Forty hockey players took to the ice Wednesday night to raise money for spinal cord injuries. The sixth annual Big Assist Exhibition Hockey Game at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford brought together professional NHL athletes to current and former college players.
"This is my first time," said Jon Landry, AHL Iowa Wild. "So I'm happy to see what it's all about and I've heard great things and I'm just excited to play."
It all started when local athlete Ryan Shannon put together a team event to honor his first hockey coach Obie Harrington-Howes after winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
"When Ryan was five years old, Obie really instilled in him the love for the game," said Pat Shannon. "Seventeen or eighteen years ago Obie was injured in a swimming accident and this activity is to help to support the foundation supports others in Connecticut."
"So many people who get spinal cord injured lose their ability to do their jobs," said Obie Harrington-Howes. "And it can be financially devastating, so we're trying to do a little something to help their quality of life."
Organizers say they hope to raise over $50,000 to benefit the The Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation, which supports people in Connecticut who suffer from spinal injuries. Over the last six years the The Big Assist has raised over $200,000 for the cause.
"I'm just looking forward to having fun and playing some good hockey with a lot of good hockey players and just being surrounded by great people and supporting a great cause," said Craig Wyszomirski, NCAA Merrimack.