PDS Hockey Gives back to the Community

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Rahul Bhandaru, Associate Sports Editor

Donning purple and white jerseys, the Princeton Day School ice hockey team stepped on the ice January 23 against Notre Dame with a different aura in the air than usual. Throughout the week leading up to this game, the Panthers ice hockey program had organized events including t-shirt and bake sales to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. CF is a chronic and incurable disease with nearly 200,000 new cases each year and can mostly be found in teens and newborn babies. It affects the lungs by thickening blood cells and mucus, thereby blocking airflow through the body’s respiratory system.

The team came into the season looking to build on a fifteen win season last year, only losing one senior. “With so many of our kids from last year returning this year, we felt good about the way we [could] go out and compete,” explained head coach Scott Bertoli. “As both coaches and teammates, we ask each other to improve over the year. As a group, what we talked about in early November was a prep championship, which is still in play, finishing in the top four in our mid-Atlantic hockey league, and owning 206, meaning beating Hun, beating Lawrenceville, [and] beating Notre Dame.”

Senior co-captain Jack Mascali stated, “We won a few tournaments, and we will play in preps next week and so our goals are still out there even though we haven’t won as many games as we thought we would, we still have a chance to win our championships.” Though it was not one of their goals coming into the season, the cystic fibrosis awareness game injected the team with a new spirit and a new sense of accomplishment. Senior co-captain Gianluca Travia said, “Chuck-a-Puck was actually a big success…We raised $1000 and that was really important.” He later mentioned that all money raised would go to a cystic fibrosis charity.

Though the boys came out of this game with a 9-1 blowout win against Notre Dame, this game meant more to them than just a victory. Perry Roscioli, Assistant Hockey Coach for the past eight years, had his son diagnosed with this ailment from birth, and the players noticed the toll it took on him and his family. “This cause really hits close to home for our hockey team because our assistant coach Perry Roscioli’s son Anthony, who’s 25, suffers from cystic fibrosis…we kind of saw it fit in a way to honor them since they have been so dedicated to making us the best we can be,” answered senior Peter Shannon, the organizer of this event, when asked why the team chose to represent cystic fibrosis. “He works 9-5 jobs and then he comes and coaches us and so we wanted him to know that his work doesn’t go unnoticed and that we really respect him and his dedication to us,” added Gianluca Travia.

This is the first time in PDS history that a team has raised money for a particular cause and they hope that this will pave the way for more fundraising in the near future. The team had wanted to honor their hard-working, dedicated coach and successfully did so, even walking off the rink with a win. With their exceptional team spirit and unity, the boys hockey team brought awareness to cystic fibrosis and made a difference in the community. 

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