Leafs prospect experiences a tragedy, loses his father amid an already tumultuous year

Dean Chaudhry
July 28, 2023  (8:31 PM)

It was announced earlier today that Timo Hirvonen - the father of Leafs prospect, Roni Hirvonen - has passed away at the age of 49. Far too young to go.

Timo Hirvonen played in the Finnish circuit between 1990-91 to 2005-06 for various teams and leagues including Kiekko-Espoo of the SM-liiga - which is the top ranked league in Finland - as well as Blues and SaiPa of the SM-liiga from 1993-94 to 2005-06.
Once his playing career had come to an end, he spent several years coaching in Finland.
In 2007-08 and 2008-09 he became the Assistant Coach for Blues U20 in the U20 SM-liiga, between 2009-10 and 2010-11 he became the Head Coach for Blues U18 in the U18 SM-sarja, and then between 2011-12 and 2012-13 he was promoted to Assistant Coach for the Blues in the SM-liiga.
His coaching career continued as he became the Assistant Coach for the Blues in Liiga for 2 years, had a stint as Head Coach for Blues U20 in 2015-16, before 2 more years at Espoo United in Mestis - the junior circuit in Finland. He took a 4-year hiatus as he returned as an assistant for TPS U20 as his final gig.
For Roni, it has been a rough year to say least, as he struggled with HIFK on loan in the Liiga with 28 points in 57 games, got injured at the Maple Leafs development camp, and has now unfortunately lost his father very young.
After his stint at the development camp, Hirvonen was looking forward to returning back home to Finland and spending time with his father, as the two of them enjoyed fishing - something his father had taught him how to do at a young age.
Roni was drafted in the 2nd round of 2020 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to potentially making the leap to professional hockey in North America this fall for the Toronto Marlies. Of course, he'll need some time to grieve and be with his family before coming back over. Prayers and condolences go out to him and his family during this difficult time.
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