Whalers Connect With The Community
Photo - Plymouth's Alex Aleardi and children meet for a group photo June 27 at the Canton Public Library. Lilli Hallanen (sitting) is in the foreground.
Meet Whalers forward Alex Aleardi and you’ll usually see a smile on his face.
Aleardi was smiling on June 27 when he strolled into the Canton Public Library to read to children as part of the library’s “Connect Your Summer” program.
As Aleardi met some 20 children and their parents, they started smiling, too. It’s not always easy to hold attention of a group of children from the ages of 3-10, but Aleardi did as he read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff and then switched to Dr. Suess.
After reading, Alex suggested a group photo, and the children moved around him quickly, except for one little girl.
Although she was as quiet and reserved as a three-year-old can be, Lilli Hallanen of Canton did not want to participate in a group photo. To her credit, Lilli did not cry or whine. She finally joined the group photo, but with a great deal of reluctance (see photo).
Lilli came to the library hoping to see her friend, Tom Wilson, who is back home Toronto during the off-season. Nothing against Aleardi, but Lilli was hoping to re-connect with Wilson.
Lilli is part of the Whalers Extended Family.
During the season, Wilson lives in Canton with land-parents Phil and Leslie McLees. Lilli lives with her parents three houses away and stays with the McLees’ during the day.
Lilli doesn’t care that Wilson is a power forward for the Whalers, an up-and-coming player who is capable of delivering heavy body checks, dropping the gloves or scoring goals.
She sees another side of the second-year forward.
“Tom’s like a big brother to Lilli,” said Leslie McLees. “When Tom moved into our house after Christmas, he was hurt. It’s hard to for us to picture Tom as a big, tough guy who fights. He’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Tom and Lilli play together all the time. I explained to Lilli that we were going to meet Alex at the library, but she had her heart set on seeing Tom again.”
Meanwhile, the Whalers will be reading again at the Canton Public Library on Thurs. July 14 at 11am and Fri. July 29 at 2pm.
And Lilli and Tom will renew play time later this summer at the start of Whalers Training Camp.
HAVE A BLAST WITH THE WHALERS: The Whalers will be participating in the Fourth of July Parade in Plymouth at 9am and then move over to the Northville parade at 10am. Austin Levi, RJ Mahalak, Matt Mahalak and Whalers staff will be on hand to pass out Whalers ticket coupons, candy, stickers, tattoos and summer wristbands.
The Whalers will be driving two Spirit of Liberty Jeeps, courtesy of the Monroe Dodge Jeep SuperStore.