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|Ceremony Highlights; Mazzola Interview ||Watch |
Tony Mazzola, a youth hockey coach from Middletown, N.J.,was named the winner of the second annual Emile Francis Award in a special ceremony between the second and third periods of Tuesday night’s Rangers-Wild game at Madison Square Garden.
|Anthony Mazzola's selfless dedication to helping spread a love for hockey among the young people of Middletown, N.J., earned him the 2009 Emile Francis Award for service to local youth hockey. |
Mazzola, who has spent more than 30 years as a coach and administrator, is known to local youth hockey players as a man who will do anything to help them play the game. Five of the Mazzola’s own players nominated their coach for this year’s award, and they joined him at Tuesday night’s ceremony, where Mazzola received the award from Rangers legend Adam Graves.
Those who nominated Mazzola told stories of his tireless efforts to spread a love for hockey. This included assisting with equipment and financial aid for local youngsters who could not otherwise afford to play the game and even driving these children to the rink to help reduce their transportation costs.
Mazzola’s dedication is so legendary in the Middletown area that he has been known to coach as many as three games at three different venues in the same day. He has also helped to raise more than $150,000 in funding for local high school hockey programs.
One of Mazzola’s current efforts, his involvement with the Mid State Golden Blades girls’ program, enables him to work with his 16-year-old daughter Arielle, a player on the team he coaches. Arielle joined her father at Tuesday’s ceremony along with teammates Jessica Barofski, Nicole Holzefel, Adelle Weiss and Michelle Shames.
Mazzola follows in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural award winner, Christopher Schuler of Staten Island. A new Emile Francis Award trophy, featuring the names of both Schuler and Mazzola, was unveiled at Tuesday’s ceremony.