By Michael Muldoon, July 13, 2016
“Sid the Kid” couldn’t make it but Brian Dumoulin, Nick Bonino and Conor Sheary from the Stanley Cup champion Penguins all will be playing Friday (7 p.m. at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena) in the second annual Comm Ave Charity Classic.
Another dazzling array of hockey talent, most with Boston College and Boston University ties, will be playing.
Some of the other players include San Jose Sharks forward John McCarthy of Andover, a St. John’s Prep star who was a co-captain on BU’s 2009 national championship team; also hockey legend Brian Leetch, Stephen Gionta, Jimmy Hayes, Mike Mottau, Shawn McEachern, Jay Pandolfo, Craig Adams, Danny O’Regan and Matt Grzelcyk.
The game was inspired by ALS patients Dick Kelley and Peter Frates. Kelley, a graduate of Andover High and BC, worked for 25 years at BC in the sports information department. Just 48, he lost his 3-year battle to ALS in February of 2014.
Frates, the St. John’s Prep and BC baseball star from Beverly, inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge which swept the country. Frates, 31, and his family have worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness of the horrific disease, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Former BC hockey stars Pat Mullane (BC ‘13) and Andrew Orpik (BC ‘09) founded the charity event last year. It was a huge hit, drawing 3,500 fans and raising over $55,000 for Compassionate Care ALS.
Mullane said, “Dick Kelley was great for me. The life lessons I learned from DK and him taking me under his wing I’ll never forget. The game is a true testament to Pete Frates and Dick Kelley … their impact not only on the ALS community but the BC community. Boston is a very loyal city, it’s loyal to its own.”
Former BC basketball captain Ted Kelley, Dick’s older brother, said, “Dick would be honored at the amount of time and effort put into making this event such a success. Pat Mullane and Andrew Orpik have done an outstanding job. The contribution of all the people, players and support staff, from both Boston College and Boston University, has been overwhelming. Our family is extremely appreciative to have Dick remembered in such a special way.”
One special player is 14-year NHL veteran Craig Adams. His father-in-law, former Mass. Governor Paul Cellucci, succumbed to ALS in 2013. Cellucci graduated from BC and BC Law.
The game bolsters the reputation hockey has for being perhaps the most giving athletes in sports.
Mullane and Orpik say continuing to attract such elite talent has been surprisingly easy.
“The BC guys, they were great,” said Mullane, who added they have collected a ton of impressive items for a raffle-auction at the game. “A lot of guys were texting us in October and November. They’d say, ‘I’m trying to plan my summer and I want to play.’”
The BU players have an additional reason to play as this year’s game will also benefit the Travis Roy Foundation. In 1995, Roy was tragically paralyzed just 11 seconds into his first shift in his Boston University career.
Mullane was asked his most memorable moment from last year.
He said, “Being on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop and Pete Frates was introduced. It was how loud Walter Brown Arena got. I’ll never forget it. Then Andrew and I knew we put together something special.”