Eight year-old William Boss Jr. of New Milford, Conn. stood at center ice at the Ebersole Ice Rink in White Plains on Sunday afternoon, and dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff standing between White Plains FD team captain Rich Servello and Westchester firefighters captain John Veteri.
During Hurricane Irene last August, William was struck in the head by a falling tree limb and was in a coma for six weeks. The Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley helped the 8-year-old during this time and "he's well on his way back," said his dad, William who stood behind him during the faceoff.
The 17th-annual Charity Cup Hockey Game to benefit Ronald McDonald House, which is steps away from Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, got underway shortly after the ceremony pitting the host White Plains Fire Department against the Westchester Firefighters--made up of firefighters from several other county departments.
Servello was on the nozzle yesterday at a house fire on Lafayette Street and noted that, "yesterday we fought a fire that displaced three families and today we're playing for a charity that helps families with sick children."
It was a tough week for Servello, who taped the initials "TR" on his jersey in memory of his cousin, Elmsford Fire Department Lieutenant Tyler Rush who was killed in a motorcycle accident last week.
Serello didn't allow his grief or yesterday's events to interfere with his game as the forward scored the first two goals of the game giving WPFD a quick 2-0 lead in the game.
White Plains defenseman Lt. James Manganello, who was playing in his 15th Charity Cup game, said that firefighters from four departments playing in the game had working fires yesterday in towns including New Rochelle, Yonkers and Fairview.
"The biggest thing about this game today is all four departments had working fires where we put our lives on the line yesterday and today we can come out and support this charity," Manganello said, adding that two White Plains lieutenants injured in yesterday's fire we're treated and released from the hospital--"Thank God for that," he said.
Manganello said that the Fairview Fire Department was staffing a city station while they battled the Lafayette Street fire yesterday, before being called out to the fire in their own district.
The annual event had previously pitted the WPFD against the City's Police Department team but this year there weren't enough police officers still playing to field a competitive team, so the Westchester Firefighters team stepped up.
Money was raised for the event through admission fees, a raffle, and chuck-a-puck contest. White Plains won 7-4.