The Patriots Challenge is a Tier 1 AAA Youth Hockey Tournament created to honor the heroes and victims of September 11th. The 2012 tournament was played September 7 – 9th at the AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center in Newark NJ. All donations will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and Defending the Blue Line.
Preview Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq3hTxj2a1M
This tournament was the creation of Arnie Mascali, a NJ Rockets team parent, whose brother, FF Joseph Mascali, FDNY Rescue 5 was killed in the attacks.
“As we approached the 10th anniversary last year, we just decided that there may be a special way to explain what happened to the boys,” said Arnie Mascali. “The idea was: Which areas of the country were most impacted by 9-11 most directly. And obviously it was New York for the Trade Center, D.C. for the Pentagon and Flight 93 crashed right outside of Pittsburgh. We thought: Wouldn’t it be special if we brought teams from those three areas together to play highly competitive hockey and also to remember in a special way what happened 10 years earlier. I don’t think the boys really understood what it meant to the country,” said Arnie Mascali. “That was one of the most gratifying things to come out of last year. It just made it easier for parents to have discussions with their children about what this special tournament was about. It opened a dialogue, and I heard from many different parents that the players had really interesting questions about Sept. 11 that maybe they would never have asked.”
Excerpt from UsaHockey.com article, Patriots Challenge Honors Heroes, Victims of 9-11
For Patriots Challenge 2012, five AAA Bantam Minor Teams, New Jersey Rockets, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Team Maryland, Connecticut Wolfpack and Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks, traveled by plane, train, bus and automobile to participate in this special and unique tournament. This weekend would not be the beginning of their involvement with this tournament and its mission. The participating teams were required to select a community service project, e.g., the NJ Rockets organized “Sit-ups for Soldiers”, they got pledges for the number of sit-ups they could do in a set amount of time, the team collectively did 6,000+ sit-ups and raised more than $3,500 to purchase special scarves for our soldiers in Afghanistan. The NJ Rockets also visited the 9/11 Memorial the week preceding the tournament and were struck by the enormity of it. The footprints of the World Trade Towers are represented by two cascading pools, granite engraved with the heroes and victims names, defines the perimeter of the pools which are built on the footprint of the North and South Towers, this educational experience impacted all, further connecting the boys to the mission of the Patriots Challenge. Three of the other teams visited the 9/11 Memorial the weekend of the tournament.
The Patriots Challenge isn’t merely another youth hockey tournament – it’s filled with great meaning, commitment, tribute, a whole lot of heart and spirit. The goal of the tournament is to honor the enduring legacy of 9/11: sacrifice, patriotism and heroism. We remember those first responders who gave their lives so that others could live, and the soldiers that picked up their fight in the months and years afterwards.
Go to the Patriots Challenge Facebook page for more information.
- Trip to the 9/11 Memorial with NJ Rockets the week preceding the Patriots Challenge. Three of the other participating teams also visited the 9/11 Memorial during the tournament weekend.
- NJ Rockets in front of the North Memorial Pool and Freedom Tower.
- NJ Rockets at the South Memorial Pool reflecting over FF Joseph Mascali’s name and memory.
- Color Guard sponsored by Defending the Blue Line
- Ray Sorg, WTC Survivor, and Catherine Mascali, mother of FF Joe Mascali, drop puck of Championship Game/Captains – Zachary Pellegrino, Connecticut Wolfpack, and Cole Edgerton, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Also pictured Jon Sorg and Rich Krivaneck.
- National Anthem/NJ Rockets #29 Will Little
- A member of the color guard acknowledges the crowd before dropping Game 2 puck/Captains – Tanner Palocsik, #12 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Zachary Pellegrino, #17 Connecticut Wolfpack
- Patriots Challenge Organizing Committee: L:R – Hugh Hachmeister (1), Lisa Gallo (2) Patriots Challenge Founder, Arnie Mascali (5), and Jeff Greene (not pictured). Also pictured Jon Sorg, NJ Devils, and Rich Krivanek, Defending the Blue Line.
- Mascali Family Arnold Mascali and family members daughter: Alexandra, son: Jack and wife: Elizabeth
- Rich Krivanek, Defending the Blue Line, and Will Little, #9 NJ Rockets
- Championship Game – Connecticut Wolfpack vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
- Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Team pictured with the Patriots Challenge Cup