This year’s All-Star MVP, Wayne Simmonds, right-wing and alternate captain for the Philadelphia Flyers, was born in Scarborough on August 26, 1988. His parents are African Nova Scotians, originally from North Preston, N.S.
One of six siblings, his dad was a construction worker and his mother worked for the City of Toronto. Money was tight but his parents found ways to support his junior hockey progress through the Greater Toronto Hockey League, Junior A and the OHL. Simmonds was a second-round draft pick for the LA Kings in 2007, and after three years was traded to the Flyers. Nicknamed Wayne Train, Number 17 is a fan favourite in Philadelphia, known for his work ethic and high-scoring seasons.
With success, Simmonds has also maintained his links to Scarborough. Fulfilling a promise to his mother to give back, and inspired by the opportunities he was provided, in 2012 Simmonds and a friend created Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors (WRHW). The not-for-profit provides opportunities for young people aged 8 – 12 to learn and play hockey alongside NHL role models.
“We got help from the community growing up to play hockey and it was only right to give back.”
A summer ball hockey tournament at Scarborough Gardens Arena—the same place Simmonds and his friends played minor hockey—is the pinnacle of the fundraising efforts that help children in the area to play an expensive sport they may not have the opportunity to play.
“Our mission is to provide underprivileged youth, particularly in Scarborough, with the opportunity to learn and play hockey. Our vision is to inspire youth to set goals and to fuel their belief that they can achieve them.”
Image via NHL.com