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Dishing out assists to kids in need

Bridgeport Sound Tigers working to help St. Vincent's special Needs Services and Feroleto Children’s Development Center

Sunday, 12.11.2011 / 9:20 PM / Community
By Jamie Palatini
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Dishing out assists to kids in need
Bridgeport Sound Tigers rookie forward Casey Cizikas currently leads the Sound Tigers in assists.

But his biggest assist of the season didn’t come during a game. In fact, there weren’t even any fans in the stands.

Casey Cizikas and Ty Wishart with Marcello, who steped on the ice for the first time in his life last week. Click image for complete photo gallery.
When Cizikas slid young Marcello in his wheelchair towards the open net at Webster Bank Arena and watched his new friend knock the puck across the goal line, the AHL rookie cheered as if he had scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals.

In Cizikas’ mind, this goal was just as important.

“These kids don’t get a chance to do something like this very often,” Cizikas said. “If I can put a smile on a kid’s face and help them have a great time on the ice.... It’s definitely a very rewarding feeling to help them out.”

Marcello is just one of the many children from St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services that the Sound Tigers have had an impact on this season. Earlier this year, the Sound Tigers announced a partnership with St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services based in Trumbull, Conn., as part of their Paws For A Cause charitable initiative.

The Feroleto Children’s Development Center at St. Vincent’s works with over 80 children every year that have multiple developmental disabilities and special health care needs.

“We’re blessed to have the opportunity to help these kids out,” said Sound Tigers defenseman Ty Wishart. “They go through a lot of struggles that we can’t even begin to comprehend. Those smiles and good times might be tough to come by, so it’s really great to be able to bring that out in them.”

In late October, the entire Sound Tigers team and coaching staff traveled to the Feroleto Center at St. Vincent’s for Sound Tigers Day, where the team met all of the children at the center and signed jerseys which the children had made for each player on the team.

“It was really important for us as a team to head up to St. Vincent’s and meet all of the kids, just a tremendous experience,” said defenseman Ty Wishart. “Not enough can be said for the staff that work with these great kids. To see them get so excited when we came in and to spend some time with them was great.”

The Sound Tigers are holding events throughout the season to raise money for a new state-of-the-art therapeutic pool. Many of the children at the Feroleto Center have limited mobility and rigid muscles due to their conditions. Treatment in a therapeutic pool helps them to relax those muscles, and it’s one of the few times where they can have the sensation of moving freely.

Earlier this past week, Marcello and a few of his fellow classmates had the chance to move freely across the frozen water at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Cizikas and Wishart stayed around after a Sound Tigers practice and brought the children onto the ice for the first time in their lives. In Wishart’s eyes, the experience was just as meaningful for him as it was for the kids.

“I think it’s a great experience for me on a personal level, Wishart explained. “I’m very lucky to play a sport I’ve loved since I was a little kid and continue that as a profession. Not everyone gets that opportunity, and it really puts everything in perspective. We want to give back to the community in every way we can.”

The Sound Tigers biggest fundraiser for St. Vincent’s will be conducted via the team’s Facebook page the rest of the season. The team announced this past week that they will donate $1 for every fan who “likes” the Official Sound Tigers Fan Site on Facebook. If the team reaches 10,000 “likes”, every fan that participated will receive a free ticket to see the team play the Syracuse Crunch on April 6 later this season. Fans can visit facebook.com/soundtigers or head to soundtigers.com for more information.

“This Facebook campaign is an extension of our commitment to working with St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services,” said Sound Tigers president Howard Saffan. “All it takes is a simple click of the mouse to join us in support of a great organization in our community.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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