Saturday, April 17, 2010

Matt Brown Charity Game Article

Hi all.  So sorry for being invisible.  Trust me, this lack of a computer thing is brutal.  It will all be over soon.

In the meantime, please have a read of this article that I wrote on the Matt Brown Charity Game, played last Saturday in Bridgeport.  My friend Paul Silverfarb, Sports Editor at the Greenwich Post, got Sean and I credentials to attend the game, and the Sound Tigers matchup that night.  Another friend, Phil Giubileo, "voice" of the Sound Tigers, invited us to visit him in the booth to say hello.  We also hung out with many good people, from Richie and Rit Spazzano to Ricky Piper, to Kelly, Dawn, and everyone else.  Plus we spent the majority of the day with my good friend, Chris Kaelin and his family (or at least a portion of his family).

Good times, great cause.

The link that contains the article will eventually go away, so I've posted the text of the article below (and was Paul was kind to edit very little of it).  Pictures from that day, and Opening Day of Sean's baseball season, are here.

Greenwich ice hockey shows support for Brown

Matt Brown couldn’t have scripted it any better.

One team was trailing 4-3 with under a minute to go. The losing team pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and they found the back of the net, ending the game in a 4-4 tie.

Unfortunately, Brown couldn’t be at the game, which was played in his honor at the Arena at Harbor yard in Bridgeport, home of the AHL’s Sound Tigers.

The left wing from Norwood, Mass., who turned 16 years old on Sunday, is in an Atlanta hospital, recovering from an on-ice hit in a January game that left him with injured third and fourth cervical vertebrae, and his story has had a profound impact on the Greenwich High School boys varsity hockey team.

The Cardinals began raising money for Brown’s medical expenses during the winter sports season, culminating in the charity game this past Saturday in Bridgeport.

The Sound Tigers, an affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders, donated the ice time and proceeds from ticket sales to the Matt Brown recovery effort, to assist in paying the multitude of medical bills for Brown. In total, the Cardinals and their supporters raised approximately $20,000.

“I went to college with Mike Brown, Matt’s father,” said Peter McHugh, a longtime friend of the Brown family. “We all have kids this age. It’s a tragedy and you’re just dying to do something, give something back.”

The game featured members and guests of the Greenwich High School Cardinals against coaches and guests of the Greenwich Blues. The Cardinals were coached by Richie Spezzano, father of last season’s tri-captain Rit Spezzano, along with Chris Kaelin of WGCH Radio.

The Blues were led by McHugh. McHugh and the Spezzanos spearheaded the effort to raise money for Brown.

“I thought it was a great game,” McHugh said. “Tying it up at the end like that, us old guys, that was pretty fun.”

Mike Silva’s goal with 25 seconds to play earned the Blues the tie in a game in which individual accomplishments mattered very little. All players wore jerseys with the number three on the back, which was Brown’s number with the Norwood Mustangs. Those jerseys, instead of the traditional colors of either the Blues or Cardinals, were blue for the Cardinals and white for the Blues. The scoreboard inside the Arena at Harbor Yard listed the teams as “Matt” and “Brown.” Yet even in this game, there was controversy — albeit jokingly.

“That goal should have been called back,” said Cardinals net minder Ricky Piper of Silva’s tying tally. “He (McHugh) was all over me in the crease.”

Still it was all in good fun, as teams helped raise money for a good cause.

“It was a wonderful experience to be on the ice, and an honor to be there for such a great cause,” added Kaelin.

“The game should have ended in a 3-3 tie,” Richie Spezzano said. “That would have been fitting. I hope to meet Matt Brown personally when he walks out of the hospital in Atlanta.”

Brown would probably enjoy that—a chance to meet his new friends for the first time from Greenwich.

Rob Adams is the sports director of WGCH Radio in Greenwich and both he and his son Sean were honorary coaches for the Cardinals on Saturday.

No comments: