Sports are often the catalyst for a wide range of emotions. Excitement, anger, disappointment, and awe are often some of the feelings that can arise throughout the course of a given sporting event. There is one emotion, however, that is sometimes forgotten. At least, it can be by those that find themselves on the side of defeat. On Saturday, on the campus of Providence College, that oft-neglected emotion was certainly not lost on anyone in attendance.
That emotion was gratitude.
For the 4th time in as many years, The Light Foundation and The Little Heroes Fund teamed up with the Boston Bruins Alumni for their annual Light Heroes Bruins Alumni Charity Game at Providence College’s Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island. Almost seamlessly, these three great organizations deliver an entertaining and heartwarming family event, while providing the opportunity to see Boston Bruins legends skate with some of the best local RI hockey players.
Simply put, it was an amazing night. Former New England Patriots Pro-Bowler and 3-time Super Bowl Champion Matt Light, in conjunction with Event Organizers Erik Deneault, Dawn Deneault and Bobby Loffredo provided a memorable event, and unquestionably earned the gratitude of all those in attendance, as well as the southern New-England Community.
The Boston Bruins Alumni team featured some of the greatest to ever sport the black and gold. Bruins Legends Jay Miller, Reggie Lemelin, Tommy Songin, and Ken Hodge, Jr. still proved that talent is an ageless quality. As an extra special tribute before the initial puck drop, Light introduced a brief video montage of highlights from Bruins great Rick “Nifty” Middleton. The clip ended with a well-deserved call for Middleton to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, complete with the hashtag #NiftyHOFno16 (which can be used across social media.)
Meanwhile, the Light Heroes demonstrated some pretty impressive skating of their own. The Heroes, led by team captains Loffredo and Deneault (as well as Greg Ventura, Jeremiah Carey, Paul Nadeau, Bobby Murray and many others) held their own with the Bruins Legends for much of the game. The Bruins Alumni would eventually skate to a 12-8 victory. However, in this event, everyone was a winner.
Rock and Shamrocks
While the game action was stellar, the event truly did not disappoint when it came to entertainment. Music students from North Providence, Rhode Island’s School of ROCK displayed impressive musical talent both before and during the game. The musical troupe belted out such great hits as Van Halen’s Jump, Guns N’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep to the delight of those in attendance. It even earned them the praise of Matt Light himself.
In a showing of true inspiration, Massachusetts-based Spaulding Clinical provided adaptive sleds for those with physical challenges to take part in the action on the ice. While proudly wearing the jerseys of the Boston Shamrocks, the participants took part in a ten-minute exhibition. Their combination of athletic skill and perseverance reminded everyone in Schneider Arena that anything is possible, as long as you believe.
A Wish Come True
During the intermission, Light visited a very special guest, Jenna Stoddard, who was there enjoying the game with her mom, Kim. Jenna currently lives with a condition called Chromosome 19 Deletion Disorder, which affects both physical and mental development. Accompanied by A Wish Come True Inc., Light presented this courageous young lady with the news that the organization will be providing her with a home customization that will help to ease some of the burdens of her condition. Jenna will receive a custom-made therapeutic jacuzzi, home safety modifications, and personalized toys, with which Jenna may play ensuring both her fun and safety.
Defining the term ‘Win-Win’
If happiness truly defines success, then one may look no further than the Light Heroes Bruins Alumni Charity Game for validation. According to Event Director, Erik Deneault, the event is sure to have raised in excess of $50k for the charities. In fact, initial estimates indicate that the total could indeed rise from that number. However, in addition to the funds, it has also raised the spirits of those in need, as well as those in a position to give. The smiles on everyone’s faces told the story. From the Bruins Alumni to the Light Heroes to the fans in the Schneider Arena stands, everyone was a winner. Wishes were granted and dreams came true. That is the ultimate win-win. On behalf of everyone who participated or attended, we say ‘thank you.’ (#Gratitude #NiftyHOFno16)
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the NFL and NHL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC