‘He can simply be a child’: Guelph Want Fund helps make teen’s Leafs dream come true

Mason Zammit, 15, joins star Toronto Maple Leaf defender Morgan Rielly in the team’s dressing room Jan. 7. Zammit and his parents were with the Leafs for the day, thanks to the Guelph Wish Fund for Children.

  • A highlight of the day for Mason Zammit was getting to meet his favourite player, Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews.

Leafs fan Mason Zammit’s wish came true.

The 15-year-old Guelphite, along with parents Shelley and Jeff, was whisked away to Toronto Jan. 7 to take in the team’s practice before heading off to Scotiabank Arena to see the Leafs play against the Detroit Red Wings.

“He’s always liked the Leafs and we usually watch them in the winter when they’re on,” Shelley told the Mercury Tribune Sunday morning.

And it wasn’t just the action on the ice Mason was able to check out. He also met his favourite player, Auston Matthews, along with defender Morgan Rielly and head coach Sheldon Keefe, ahead of the game.

“He was a little shaky, so overwhelmed,” Shelley said of Mason’s reaction to meeting Matthews, who would notch an assist on the first of four Leaf goals of the evening, in a 4-1 victory.

“A lot of emotions going on.”

Mason’s once-in-a-lifetime experience was put together by the Guelph Wish Fund for Children, an experience Shelley is ever grateful for.

“It’s nice to be able to get away from some of the challenges (he has), and he can just be a kid.”

The Guelph Wish Fund for Children was founded in 1984 by Ron Asselstine, a linesman in the NHL at the time, and the late Guelph Mercury reporter Alan Ferris. The first wish was granted the following year.

In the nearly four decades since, the non-profit has helped grant wishes for more than 440 children.

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