NEWARK — It’s what separates the hockey community from every other sport.
A couple thousand dedicated hockey fans braved a Garden State wintry mix to attend the fourth annual #MikeyStrong game at “The Rock” Friday night in what was yet another smashing success in the drive toward improving the lives of — and ultimately curing — individuals living with paralysis.
In association with WFAN Sports Radio and The Reeve Foundation, a host of former New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders joined NHL alumni from several other clubs and celebrities at the annual event which has become a staple in the Metropolitan ice hockey community.
Grant Marshall scored twice and Tommy Albelin, Jim Dowd, Will Reeve and Marek Zidlicky also found the back of the net as “Team Reeve” defeated “Team Boomer,” 6-3, on March 2 at Prudential Center in Newark.
“Nobody loses in this game, you know what I’m saying?” Boomer Esiason, former NFL quarterback and co-host of the “Boomer and Gio Morning Show,” said. “We’re all competitive, we all have fun, there’s a scoreboard, but what means the most is how much money we’ve raised. And with Mikey here, Will playing and a couple thousand fans, it’s a win.
“It’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Wow, this is really a great thing.'”
Will Reeve, the son of the late Christopher Reeve, echoed Boomer’s sentiments.
“There’s nothing like the hockey community and there’s nothing like a bunch of people pulling in the same direction for a great cause, Reeve, who snapped a 2-2 tie with a goal to begin the second half, said. “And when you get the hockey community, which is so tight-knit and dedicated to itself and each other, and combine that with finding a cure like spinal cord injuries, it’s beyond description.
“It warms my heart to share the ice with a bunch of absolute beauties, guys I grew up idolizing, for the same cause,” Reeve said. “I can’t thanks everyone enough for coming out and supporting.”
Dowd scored the opening goal of the game and Zidlicky doubled it as Team Reeve took a 2-0 lead, but Aaron Asham scored twice to tie it up for Team Boomer in the first half.
The intermission was filled with a number of activities including a shootout for charity by celebrities and Monroe High School hockey players and many other interactive events with fans in attendance.
“This is year four and I’ve been able to play in it three years — it’s a first-class event all the way,” Kevin Westgarth, a Stanley Cup champion with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, said. “With the tremendous support of Boomer and the Devils, it’s always amazing to get together with the guys and the capstone is hear Mikey speak and hang out with him a little bit. That guy inspires all of us.”
Brian Mullen hit for Team Boomer in the second half but Marshall scored his second of the game on a breakaway pass from Bruce Driver as Team Reeve skated to victory.
“We’re one step closer to a world without wheelchairs,” Nichols, a senior forward on the Monroe Township hockey team who fractured his C-5 vertebrae in a high school ice hockey game in 2014, said. “Friday night was a huge success. Despite the weather the place was full of energy. Thank you to everyone who came out. I will not stop until there’s a world without wheelchairs.”
2018 Mikey Strong Game Rosters
New Jersey Devils
# – First – Last – Team
23 Mikey Nichols Falcons
2 Marek Zidlicky Devils
2 Erika Lawler Riveters
5 Colin White Devils
6 Tommy Albelin Devils
11 Jim Dowd Devils
11 Will Reeve MSG
23 Bruce Driver Devils
24 Bryce Salvador Devils
27 Randy Velischek Devils
27 Michelle Picard Riveters
29 Grant Marshall Devils
53 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond Devils
18 Mike Mottau Devils
# First – Last – Team
2 Tom Laidlaw Rangers
4 Rob Scuderi Penguins
7 Boomer Esiason NY Jets
15 Kevin Westgarth Kings
19 Brian Mullen Rangers
20 Steve Webb Islanders
27 Alexei Kovalev Rangers
28 Colton Orr Rangers
39 Rick DiPietro Islanders
45 Aaron Asham Islanders
18 Arda Ocal MSG
55 Bob Plansker MikeyStrong
9 Rob Capone MikeyStrong
10 Steve Dimitri MikeyStrong
98 Aaron Degerness MikeyStrong
15 Graig Mischler Canucks
# – First – Last – Team
40 Scott Clemmensen Devils
18 Jerry Recco WFAN
18 Gregg Giannotti WFAN
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Team Boomer and Team Reeve assemble at center ice for a group photo before the fourth annual MikeyStrong hockey game at Prudential Center in Newark on March 2, 2018. (Tom Smith/TSPImages)
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