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R. I. Reds Heritage Society honors “Unsung High School Hockey Heroes”

Providence, RI (3/2/2012): The R. I. Interscholastic League (RIIL) will hold its 2nd annual “R. I. Reds Hockey Honors Award” presentations – sponsored by the R. I. Reds Heritage Society – starting this weekend during the league’s championship games at Schneider Arena on the Providence College campus

The award categories, which recognize high school hockey’s “Unsung Heroes,” will be presented to three senior girls this Sunday, March 4th at 3:00 p.m. at Schneider. The boys' awards, which this year remarkably includes one girl who competed season-long in the boys’ division, will be made Saturday, March 10th at 3:30 p.m. 

Recognized for their spirited and selfless performances within the girls’ division will be Marissa Golda, goalie for Bay View Academy; Jenna Pari, defense for LaSalle Academy; and Hanna Decelles, forward for North Smithfield High School.

Boys’ division awards will go to Derek Hagopian, goalie for Cranston West High School; T. J. Lynch, a forward at South Kingstown High School; and Susan Cavanagh, one of the state’s very few girls ever to play in the boy’s division, defense for Pilgrim High School.

The three category awards are named in honor of former R. I. Reds’ greats Gil Mayer (goaltender), Ferny Flaman (defense) and Chuck Scherza (forward).

In the planning for nearly six months, the selection committee was made up with representatives from the hockey coaches association, the R. I. Interscholastic League and the R. I. Reds Heritage Society. Criteria for nominations were a player’s contributions to high school hockey; demonstrated acts of sportsmanship, leadership and community involvement; academic performance; talent and ability; challenges coping with personal obstacles and hardships.

“We were not looking necessarily at possible All-Staters or super stars, but more towards unsung heroes,” said Tom Mezzanotte, RIIL’s executive director, in making the announcement. “It is a different approach to honor what you might call a silent MVP.”

Representing the R. I. Reds Heritage Society was board member Rick Scherza. “We were interested in those kids who plug it out every day and contribute to their team because they love the game of hockey.”

Girls’ Division

Gil Mayer Award (Goaltender): Marissa Golda stepped up this year for a team that was hit hard by graduation Marissa did not even make the team her freshman year, but came back and made it as a sophomore and junior with very little playing time. As a senior she volunteered to change position to goal tending to help the team. She helped stabilize Bay View as a consistent performer. Besides her hockey and classroom accomplishments, Marissa works part time and volunteers regularly at the St. John the Baptist Soup Kitchen.

Ferny Flaman Award (Defense): La Salle Academy's Jenna Pari has been best described as a "throwback" defenseman who plays with a great deal of intensity and physical play. Despite employing her aggressive approach, Jenna plays within the rules and is well-respected teammates, competitors, and opposing coaches. She serves as both a co-captain and role model who leads by example. Jenna participates in a number of community service venues such as youth hockey, little league baseball, and the LaSalle Chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD.) A model student, Jenna has earned high honors and high honors with distinction all four years at LaSalle. She is currently working towards obtaining an appointment to one of the United States Service academies.

Chuck Scherza Award (Forward): Hannah Decelles of North Smithfield High School personifies the characteristics of sportsmanship and dedication. She has endured, and overcome the agonies of a painfully serious spinal condition. Hannah recently stated that ". . . Enduring the pain is worth playing the game of hockey." Because of the small squad size, Hannah regularly is on the ice for 75-80 percent of the time. Veteran coach Bill Nangle stated that she is "the backbone" of the team in every way. As an officer of the school's lettermen's club Hannah spends a lot of her personal time on community service projects such as the distribution of Thanksgiving dinners to the community's poor. She also spearheaded a coat and clothing drive for the homeless. Hannah is currently coordinating a team service project to support the Special Olympic Winter Games. She has done these things while taking a rigorous advanced placement and honor class schedule.

Boys’ Division

Gil Mayer Award (Goaltender): When Cranston West's Derek Hagopian tried out as a freshman, there were two all-division calibre goalies already in the program and seven others trying out. He stuck as the third goalie, and now serves as the team's top goal tender. He is among the Rhode Island Interscholastic League's leaders in number of saves, save percentage, goals against in Division I. He has been a consistent honor student and recently received national honors recognition in Italian. One of his family's traditions has been the procurement and delivery of turkeys to South Providence Ministries so they can be distributed to families in need. He also volunteers as a goalie instructor for young players in the Edgewood Youth Hockey Program.

Ferny Flaman Award (Defense): It's not often that a female is chosen to play in the boys varsity division. Susan Cavanagh not only earned a spot on the Pilgrim High School team - she has distinguished herself and proven that she is a gifted athlete. The all-state field hockey player and all-state golfer is in her third year as a regular on the boys’ varsity. As a center on the second line, she also serves on the power play and is a top penalty killer. She is regarded as one of the top defensive players in her division.

Chuck Scherza Award (Forward): Besides being a two-year first team All-Division II player, T.J. Lynch, a forward for South Kingstown High School, has had to work hard to overcome a number of personal and physical obstacles. He is generally regarded as an intense performer who serves as a role model and leader for his teammates; especially the younger players, both athletically and academically.

For further information call 401-247-2666 or e-mail UNH1959@aol.com.

R. I. Reds Heritage Society
P. O. Box 167
Barrington, RI 02806
Telephone and Fax: 401-247-2666
email: webmaster@rireds.org