Former Northview High School standout Alden Hirschfeld will live out his childhood dream of playing pro hockey, and the forward will do it for his hometown team.
Hirschfeld, who helped lead the Wildcats to the state title game in 2006, signed with the Toledo Walleye on Thursday.
“Obviously I’m very excited about it,” Hirschfeld said. “This is a great opportunity for me to keep playing and developing. There’s no better place to do it than your hometown.”
Hirschfeld said he grew up watching Toledo’s former ECHL team, the Storm.
“You knew who the players were, and I followed the Storm,” he said. “You always dream of playing pro hockey.”
Hirschfeld, a 2006 Northview graduate, went on to a productive career at Miami University. He was a team captain for the RedHawks and helped them to a CCHA championship in 2011. Hirschfeld appeared in 134 games in four seasons with Miami and tallied 70 points. He scored 35 goals and added 35 assists.
After completing his college career in 2012, Hirschfeld signed a contract with Providence of the American Hockey League. He split his first pro season between Providence and its ECHL team, the South Carolina Stingrays. He scored eight goals with eight assists in 55 pro games between the AHL and ECHL.
He played against the Walleye at Huntington Center while with South Carolina last November. Hirschfeld took a team-high three shots in the Stingrays’ 2-1 win over Toledo.
Hirschfeld said Huntington Center is “an unbelievable facility.”
“It's one of the best in the league,” he said. “With their fan base, it’s some of the best support in the league.”
Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said Hirschfeld has good size (6 feet, 1 inch, and 205 pounds) and scoring punch.
“He is a very smart hockey player that collected a lot of experience in his first pro season,” Vitucci said. “He has the ability to play at the next level and will perform well here in Toledo.”
Hirschfeld said he became a free agent after last season. He married Toledo native Lauren Wallace, a 2006 St. Ursula graduate, this summer.
“She works as a nurse at Flower Hospital, and we decided this would be a good opportunity,” he said.
Hirschfeld will reunite with his former high school teammate, Tyler Pilmore. The Walleye signed Pilmore, who played one season at Northview, earlier this summer. Pilmore, who also is a forward, played at Ohio University.
“I know him well,” Hirschfeld said. “We’ve worked out and skated together for years in the summertime. We’re both happy for each other.”
At Northview, Hirschfeld scored two goals in the state championship game, but the Wildcats lost 6-5 to Parma Padua Franciscan in overtime.
Hirschfeld posted 138 goals and 119 assists during his prep career. He still holds the school record for most goals in a season with 64 in 2005-06.
Toledo’s training camp opens Oct. 3. The team’s season opener is Oct. 19 at Fort Wayne. The Walleye home opener is Oct. 26 against Wheeling.
“There will definitely be a large group of people that will come out and support me,” he said. “It will be great to have friends and family come watch me. I’m really looking forward to playing for my hometown team.”
Single game tickets and game plans are on sale at 419-725-WALL or at toledowalleye.com.