While the majority of the hockey world’s attention is turned to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Devils alumni and a current player took some time for a good cause. The Devils hosted “Special Hockey Day” at the Prudential Center, giving special needs hockey players a chance to skate on the NHL rink with Devils greats of the past and a star of the current era.
Among the 130 players, according to an article by Jane Havsy and published on the front page of today’s Asbury Park Press sports section, were athletes from the Brick Stars, the Woodbridge Warriors, the New Jersey Avalanche and the New Jersey Dare Devils. On hand to lend their expertise were former Devils’ captain Bruce Driver, 2003 playoff hero Grant Marshall and “Mr. Devil” himself Ken Daneyko. Also lending his time was current Devils right winger Kyle Palmieri, whose cousin, Andrew DePiero, according to Havsy, plays for the Dare Devils.
The kids got to practice and scrimmage on the Prudential Center’s main rink, getting instruction from the Devils alumni and Palmieri along the way. Havsy quoted Palmieri (in reference to his cousin) saying: “It’s a work day for them, he’s part of the game that, at my level, gets lost in the fans and the media and how important every game is. In the end, it’s a game. That’s what you see in the smiles on those kids’ faces.”
The kids also got to spend time with Devils’ mascot NJ Devil and participated in drills with their coaches.
It is always nice to see the Devils reach out to the community and they have never done more than they are doing now. Giving back to kids and the surrounding area is how you make new fans for life, but more importantly, you enrich the lives of those who participate.