Roni Hirvonen returned to game action for first time since eye injury
Photo credit: NHL

Leafs prospect makes shocking return following career threatening injury

Published January 29, 2024 at 9:47
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

After spending four years in the top Finnish league, SM-liiga, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Roni Hirvonen made his way to North America for this season. Unfortunately for Hirvonen, he was dealt a rough hand to begin his professional career in North America. First, he suffered a concussion at Leafs development camp and then upon his return, suffered a devastating eye injury in a game against the Utica Comets on October 15th.

Many were unsure if Hirvonen would ever be able to return to the ice in a playing capacity after the injury, but the same was said for former Leaf Bryan Berard, who defied the odds after losing vision in his eye. According to Toronto Marlies reporter Nick Barden, when Hirvonen's eye injury occurred, it was so severe that he had to be rushed to the hospital after leaving the ice.

Two and a half months later, Hirvonen took to the ice for the first time since, prior to a Marlies practice where he did some light puck work. A month later, Hirvonen miraculously made his AHL return last night.

The 2020 second-round pick was immediately slotted onto the Marlies' top line with Logan Shaw and Nick Abruzzese, which gives you a pretty good indication how much the organization values what he brings to the table. He made an impact right away as he set up Shaw for a goal in the first period.



While the Marlies lost in overtime, Hirvonen's return overshadowed the loss in the Marlies room with those who spoke to the media. His teammates were thrilled about his return to the lineup. Hirvonen will look to build on a successful return to the lineup and hopefully his injury issues are behind him for the rest of the season so he can really begin to pick up some steam and continue on with his development.

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January 29   |   296 answers
Leafs prospect makes shocking return following career threatening injury

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