The atmosphere was electric as the puck dropped in the gym of the Henry Viscardi School (HVS) at The Viscardi Center on August 3, 2023. The space was transformed into an adaptive floor hockey rink when the Viscardi Alumni welcomed a team made up of Islanders staff and two of their own alumni players, Pat Flatley and Radek Martinek. The two teams came together for a friendly, competitive game of adaptive hockey spearheaded by HVS alum, Todd Decker.
Todd declared, “Hockey Night at Viscardi was great! It was nice to be back in the gym for a hockey game again.” Todd wasn’t the only one who felt that way, as Team Viscardi drew alumni who graduated in 2022 and throughout the decades. Chris Alvarez, Class of 2016, put the first goal in the net for the home team to tie the game before the end of period one.
For the past 47 years, The Viscardi Center and the New York Islanders have had a close relationship. Viscardi alum, Clinton Brown echoed how special the bond between the two organizations has been over the decades, “Our partnership turned into a friendship with the New York Islanders and is also a big part of our storied traditions here.” Playing hockey games in the gym against Islanders players is often recalled by students, past and present, as some of their favorite school days activities.
Sparky, the Islanders’ beloved mascot was on the sidelines offering his team support and even joined the action as goalie for a portion of the game. A competitive game that seesawed back and forth and was tied up often throughout the three periods, ended with a final score of 4 to 3, in favor of the Viscardi alumni. Viscardi’s goalie, Frankie Roberto displayed his athleticism when he stopped not one, but two shots on goal with less than :20 left in the game.
A special presentation of the Cougars Cup was awarded to Viscardi at the end of the evening. The Cup will be prominently displayed in the Henry Viscardi School. It was a great time had by all and both teams are looking forward to making it an annual competition.
The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations based in Albertson, NY, provides a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities. Its programs and services include Pre-K through High School education (to age 21), school-to-work transition services, vocational training and job placement, digital accessibility services, entrepreneurship, veteran employment, and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses.