Former Army hockey standout Richie Sheridan grew up as a fan of the Bruins and all things Boston sports. So you can imagine his excitement about his opportunity to skate against the likes of Rick Middleton and Ray Bourque in a charity hockey game that benefits military families.
The Boston Bruins Alumni team will skate against a West Point Hockey Alumni team on Sunday in Marlborough, Mass. Charity proceeds will go to Fisher House Boston, a housing unit that active and retired military families can use while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at a local medical center. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, online hockey stick sales and donations.
What: Charity hockey game to benefit Fisher House Boston
Who: West Point Hockey Alumni vs. Boston Bruins Alumni Team
When: 1 p.m. EDT Sunday
Where: New England Sports Center, Marlborough, Mass.
More information: FisherHouseBoston.org
Tickets: $20 for adults, $5 for children 12-under. Available at door, and online at: WestPointAOG.org/WPSofNewEngland-AlumniHockeyGame
Hockey stick fundraiser: Until March 28 purchase brand-name composite sticks at prices that are 30-40 percent below the lowest prices on the Internet and Fisher House Boston gets to keep the profits ($4-6 per stick). Purchase at Amplibuy.com.
Sheridan had little trouble organizing a 28-man West Point team, made up of graduates ranging from 1979 to 2010, to play the ex-Bruins. Many of the players had competed on West Point alumni teams that played at the USA Under-30 and Under-40 championships in Tampa, Fla., several years ago.
“To bring together a collection of guys with West Point ties from 1979 to now, to bridge that gap and play together, from different generations, and with everybody kind of having the same mindset should be a lot of fun,” said Sheridan, a 1990 graduate.
The West Point squad will include 13 former team captains, players from 20 different graduating classes, and former Bruins draft pick and current Army assistant coach Zach McKelvie.
Tim Fisher, a 2002 graduate, relished his participation in the USA Hockey event, and said he grinned from ear to ear when Sheridan called him to join this squad.
“If you take any of those class pictures out of the roster, there is some Comedy Central material,” Fisher laughed. “It’s the evolving hairstyles of the West Point academy.”
One thing the West Point graduates will have in common is they were all coached by Rileys. The patriarch, Jack Riley, coached Army from 1950-86, and he was followed behind the bench by sons Rob (1986-04) and Brian (2004-present). Brian Riley plans to be in attendance.
“Always having a Riley there, someone always has a story about Brian or Rob or Jack,” Fisher said. “You know all of them, no matter when you played, and you knew them at a different age. It’s great to hear the stories and connect the dots and hearing about what life was like for an Army hockey player in different times.”
According to its website, the Bruins Alumni team features the likes of Middleton, Bourque, Terry O’Reilly, Reggie Lemelin, Ken Linesman and Al Iafrate among the ranks. The team plays more than 30 charity games per year, and has played for the Fisher House Boston previously.
“There’s never an end to great causes and the Fisher House is another great cause,” Middleton said.
When asked about Fisher House, Middleton said: “It really tugs at your heart strings. They’re doing a great job for the military and it’s something different for us.”
Even with the draw down of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is an ongoing need to help veterans. Dale Kurtz, the president of the West Point Society of New England, likens Fisher House to the well-known Ronald McDonald House Charities. There are 64 Fisher Houses in operation with 25,000 families served in 2014. Nearly 6 million lodging days have been utilized since 1990 with an estimated lodging savings to military families of $292 million.
Sheridan, who served in Bosnia-Herzegovina, says the care for veterans never ends.
“We had one of the doctors speak to our local West Point Society,” Sheridan said. “The numbers that are affected by PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and traumatic brain injury, just being in proximity to an IED [improvised explosive device] exploding nearby, the numbers were staggering, one in four … that’s 200,000-plus. That’s not going to go away. These folks are going to need care, whether that ends up at Mass General [hospital] or a VA [Veterans Administration hospital], that will be a continuing fight, to raise awareness.”
Fisher said this charity game will bring together the best of both of his worlds, hockey and his commitment to the military.
“For me it’s really exciting to just be able to tie your closest of your passions,” he said, “helping out hockey and helping out a support organization that has been tied to something you spent a good portion of your life doing.”
Army Alumni roster
|2||Sean Hennessey||1995||Capt.||Mahopac, N.Y.|
|3||T.J. McMeniman||2000||Capt.||Tewksbury, Mass.|
|4||Mike Landers||1994||1st Lt.||Marlborough, Mass.|
|5||Zach McKelvie||2009||1st Lt.||St. Paul, Minn.|
|6||Darren Clapprood||1998||1st Lt.||Amherst, Mass.|
|7||Seth Beamer||2006||Capt.||Nashua, N.H.|
|8||Brody Howatt||1999||Capt.||Redding, Conn.|
|9||Anthony Felice||1998||1st Lt.||Jamaica, N.Y.|
|11||Mike Symes||1985||Capt.||Wenham, Mass.|
|12||Richie Sheridan||1990||Maj.||Brookline, Mass.|
|13||Mark Stachelski||1995||Maj.||Winchester, Mass.|
|14||Chris O'Connell||1981||Maj.||Winchester, Mass.|
|15||Chris Soucie||1992||Lt. Col.||West Dennis, Mass.|
|16||Ted Moran||1986||Capt.||Newfields, N.H.|
|17||Kevin Keenan||1987||Capt.||Weymouth, Mass.|
|18||Tim Fisher||2002||Capt.||Clinton, N.Y.|
|19||David Yancey||1979||Maj.||Natick, Mass.|
|20||Bob Ness||1986||Capt.||Bemidji, Minn.|
|21||Brooks Chretien||1991||Capt.||Nashua, N.H.|
|22||T.R. Coccaro||1998||1st Lt.||Southport, Conn.|
|23||Ken Rowe||2010||Capt.||Cambridge, Mass.|
|24||Scott Williams||1991||Lt. Col.||St. Cloud, Minn.|
|27||Jon Braga||1991||Col.||Attleboro, Mass.|
|27||Tim Murphy||2002||Maj.||South Boston, Mass.|
|28||Jeff Fearing||2008||Capt.||St. Paul, Minn.|
|30||Scott Boyle||1993||Capt.||Nashua, N.H.|
|Coach||Ed Colazzo||1983||Lt. Col.||Lexington, Mass.|