“If I was never given the opportunity to play hockey, that would just be awful,” Denn said of that mission. “So, it’s huge to give that to kids out there and give them the opportunity.”

‘[It was] just great for everybody’

This game was a long-awaited reunion for many on the ice on Saturday.

Now, organizers said players are already talking about building their alumni faceoff into an annual tradition.

Organizers of the 2022 game aren’t sure what exactly the future holds, but they’re excited about their results so far.

“It was very unexpected,” Denn said. “Overall [it was] just great for everybody.”

Those interested in still donating to the Wes Tuttle Foundation can do so by mailing a check to:

Boston Bruins Foundation

Attn: Leandra Murphy

TD Garden

100 Legends Way

Boston, MA 02114.

Donors should write “Wes Tuttle Foundation” in the memo section of their check.

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