NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In a tremendous, unanimous display of support for American service members and their families, the Iona Preparatory School hockey program has raised $16,000 in support of Defending the Blue Line.
All 60 students who play on the Gaels’ varsity, junior varsity and modified hockey teams participated in the fundraiser. A giant replica of the $16,000 check will be presented on the ice to Defending the Blue Line officials when Iona Prep squares off against Chaminade at 8:30 Saturday night at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon. Also as part of Military Appreciation Night, the Gaels – whose fundraising efforts began in November and concluded on January 15 – will wear special camouflage jerseys for the game to show support for U.S. troops.
Defending The Blue Line’s mission is to ensure that children of servicemen and servicewomen have the opportunity to play hockey by providing free equipment, hockey camps, special events and financial assistance for registration fees and other associated costs.
“All of our Iona men, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, are called to serve,” said Brother Thomas Leto, president of Iona Preparatory School K-12. “What the members of our hockey program have done is truly remarkable, because they are answering God’s call by aiding the very men and women who serve at the highest level in protecting our way of life.”
“The boys fully embraced the idea of helping those children of deployed service members with their hockey expenses,” said Iona Prep varsity hockey coach Pat Scanlon, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. “Hockey is truly a family sport. We spend a lot of time together on the road and up early in cold rinks; it’s those experiences that draw us to giving back. We have military veterans on our coaching staff, and among the parents in our hockey program, who have all endured the hardship of deployment and family separation. Defending the Blue Line is a tremendous organization that further expands our hockey community and tells those who are deployed that we will be taking care of your children until you have returned from your duty station. It’s an honor to help out those in need as well as honor all those who serve our country.”
The Gaels’ varsity team has won four of its last five games and is 6-4-3 this season. In two previous meetings with Chaminade (9-3-1), Iona Prep lost 7-6 on December 18 and secured a 1-1 tie on January 3.