Toccalinos donate $60,000 for video scoreboard at Palmerston arena

'This is 100% about giving back': heart transplant recipient James Toccalino

PALMERSTON – To say that James and Cara Toccalino give from the heart is an understatement.

On March 13, Minto councillor Ron Elliott announced at the Palmerston arena that the Toccalinos are donating $60,000 for the purchase of a state-of-the-art video scoreboard for the hockey rink.

Minto facilities manager Greg Mallett described the new scoreboard as a big LED board that, in the future, will also contain a video feed.

“It can be treated just like a score board, but you can also set up images along the right side, like who just scored,” Mallett said.

“Every player’s picture can be put up. Plus, there can be extras like exciting sound effects.”

Asked about ease-of-use Mallett said, “The software is … probably way easier to use than what we have now for a scoreboard.”

He added, “We can have videos of the kids as they skate out onto the ice, plus it can be used for non-ice events, like the big tractor show we are hosting this year, the fall fair, and other events.”

The scoreboard, which measures 14 by 8.5 feet, is expected to arrive in three months.

The old clock will be moved to the opposite end of the rink.

“We don’t know of any other small community of our size in midwestern Ontario that has this kind of capability,” Elliott said.

“It will be just amazing to play hockey here. Just imagine the kids seeing themselves up there. Imagine the figure skaters too.

“And the sound effects – when the kids come out for hockey, we can play Who Let the Dogs Out and Crazy Train.”

Mallett called the addition of the new scoreboard “the next step after the new addition to the arena was completed.

“I’m glad that we could work something out,” he said.

“You always have this wish list in your head, and this is something that the whole community can enjoy.”

“This is an amazing day for Minto,” said Mayor Dave Turton.

“I find it extremely interesting to have people step forward to do something like this.

“Thank you to the Toccalinos for their donation to this beautiful, recently renovated complex.”

Turton also thanked the staff for their “research and coming up with this amazing solution.”

Addressing the Toccalinos, Turton said, “We’re so glad that you made the choice to move from south Wellington to north Wellington.”

The couple moved to Palmerston almost three years ago after living in Fergus and Rockwood.

Asked about his donation, James said, “A big part of this is realizing that life is so short, and wanting to give back and do something.”

On March 14, 2022, he suffered a serious heart attack.

“It was so bad that I had to get a new heart. So I got on the transplant list, and 24 hours later, I got a new heart,” James explained.

“During surgery, I had a stroke as well. This whole year has been a year of recovery and reflection.”

He said doctors told him “most people don’t survive this kind of heart attack …

“Most of them kill you before you hit the ground.”

James said he wants to raise awareness about organ donation.

“Absolutely everyone should sign their organ donor cards,” he said.

“It’s a very selfless thing to do. One person can save up to 35 lives or so.”

James continued, “This is 100% about giving back. I don’t really want recognition. I just hope I can make everyone happy.”

Elliott counts himself among those pleased with the donation, calling it impressive.

“We’re very lucky to have people like this come forward,” said Elliott.

He explained the Toccalinos both joined the Palmerston Lions Club, and when town officials asked them about helping with the new scoreboard, James “just casually said ‘yeah, ok.'”

The town plans to host an open house once the new video scoreboard is up and running, and a permanent sign will be hung under it recognizing the Toccalinos’ contribution.

“Everyone will want to partake in whatever we do at the Palmerston arena once we get this thing,” said Elliott.

“This will put us on the map.”