Esiason heads up Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game at Prudential Center
The combat to get Mikey Nichols returned on his ft is getting more potent each yr. The 22-12 months-vintage who become paralyzed at some point of a high college hockey game five years ago can be at Prudential Center on Friday for the fifth annual Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game to gain spinal wire studies and first-rate-of-existence initiatives, the Nichols Family Trust, and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. What started as a charity sport at Ice World Sports Complex in Middletown, New Jersey, in 2015 has grown so large it’ll be performed at the house of the New Jersey Devils for the second one directly 12 months. “The help from the network of athletics has been nothing quick of simply outstanding,” said Boomer Esiason, former NFL quarterback and cutting-edge co-host of “Boomer and Gio,” a morning display on WFAN, a sports activities-communicate radio station in New York. “To open up the main NHL building just like the Prudential Center, on a Friday night time, for a charity hockey game, is not anything quick of a miracle, mainly on this area.” Esiason and his radio associate Gregg Giannotti will play in the game with Devils alumni, including Patrik Elias, Bryce Salvador, Ken Daneyko, and Bruce Driver.
Rick DiPietro, Mike Komisarek, and Benoit Hogue are among retired NHL players also taking part in conjunction with Michelle Picard, a silver medalist for the United States on the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Will Reeve, son of overdue actor Christopher Reeve who became left quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse at some stage in an equestrian competition. General admission tickets are $25, and company sponsorship applications are available. The first 5,000 lovers will obtain a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a New York Yankees game throughout the 2019 season. Added to the merchandising this year are cards to peer the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer in 2019 and the Devils in 2019-20.
Esiason, who performed 14 NFL seasons as quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals, was at the air with then co-host Craig Carton after they heard approximately a senior forward from Monroe (N.J.) High School had his C5 vertebrae shattered when he turned into checked headfirst into the forums at some point of a sport in opposition to Vernon High School on Jan. Four, 2014. Nichols received an invite to sign up for “Boomer and Carton,” who had been captivated through his spirit, will to survive, and determination to play hockey again. The seeds were planted for the first charity sport. “Because Mikey had so much power and a lot of love for the game of hockey, we simply thought it turned into natural to do something for him,” Esiason said. “We saw the response the first or three years, and it became simply overwhelming.
If anybody has ever talked to Mikey or just listened to him talk about how his hopes and dreams are to get returned on the ice, you want to do anything you possibly can to help him get there.” Once the Devils and their community outreach program got involved and helped Esiason recruit retired NHL gamers, Mikey Strong outgrew Ice World, earned sponsorship from M&Ms, and raised $2 hundred,000 inside the first three years, with Esiason estimating among $50,000 and $60,000 closing year. Exposure also has accelerated with promotion at some stage in Devils home video games and on WFAN. “When the Devils took this over last year, it took it to an entirely different degree,” Esiason said. “JP (special adviser Jonathan Press) and all of us over on the Devils deserve quite a few credit scores for this, for doing it for a (New York Rangers) fan who is worried about a kid who was given hurt in New Jersey. And Mikey has virtually been impetuous for all of this.
“When I see any person like Mikey speak the way he does, it’s no longer difficult to be inspired by his way of him. I wager he embodies the true spirit of the hockey player that he truly is, the hockey participant inner of him, honestly the hockey participant that continues him dwelling and pushing forward to optimistically new heights.” A former Rutgers University defensive tackle, Eric LeGrand, paralyzed all through a game against Army on Oct. 16. 2010, he has regained movement in his shoulders and sensation in the course of his frame. The past-due Dennis Byrd walked once more after the former New York Jets shielding quit changed into paralyzed while playing the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 29, 1992. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier sustained a spinal contusion against the Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017, and did not play in 2018 however jogged Nov. 30, the primary time he’d accomplished something like that because spinal stabilization surgery.
Those are 3 examples of the way the human spirit can paint wonders. Mickey Nichols is pushed to grow to be every other. “You ought to be sensible approximately the damage and have to understand what he is going thru on a everyday basis to overcome this,” Esiason said. “My recognize lies with his mindset. From Mikey Nichols to Eric LeGrand and Ryan Shazier, they feed off each different. I accept as true that at some point, Mikey Nichols will place the one’s skates on, and he will get again out on the ice. Whether or now not he will be scoring anymore, that I don’t know, but I accept as true with it’s in his heart that he’ll do that. And if it’s in his heart, I’m now not ever going to question that.”