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$27K raised at Bruins alumni game

Crotched Mountain benefits from annual hockey fundraiser

In front of a crowd of more than 650 people on Feb. 9, the Crotched Mountain Wild, a team of employees and friends of the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, took to the ice against the Boston Bruins Alumni in the fourth annual Bruins Alumni Classic. The game, to benefit Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center’s Accessible Recreation and Sports program, was held at the Sullivan Arena at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

This year’s event raised nearly $27,000 in support of the CMARS program, which brings people with disabilities together with family and friends in a range of accessible recreational and sport activities including skiing, snow­boarding, snowshoeing, cycling, paddling and hiking.

“We are very honored to support the CMARS program, which provides hundreds of sports experiences each year to children and adults with disabilities,” said Rick Middleton, Bruins Alumni captain. “Every time we’ve played the Crotched Mountain Wild it has been a great day on the ice for a great cause.”

“Once again this year, the stands were filled with families and long-time Bruins fans who enjoy watching Bruins’ legends skate the ice against our team. We are very grateful to the fans in attendance, members of the Crotched Mountain Wild and the Boston Bruins Alumni for making this fundraiser a top notch event,” said Geoff Garfinkle, director of accessible recreation and therapeutic services at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center. “Over the past four years, this event has raised $80,000 for the CMARS program, and has enabled Crotched Mountain to purchase specialized adaptive equipment, provide scholarships, add new programs and expand accessible recreation opportunities for people of all abilities in New Hampshire.”

Between periods, players signed autographs, and raffle prizes were awarded, including autographed sports memorabilia, sporting event tickets and a chance to participate in on-ice games between periods.

“For the past four years, the Bruins Alumni have been wonderfully supportive of our CMARS program,” said Donald Shumway, president and CEO of Crotched Mountain Foundation. “Their generosity ensures that more people with disabilities can experience the thrill of racing down a ski slope or the serenity of paddling across a beautiful lake on a hot summer day.”

Prior to the puck drop, Miss New Hampshire 2013 Samantha Russo sang the national anthem and the ConVal High School girls varsity hockey team skated onto the ice with their coach and Wild player, Courtney McKay, in honor of their first year as a varsity team. Crotched Mountain School graduate Joe Gilbert, 20, dropped the ceremonial first puck. Gilbert, who has cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, is a sports buff who roots for Boston-based teams, including the Bruins. He participates in sports and has skied with the CMARS program, gone horseback riding and enjoyed playing in a wheelchair basketball tournament to raise funds for people with disabilities. As a classic rock fan and a movie buff, Gilbert has written arts reviews for the Crotched Mountain School newspaper and has written for the yearbook. He currently works in the school’s media center.

Following the puck drop, the group posed for photos with the Bruins. McKay was in the face-off representing the Wild, and Middleton represented the Bruins.

During the hockey game’s two 30-minute periods, The Crotched Mountain Wild’s hometown team, including co-captains Philip Grisafi and Geoff Garfinkle of Peterborough, as well as McKay, of Bennington, played against Bruins legends Middleton, Bob Beers, Andy Brickley, Reggie Lemelin and Bruce Shoebottom, to name a few. Due to a minor injury, Terry O’Reilly was in attendance as a coach this year.

The Wild’s roster also included players Kit Rautio, Reuben Lyons, Joshua Sipe, Stan Newsham and Mark Leger of Peterborough; Tony Parisi of Bennington; Harry Payne of Antrim; Scott Tucker of Hancock; Leon Watkins of Keene; Tim Hogue of Warner; Parker Wheeler of Francestown; Brent Patterson of Nashua; Michael Potito of Groton, Mass,. and Bryan Hoertdoerfer of Lexington, Mass.

“This is a nice way to help raise money for a good cause and for everybody to have fun at the same time,” said O’Reilly.

The Bruins Alumni play about 30 charitable games per year. They have helped to raise more than $6 million for local charities and youth hockey programs throughout New England and elsewhere.

About CMARS

The CMARS program brings people with disabilities together with family and friends in a range of accessible recreational and sport activities including skiing, snow­boarding, snowshoeing, cycling, paddling and hiking. Crotched Mountain’s Nationally-Certified Recreational Therapists and over 60 trained volunteers provide over 1,400 hours annually of accessible recreation experiences for people of all abilities. All CMARS activities are open to the public and to people of all abilities, including children and adults with developmental disabilities or autism, who have experienced stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury, or who have decreased mobility due to arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy or other conditions. www.crotchedmountain.org/cmars.

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