Travis Roy Foundation Charity Hockey Game Final Played at MSG
NEW YORK –The Travis Roy Foundation charity hockey game ended Thursday at Madison Square Garden, hours before the New York Rangers face the Pittsburgh Penguins. His memory was celebrated with tributes, a surprise and a final skate between teams divided into red and white, with friends and family joining them on the ice after the game.
For the first time, Travis was not present at the match named in his honor as he died on October 29, 2020 at age 45. His presence, however, was immeasurable, with the bittersweet vibe with his foundation ceasing to exist after June 2. It was also joyful with a total fundraising of $1 million for spinal cord injury survivors and research.
In a way, it was closure. In another, a larger picture is being painted.
“A number of these players have come up to me and said, we’re not going to let this stop and we’ll always be here,” said Lee Roy, Travis’ father and an on-ice official for the match. “It’s the people who are here, but it’s also the hockey community. They continue to carry the (memory of) Travis Roy. They hold it high. They are as proud of their accomplishments as we are.”
Lee and Brenda Roy were the rock of Travis during his childhood and the tragedy of seeing the 18-year-old freshman paralyzed 11 seconds into his first shift for Boston University 27 years ago. They were honored at a pre-game ceremony with a surprise all-expenses-paid weekend in New York, including tickets to a theater performance of their choice.
Those who raised or donated a minimum of $3,000 played two 25-minute periods. Each player wore number 24, Travis’s number at Boston University, the teams divided into the red and white school colors.
And with Team Red winning 7-5, this game of the Travis Roy Foundation was concluded. Ten supporters will run the 2022 Boston Marathon on April 18, with a section crossing Commonwealth Avenue where Travis lived. Boston buildings will be lit in BU red and white for the 2022 Boston WIFFLE Ball Challenge tournament at Nickerson Field on June 2 to benefit the Quality of Life Grant Program and Franciscan’s Hospital for Children.
“We felt it,” said event organizer Scott Litner. “His presence was definitely here. It’s always a fun event, but the fact that he couldn’t be here this year was sad. I know he would be proud of all of us, that we raised a million dollars for this foundation over the past five years. I think we have accomplished a lot.
Roy was a freshman for the reigning NCAA National Champions, on the opening night roster at Walter Brown Arena on October 20, 1995. The Travis Roy Foundation was established a year later.
Litner said the fight to raise funds will continue by partnering with various spinal cord foundations in need of help, his way of honoring a friend who helped him cope with the death of his father. , Dr. Richard Litner, of complications from a 2005 accident that left him paralyzed.
“We’re not going to let this end,” Litner said. “We hope to be here again next year and that’s our game plan for the future.
“Everyone wants to step up their game and be able to play at the level of Travis, which none of us can because Travis is frankly better than all of us.”
Travis Roy Foundation terminates request made before his death. He felt like he wanted to come out on top without it faltering because he wasn’t part of it anymore. That’s why fundraising is on, the chosen higher purpose for Travis Roy living forever.
“Thank you for lacing up your skates,” Roy said in a video message played between periods. “Thank you for taking the time to put a check in the mail, supporting my family. I can’t thank you enough for being a part of it.”