Pro, local hockey players join forces to raise funds

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Manchester, VT, United States (4E Sports) – Sixteen professional hockey players, led by Washington Capitals forward Mathieu Perreault, have joined forces with 14 local players in an exhibition game to raise fund for two cause-oriented groups.

“I know the players and the hockey community was really moved and excited about this,” said Ron Marcellus, who organized the event together with NHL scout Keith Sullivan. “From what we are hearing, the players want to come back. So maybe, we could have another event. I think all of us would like to see that.”

More than 200 people watched as Team Grey defeated Team Blue, 14-7, in the Pro-Am Hockey Fundraiser at Riley Rink Saturday to raise fund for Bennington Autism Task Force and the Rink’s Jonathan Levin Scholarship Fund.

“The pace was really quick, I was not expecting it to be that fast,” said NHL player Greg Mauldin, who played for Team Grey. “I thought, ‘oh, we are going to go out here and have some fun,’ next thing you know, guys are coming a little bit harder than I thought. It was fun.”

Team Grey featured Perreault, Mauldin, 13-year NHL veteran Jaroslav Modry, Div. I NCAA hockey standouts Matt White and Will O’Neill, Canadian college player Alexandre Labonte, and professional players Corey Milan and Nick Kuiper, as well as locals Sandy Sumner, Sam Leech, Jim Most, Marcellus, Connor Leggett and Jay Leech.

“Us locals were just kind of awestruck at how fast the pace was,” said Marcellus. “I was sitting next to a guy who has played 800 games in the NHL, it was pretty impressive. Definitely a level of play not a lot of local guys have seen.”

Team Blue featured NHL player Stephen Gionta, AHL players Barry Goers, Graham Mink, and Andre Bouvet-Morrissette, former UVM standout Martin Wilde, Austrian-based pro Marc-Andre Dorion, Middlebury assistant coach Mason Graddock, and Castleton State College player Brett Zeggil, as well as local players Connor Stewart, Paul Barci, Sooner Dawson, Bob Wendell, John Sisters, Dennis Gallagher, Jim Thibodeau, and Mark Tashjian.

“It was amazing, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” said Leech. “It was a tremendous success.”

Perreault scored four goals while Mauldin and Mink each had two goals. Team Grey ran away in the win in the third period, outscoring Team Blue 6-0 in the final frame.

“Anytime you can raise money for a good cause, it’s pretty important to come out,” said Mauldin. “If my name can bring someone out and bring some money in, that would be great.”

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