CYH families help NY team impacted by Sandy

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It started with a conversation between strangers, family members of opposing hockey team members who were watching their kids face off on an ice rink in Rhode Island in November. Canton Youth Hockey’s Squirt A team was playing the Freeport, New York, Arrows in the Warwick Junior Hockey Thanksgiving Tournament.

Players and coaches of Canton’s Squirt A team

In the stands, Judy Mahan, whose grandson Josh Sunderland plays for Canton, struck up a friendly conversation with Kristine Farsky, the mother of one of the Freeport players. She soon learned from Farsky that the Freeport area had been severely affected by Hurricane Sandy at the end of October, and that the families of the Arrows’ players experienced damage to their homes, with several families being displaced.

Mahan told her daughter, Bethany Sunderland, about the situation, and Sunderland decided to ask the Squirt A families if anyone would like to donate something to the Arrows’ families for the holidays.

“I emailed the parents to see if anyone was interested in donating,” Sunderland said. “The team was really generous. There was 100 percent participation.”

The Canton families donated $700 in gift cards and over $1,500 in food, clothing, books, sports equipment, headphones, and toys. One family donated a few dozen mini hockey sticks.

Once everything was collected, Sunderland called Farsky in New York, but she could not get through because Farsky’s phone service had been lost due to the storm. She then called the team manager, Kim Harrison, to let her know about the donations.

“When I got the phone call, I was completely shocked.” Harrison said. “I was overwhelmed. It really touched home.”

Harrison, whose son plays on the team, added that the decision to have the team play in the Warwick Tournament was to try and show the kids that things would get back to normal.

Farsky was equally touched by the families’ generosity. “It brought a tear to my eye,” she said. “It’s ice hockey. It’s competitive. Everyone wants to win. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who go the extra mile. It was heartwarming.”

Squirt A parents Lee and Janice Bryant took the gifts to New Jersey when they traveled there to spend Christmas with family. On Christmas night Lee and his son, Lucas, met with Harrison to drop off the gifts. The Arrow players and their families live in the New York communities of Freeport, Long Beach, Atlantic Beach, Oceanside, Howard Beach, and Merrick.

“Everybody’s in their homes,” Harrison said. “Repairs are being done. My sheetrock is being put up this weekend.” Farsky said, “We’re doing better. We’ll survive.”

“Thank you to the Canton Squirt A hockey team for your generosity,” said Sunderland. “I am humbled and so grateful to know such a great group of kids and parents.”

Nick Maffeo, president of Canton Youth Hockey, said that he is proud of the families’ generosity. “It was obviously a selfless act,” he said. “The kids learned some valuable lessons about the needs of others.”

The members of the Squirt A team are David Allen, Lucas Bryant, Joe Crowley, James DeLello, Colin Dennison, Sean Duffy, Tommy Ghostlaw, Shane Gunning, Patrick Morrissey, James O’Keeffe, Ronan O’Mahony, Andrew Seymour, Shane Spinale, and Josh Sunderland.

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avatar Posted by on Jan 10 2013. Filed under Sports, Youth Sports.
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