The Westchester Warriors Hockey club, a group of more than 50 youth players between the ages of 11 and 13, were recognized by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine for raising $100,000 to support Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
The fundraising total was nearly 10 times the amount raised by the Warriors in 2016. The group raised the money during its 2017 spring/summer season to benefit the advanced pediatrics facility.
The Warriors received a video message from LaFontaine and a visit from some of the children's hospital's pediatric cancer patients during a reception at the hospital in Valhalla, New York, on Sept. 20. A conceptual rendering of a newly designed entrance to the pediatric cancer unit was revealed and will be named Westchester Warriors Way.
LaFontaine was proud of how the Warriors represented the Declaration of Principles, which promotes hockey as an enjoyable family experience and recognizes that the sport's greatest role is in the development of character and life skills and how it should be all-inclusive regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.
"Congratulations to the Westchester Warriors for an amazing assist -- $100,000 to help the kids in pediatric cancer care," LaFontaine, the NHL's vice president of hockey development and community affairs and one of the leaders in the creation of the Declaration of Principles, said in the message. "What a wonderful legacy. Your leadership in bringing everybody together and families and parents and kids to exemplify what it means to be a hockey player, and a hockey family and give back."
The Warriors also announced a fundraising goal of $250,000 goal by next year, funds that will help the expansion of the hospital's pediatric cancer and blood disease program.
"We just launched the Declaration of Principles and talked about all the great values, character and life skills the game gives you," LaFontaine said. "It's important to give back and to know that the Westchester Warriors embody all those principles of leadership, hard work, sacrifice and discipline. What a great example of living the Declaration of Principles and bringing them to life."