The “Tops Award” is the most prestigious accolade presented by the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society at its annual reunion of former Reds’ players and is usually presented to one person. This year it will go to two deserving individuals who have contributed greatly to hockey in the manner of the late great Zellio Toppazzini, the Reds all-time leading scorer for whom the honor is named. Rick “Nifty” Middleton and Vincent Cimini will be honored with Tops Awards for 2019 at the Heritage Society’s 19 the annual reunion barbecue in ceremonies at Goddard State Park in Warwick on Sunday, August 4. Middleton played just one season with the R.I. Reds but made it a memorable one, leading the 1973-74 team in scoring and being named AHL’s rookie-of-the-year. That led to 14 seasons in the National Hockey League, 12 of them with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins recently retired his number 16 in recognition of his great scoring ability which included in 493 goals, 595 assists and 1088 points in 1119 NHL regular season and playoff games. After retiring as a player, he has led the Bruins Alumni and its many charitable endeavors and coached the U.S. to the Paralympic (Sled Hockey) Games championship. Cimini’s early involvement with hockey came as a goalie at LaSalle Academy. He joined the Reds public relations staff while still a student at Providence College. President of Cimini & Company, he brought fresh ideas to the board of directors of the R.I. Reds Heritage Society. He is the founding chairman of the joint venture of the Reds Heritage Society and R.I. Hockey Inc. that created the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame and led that new organization to an impressive debut featuring a spectacular inaugural induction in 2018. Three other important honors will be given on the August 4 event: Noel Acciari will receive the RI Native-born Hockey Achievement Award; Ross Brooks the Ray Ross Perseverance Award; and Marge McKenney the McCaffrey Fan-of-the-Year Award. All recipients are expected to be present. The August 4th Goddard State Park event will feature as guest speaker colorful Paul Stewart, former NHL player and official. The program will include onstage introductions of former Reds and other ex professional hockey players, presentations of special awards, a delicious buffet luncheon and memorable music from the good old days of Reds games at the old Rhode Island Auditorium. Admission to the event at Goddard Park is $40 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12 and no charge for ages 6 and under. As part of the reunion weekend celebration, the Reds society will also host its traditional annual dinner-dance at the 12 Acres banquet facility in Smithfield on Saturday night, August 3. Greg Bouris, former communication’s director for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and the MLB Players Association, will be guest speaker. Tickets are $50 per person.
For more information about the two reunion events contact Mal Goldenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-864-6191. Deadline for both events has been extended to July 25. No tickets will be sold at the gate.