James Chirico, an honors student and senior at Iona Prep High School in New Rochelle, has raised $1,000 for special needs hockey players through a used hockey equipment drive he created.
Throughout the entirety of his junior year, James collected gently used and outgrown hockey equipment for the benefit of the special needs hockey players of the New York Raptors, a non-profit organization and special needs hockey team. James approached two hockey equipment pro shops, Pure Hockey in New Rochelle and xHockey Pro Shop in Elmsford, and his high school and enlisted their help by setting up donation bins to act as drop-off locations to generate support and awareness for his equipment drive.
James collected over 500 pieces of donated hockey equipment consisting of sticks, gloves, pants, skates and pads which filled up the basement in his home. Raptor players were offered the opportunity to take any of the collected gear for their own use. The remaining gear was sold to a used hockey equipment broker, Eric Fanelli of Fanelli Hockey, and James raised $1,000 for the New York Raptors. See attached photo featuring James Chirico Iona Prep student (right), Joe Lopane, President of the NY Raptors (left) and his son Nathan (middle).
The NY Raptors is an organization that focuses on helping people with special needs through the teamwork and physical and mental skills needed for ice hockey. James says, “I chose to work with the NY Raptors not only because I like hockey and volunteer as a coach and a referee for them, but because I have two younger special needs cousins who I am close to. Hockey has been very important to me growing up so I wanted to give back to the sport. It has taught me about teamwork. I wanted to help families whose children want to play hockey, but don’t have the necessary means.”