In Memoriam: Michael Rosinski

My Devils fandom has a Big Bang moment.

It was December 28, 1991. The Meadowlands Arena, Devils versus Sabres. The Devils won and my family and I were hooked.

There were people behind all of this. Pulling the strings if you will, hockey enablers turning us into Devils fans for life. Inadvertently creating this blog 25 years down the road.

They were neighbors and friends of ours: the Rosinskis.

And two nights ago, the Devils family, and, more importantly, the Rosinski family, lost someone particularly important to them.

That was Michael Rosinski, a son, brother, grandson, uncle. But most importantly to me, a friend. He passed of complications from Covid.

I had not seen Michael for a few years. There are certainly people much better qualified to eulogize his later life. We last met at Patrik Elias’ jersey retirement night.

He was hard to miss, well over six feet tall, and my brother, his fiancée and I talked with him for a few minutes. He was as polite as ever, a true gentle giant. It only made that night at The Rock that much better. To see an old friend on a night honoring a player we grew up watching.

And that is where I can eulogize Michael correctly: childhood.

My brother, sister and I had a wonderful childhood growing up by the Jersey Shore. But Michael, his brother Chris, my brother Matt and myself were not interested in surfing, swimming or hanging out on the boardwalk.

No, our pursuits echoed winter. Sure, we loved all sports and we were competitive, spirited basketball games in the driveway, home run derby between Little League games, soccer, football (the Arctic Bowl – our only game of tackle football during the year’s first snowfall is a story for a whole other post!), golf. You name it, we played and we enjoyed it.

But there was only one sport that truly had our hearts. Hockey.

I would often joke that our neighborhood was a little piece of Canada transplanted to New Jersey. Maybe it should have been a “neighbourhood”?

Everyone played hockey in some form be it organized ice hockey, roller hockey or just having a team to root for. This was during the most heated era of Devils-Rangers, so everyone had a stake – whether they followed hockey on a day-to-day basis or not.

(Just to show the extent of our hockey fandom and a sign of the times. We all collected NHL POGS, almost exclusively! Like trading cards, but in POG form!

This meant that hockey was everywhere. Roller hockey in my family’s driveway all year round, pond hockey when the fickle New Jersey winters would cooperate and, of course, knee hockey.

Knee hockey was just that: us “running” around on our knees in my parent’s carpeted basement smacking a foam rubber ball at each other with makeshift goals and goalie equipment.

The games got competitive, and limited space made things physical. Michael would play goal and he was great with those taped-up, broken souvenir sticks.

There were trips our families took together to Lake Placid, New York. Truly a Mecca for hockey and winter sports fans. Skating, skiing, just taking in a place where the Miracle on Ice happened. It was a frigid paradise for us and we would have it no other way.

There were the hours spent watching hockey videos. Our particular favorites: The Devils 1995 Cup Championship video, the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup video and “Ice Hot” a compilation of great moments in NHL history and then-current highlights.

And before I forget, the Demons. The picture up top is Michael in net for our neighborhood hockey club: The Demons. It’s the thing only creative, hockey obsessed kids could come up with. We ran practices with drills. It was a true brotherhood.

And now one of our brothers have fallen.

On behalf of my family and myself, our condolences to Michael’s mother, grandmother and brother, sister-in-law and nieces. Not to mention his friends and extended family.

I feel this writeup does not entirely pay justice to a great friend, but I really hope it can let those reading know just how much Michael and his family meant to my family. And just how much our lives would be different were it not for December 28, 1991.

Rest in Peace Michael. Your life will live on in the memories of your many friends and loved ones.

Prudential Center to Host 6th Annual Mikey Strong Charity Game

The Devils and the Prudential Center will once again play host to the Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game, the sixth edition of the event “to benefit spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives.” The game will take place March 27 at 7 PM.

The game is two periods and will be hosted by Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti of WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” morning show.

Plenty of former Devils and NHL Alumni will be in attendance including Bruce Driver, Colin White, Marek Zidlicky, Randy Velischek, Jim Dowd, Tommy Albelin and Ken Daneyko according to the press release put out by the Devils.

According to the press release, “proceeds from the game will go to the Nichols Family Trust to provide for [Mike] Nichols’ medical needs, as well as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis. The presenting sponsor, M&M’S, is also returning for a fourth year to help raise awareness for Nichols and his work to elevate the needs of the paralysis community.”

Mike Nichols talked about what the game means to him when he said “The Mikey Strong charity hockey game is an event I look forward to every year. Each year the game continues to grow and I’m extremely grateful for that. I’ve always been a huge hockey fan and a big sports radio fan and seeing my two worlds collide with the common goal of creating a world without wheelchairs is special to me. Hockey is more than just a game. It’s a community of strong, like minded people, who won’t give up.”

Nichols was paralyzed in a varsity hockey game in January 2014 for Monroe Township. He now serves as an ambassador for the Reeve Foundation and the game played in his name has received support from the local hockey and sports community including the Devils and WFAN.

Since the first game six years ago, “over $400,000 has been raised to benefit the Nichols Family Trust and the Reeve Foundation. Funds raised from the Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game will support the advancement of innovative research and the development of life-changing treatments for spinal cord injury. One of the research programs that Nichols has been a strong advocate for is The Big Idea, the Reeve Foundation’s most ambitious scientific endeavor to study the impact of epidural stimulation on individuals who have been completely paralyzed for years.”

General Admission tickets can be bought for $25 at The press release also advises that #MikeyStrong, #JoinReeve, @Prucenter and @ReeveFoundation are the tags to be used in social media posts leading up to the game.

In addition, the doors open at Prudential Center for the game at 6 PM on March 27 and the first 5,000 fans will receive a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a select Devils game during the 2020-21 season and a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a select New York Yankees game in 2020. The game starts at 7 PM.