Before Patrick Carr passed away at the all-too early age of 11, he left a lasting impression on Shane Prince.
Carr was an aspiring young hockey player who trained with Prince and his father at Prince’s hockey camp in Rochester, New York. He suffered from Neuroblastoma, a form of cancer commonly found in the adrenal glands, but never let his condition get in the way of his passion for playing hockey.
“He would go to chemo in the morning and most kids would be out of commission for a day or two, but he’d show up for practice an hour later,” Prince said. “He wouldn’t let his mom keep him home and it was just amazing. He didn’t want anyone else to know what he was going through. He just wanted to be a kid and he loved the game more than anyone I’ve met.”
Seeing what Carr went through every day just to lace up his skates inspired Prince and he wanted to do something for the young hockey player. Prince and his dad planned the now-annual Beach Hockey Classic, a day of hockey on the beaches of Lake Ontario, with the proceeds going to Carr. The 34-team tournament fills up six months in advance and the community just comes out to watch, raise money and show their support. This year's tournament took place on July 9.
Perhaps you’ve also seen Prince’s Sandley Cup, the homemade trophy given to the winner of the Beach Hockey Classic. It’s now the Patrick Carr Memorial Sandley Cup, because while Carr sadly lost his battle with cancer before the first tournament, Prince is carrying on his legacy – and it goes much further than a trophy.
“Unfortunately he passed away the week before the tournament and all the proceeds still went to his charity,” Prince said. “Going forward, all the benefits and proceeds go to the Golisano Children’s Hospital which is a local children’s hospital that Patrick went to and what we’re doing is we bought a room there and we used the money to fund the room.”
It’s a playroom for the kids who are currently there. This year’s tournament alone raised $20K, but that’s only a fifth of the way to the goal for Prince. He’s not just cutting a check either. The 23-year-old dropped by the hospital before the tournament to check in on the kids and break up the monotony of being hospital-bound in the summer.
“I went to the hospital the day before the event just to visit some of the kids that were going through tough times and get to know some of them a little bit,” he said. “They enjoyed it. It can get boring in there I’m sure just sitting there, so to have something a little change in your day to come in and say hi, just try to brighten their day.”
He’s blown away by the amount of support his tournament and cause has generated in the community. They’ve raised another $15K in fundraisers for the hospital playroom and are well on their way to their goal.
And it all traces back to a passionate young hockey player that Prince won’t soon forget.