Zellio Toppazzini

Zellio Louis Peter Toppazzini (January 5, 1930 in Copper Cliff, Ontario – April 1, 2001) was a professional ice hockey player who played 123 games in the National Hockey League. He played with the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Chicago Black Hawks. He was the brother of Jerry Toppazzini who played 11 seasons in the NHL, and the great-uncle of NHL player Justin Williams who is currently with the Los Angeles Kings.

Toppazzini spent most of his career with the American Hockey League Providence Reds. Nicknamed Topper, Toppazzini is the all-time leading scorer in Reds history. During his 12 years sporting the uniform, from 1951 to 1964, he amassed 279 goals, 448 assists and 727 points in 650 regular season games, and another 16–28–44 in playoff action. All are team records.

In 1955–56 the line of Toppazzini, Paul Larivee and Camille Henry spearheaded the Reds to both regular season and Calder Cup championships. Toppazzini earned career highs of 42 goals, 71 assists and 113 points in leading the AHL in scoring and in the playoffs he also added 7–13–20.

In 2000, The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society named Toppazzini its "Player of the Century"; it presents an annual award in his honor.

Toppazzini coached the Providence College hockey team for four seasons from 1964–65 through 1967–68 compiling a 31–60–1 (0.342) record. His best and only winning season behind the PC bench was his first year (1964–65) when the Friars went 14–11–1 (0.558). Toppazzini was replaced by Lou Lamoriello.

By Dean Hanley

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