A local university is announcing their newest recruit of their men’s hockey team.
The men’s hockey team of Mercyhurst University is looking to make an impact in the community and for one little boy.
Mercyhurst University’s division one men’s hockey team has announced their newest recruit, six-year-old Jace Keeley. Keeley was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type one that manifests as a benign brain tumor.
“Jace has a little bit of a medical challenge he faces courageously every single day and this is just something that is going to be so over the moon great for our players and for Jace,” said Rick Gotkin, head coach of the Mercyhurst men’s hockey team.
Jace and his family were brought together with the men’s hockey team with help from a national non-profit called Team Impact. Team Impact matches children between the ages of five and 16 throughout the nation with college athletic programs.
A member of the hockey team introduced the head coach to the non-profit.
“I always feel like being an active part of the community is something good to do and being a division one hockey program here in Erie, the only division one hockey team here in Erie, I thought it would just be good to start an initiative and do good for the community,” said Steven Agriogianis, team member, Mercyhurst University men’s hockey team.
Jace’s father said the players and university have welcomed his son and family with open arms. He said Jace previously played hockey so choosing a team was an easy decision.
“He absolutely loved it so hockey was the sport that he chose and Team Impact reached out to us we told them hey hockey is the sport if we can set him up with the hockey team that would probably make Jace the happiest,” said Sean Keeley, Jace’s father.
The head coach said he is looking forward to having Jace along for the ride this season.
“Jace he’s an inspiration the things he goes through everyday we have no idea what he goes through and just seeing that smiling face and that great energy is just a tremendous tremendous thing for our guys,” Gotkin went on to say.
Agriogianis said he hopes this effort will continue on the Mercyhurst University campus and other campuses in Erie.