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Simpson sets plans after hockey

A native of Toronto, Canada, Rob Simpson plays for the Huntsville Havoc. CONTRIBUTED
A native of Toronto, Canada, Rob Simpson plays for the Huntsville Havoc. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Rob Simpson was destined to play hockey.

He started skating at age 3 and was playing hockey the next year. “I hated when my parents took me out to public skate and would kick and cry when they tried to put skates on me,” Simpson said. “But my dad played hockey professional and my mom played recreationally, and they weren’t going to back down.”

Finally, Simpson watched “The Mighty Ducks” movie. “I fell in love with hockey and the rest is history,” he said. “I played for local rep teams growing up in Toronto, making the jump to Junior A when I turned 18.”

After three years of junior hockey, he entered Elmira College. He played baseball as outfielder and pinch-runner at Elmira College for one year at NCAA Division III level. Simpson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and music. Just before graduation, he signed with Huntsville Havoc.

“Baseball is my favorite sport, aside from hockey, because of the mental and physical challenges. Swinging a baseball bat and taking a slapshot are very similar motions. My skill set and build allow me to be good at both,” Simpson said.

Growing up, Simpson also played lacrosse and soccer. Now in summer, he likes to play golf. “But hockey has always been my main sport,” he said.

Except for college, Simpson lived entirely in Etobicoke, a Toronto suburb. “Etobicoke is similar to Madison. It’s just outside a city’s downtown core, though Toronto is quite a bit larger than Huntsville,” he said.

“People in Madison are very kind. After only a few months, we’ve become regulars at local restaurants and are recognized by our servers and the owners, which doesn’t happen often in a city like Toronto,” Simpson said.

Q & A

Q: What are your favorite restaurants?

A: Humphrey’s. “Nothing here has beaten a Humphrey’s pizza,” Simpson said.  

Q: What are your favorite foods?

A: Pizza.

Q: What are your favorite sports teams? 

A: “As a Toronto native, my favorite sports teams are the Toronto Maple Leafs (hockey), Toronto Blue Jays (baseball) and Toronto Raptors (basketball),” Simpson said. “I was never much of a football fan growing up but, since moving down here, it has been growing. I guess my favorite football team is Alabama. Roll Tide!”

Q: What is your favorite sports memory?

A: “Playing at Elmira College in our home rink, the Domes. The place was always rockin’ and I absolutely loved it there. Plus, Dome Dogs are the best hot dogs on the planet,” he said.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

A: Simpson likes to read psychology books and watch shows on Netflix and HBO. “When I’m done playing hockey, I hope to use my degree in psychology to help people with mental illness,” he said.

“These days in my down time, I’ve been watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ but I’m really just keeping myself distracted until the next season of ‘Game of Thrones’ comes out,” Simpson said. 

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