Local 12-year-old hockey player hits the ice at the ACC



Aaron Brush Aaron Brush2By Ron Giofu


A local 12-year-old got a chance to skate on a rink that very few have the privilege of doing.

Aaron Brush was selected as one of the “ScotiaBank Skaters” and was part of pre-game festivities on the ice at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) in Toronto for an Oct. 17 game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Aaron was entered into the ScotiaBank Skaters draw by mother Nicole. Nicole said she heard of the contest through Facebook then would enter her son daily online with the hopes he would win. She said she was thrilled when she got the news Aaron was selected.

“Oh my God, I was jumping up and down,” she said with a laugh. “I was trying to find someone to tell at work. No one was as excited as I was.”

“I was pretty excited when she came home and told me,” recalled Aaron, who plays for the Amherstburg Stars pee wee major team.

The family drove up to Toronto the day of the game, which was held on a Thursday night, and toured the city for a few hours before heading to the Air Canada Centre. Thanks to the help of friend and town employee Dan Pettypiece, Aaron, his sister Jill and Nicole were able to meet Carolina forward Kevin Westgarth, an Amherstburg native, before the game.

“Kevin wrote in his autograph book, ‘Hey Aaron, I hope I’m as fast as you one day’,” said Nicole.

Aaron said they met his mother Gilda Poitras on the trip up with Nicole adding she was as friendly and accommodating as Kevin.

“The Westgarths were fantastic,” she said.

The family also met Ryan Murphy and saw Eric Staal as well, both of the Hurricanes.

Aaron admitted nerves were a factor but those quickly went away.

“I was pretty nervous at first because of all the people there. Once I got on the ice, I wasn’t nervous anymore,” he said. “I skated around the rink, stood next to the door where the Maple Leafs come out of and stood on their blue line for the national anthems.”

“He got on TV four times,” said Nicole, including a close-up when the camera crews went up and down the blue lines.

The family also received a tour of the ACC while there, he said. They left Toronto the next morning and stopped in St. Thomas where Aaron’s team was part of a tournament.

Nicole added her son also received a ScotiaBank backpack, hat and towel this past week via courier.

Overall, she was happy with the whole adventure.

“It was pretty cool for no real investment,” she said. “It was quite the experience… once in a lifetime.”

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