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Family celebrating Toppazzini's life

A celebration of former NHL player Jerry Toppazzini's life will be held from 2-7 p.m. April 29 at the Beef n' Bird Restaurant on Lorne Street. Toppazzini, 81, was born in Copper Cliff. His hockey career started in St. Catharine's in 1948.
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Former NHL player and Copper Cliff native Jerry Toppazzini passed away recently. A celebration of his life will be held from 2-7 p.m. April 29 at the Beef n' Bird Restaurant on Lorne Street. Supplied photo.

A celebration of former NHL player Jerry Toppazzini's life will be held from 2-7 p.m. April 29 at the Beef n' Bird Restaurant on Lorne Street.

Toppazzini, 81, was born in Copper Cliff. His hockey career started in St. Catharine's in 1948.

He graduated to the Hershey Bears of the AHL in 1951, and then went on to play with the Boston Bruins in 1952, with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1953-1955 and the Detroit Red Wings from 1955-56. He returned to play with the Boston Bruins until 1964.

“During his professional hockey career, he resided in major cities across North America, but Sudbury always remained his home,” his obituary stated.

Among his career accomplishments are winning the Barrie Flyer Memorial Cup Championships in 1951, his induction into the Sudbury Kinsmen/House of Kin Hall of Fame in 1960, being the last forward to play in net in an NHL game (in 1960), and being named OHL coach of the year with the Sudbury Wolves in 1976.

In 1977, Toppazzini bought the Belvedere Hotel, now known as the Beef 'n Bird. It is still family owned and operated.

Toppazzini is survived by his second wife, Rosemarie, and children Cheryll, Anthony, Mark, Lino, and stepdaughter Francesca, along with several grandchildren and siblings. He is predeceased by his first wife, Dolly.

“If you asked dad, his biggest accomplishments were his children and grandchildren,” Toppazzini's obituary said. “We grew up in a loving family environment with endless hugs and 'I love yous.' It's not easy to say goodbye, but because he filled our hearts with love, we can say 'So long,' and know he's not far away.”

The family has asked for donations to the Maison Vale Hospice in lieu of flowers.

Posted by Arron Pickard