It's not all that rare for players to cheer each other on via social media, but it is rare for baby pictures to be attached to the tweet. In the case of Brendan Leipsic, his long history with an old family friend cropped up in an unexpected way before his Leafs debut tonight.

Called up to take the place of injured Josh Leivo, Leipsic has spent the last two seasons with the Toronto Marlies. In 47 games played in the AHL this season, he's scored 14 goals and made 20 assists, and fulfilled the role of a chippy smaller guy (at a reported 5'10) who's "tough to play against," spending a fair bit of time in the penalty box.

You can totally see the chippiness in this picture of young Leipsic:

Leipsic's connection to Teemu began in the early 1990s, when they were both in Winnipeg. Leipsic's mother made friends with Sirpa Selanne at the gym, and the families spent a great deal of time together. When Leipsic developed an interest in hockey, he had a handy mentor to talk to about the game.

"It was really cool being able to talk to and skate with someone as good as him (Selanne)," Leipsic said to Yahoo Sports. "He's been a big influence on me. I was able to learn a lot from him growing up and see what it takes to get to the NHL."

But did Leipsic eat a huge bowl of pasta before tonight's game, just like his younger self?