Santini Off to Blues Camp

Former John F. Kennedy Catholic student-athlete Steven Santini will be in camp with the St. Louis Blues.

Camp opens Thursday with the first preseason game scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24 against the Arizona Coyotes in Wichita, Kan.

Santini is one of 18 defenseman in Blues camp.

The 27 year old played in one playoff game with the Blues in 2021-2022 against the Minnesota Wild. Last season, he finished with two goals and 16 assists in 66 games and one goal and four assists in 18 playoff games for the Springfield Thunderbirds, the AHL-affiliate of the Blues.

A second-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2013, Santini played four seasons with the Devils before being traded to the Nashville Predators in the P.K. Subban trade prior to the 2019-2020 season.

Santini, who played at Boston College, was signed as a free agent by the Blues in 2020 and finished with an assist in three games for St. Louis in 2020-2021.

Santini on Blues Playoff Roster

Steven Santini is playing for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL Playoffs.

Santini, who attended John F. Kennedy Catholic Prep, joined the team for the playoffs and was in uniform for his team’s 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in the fourth game of a best-of-seven series on Sunday.  The series is tied at 2-2.

Santini, a second-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2013 NHL Draft out of Boston College, has played for the Devils and Nashville Predators before joining the Blue organization in 2020. 

The 27 year old had two goals and 16 assists in 66 games in 2021-2022 for the Springfield Thunderbirds, the AHL affiliate of the Blues.

Santini’s grandfather, Bob, coached at Mount St. MIchael Academy in the Bronx and was the founder of the Catholic High School Hockey League. His father, Steve, played at Mount St. Michael and the University of Maine before coaching at Kennedy Catholic.

Click here to read a Catholic New York story on Santini.

Rangers to Honor Gilbert

The New York Rangers announced Thursday they will honor Rod Gilbert throughout the 2021-2022 season.

On Oct. 14, the Rangers open the season against the Dallas Stars and it’s the 42nd anniversary of the night Gilbert’s No. 7 was the first number retired by the Rangers. The Rangers will wear the white warm-up jerseys worn in the 1960s and 1970s with Gilbert’s name and the No. 7 on the back during pregame warmups, and each Rangers player will sign the jersey they wore, which will be auctioned to support the Garden of Dreams Foundation, one of the many charities Gilbert supported. 

In addition, the Rangers will wear a No. 7 patch on their jerseys throughout the season, and later in the season will present the first annual Rod Gilbert Mr. Ranger Award to the Rangers player “who best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice, and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”

Gilbert, known as Mr. Ranger, died Aug. 19 at the age of 80. His Funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 8 at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Manhattan.

Rangers Great, Rod Gilbert, Dies at 80

Rod Gilbert, the NewYork Rangers all-time leading scorer known as Mr. Ranger, died Sunday at the age of 80.

Born and raised Catholic in the Canadian province of Quebec, Gilbert was honored in 2013 with the John V. Mara Sportsmanship Award at the 77th annual CYO Club of Champions Dinner in 2013. In 2018, he attended the CYO dinner where former Rangers goalie Mike Richter received the Mara Sportsmanship Award. Also in 2018, Gilbert was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Rusty Staub’s Memorial Mass that also was attended by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, former Mets owner Jeff Wilpon and Mets television analyst and former pitcher Ron Darling, former Mets manager and player Bobby Valentine, and former Mets John Franco and Lee Mazzilli.

“Growing up in a Catholic household, saying the Rosary once a week with my mom and going to Mass was part of my childhood and something that just to this day has remained with me,” Gilbert said at the 2013 dinner.

“When I came to New York, I came with my friend Frank Gifford (a former New York Giants star, a National Football League Hall of Famer and the 1963 recipient of the CYO Club of Champions John V. Mara award) to a CYO event and ever since then I’ve remained close to the organization,” Gilbert added. “The CYO represents a lot of good and I’m proud to be here tonight.”

Gilbert played all 18 of his NHL seasons with the Rangers, finishing with team records of 406 goals and 1021 points. His 615 assists are second to Brian Leetch’s 741.

Gilbert’s No. 7 was the first number retired by the Rangers. The eight-time NHL All-Star was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

“Everyone in the Rangers organization mourns the loss of a true New York icon,” said Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury in a release from the team. “Rod’s remarkable talent and zest for life personified this city and endeared him to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike. Growing up a young Rangers fan, one of the first names I ever heard about was Rod Gilbert – he was synonymous with Rangers hockey. It was an incredible privilege to get to know Rod. His passion and dedication to the Rangers will forever be a source of inspiration for me.”

Gilbert is survived by his wife, Judy; his children, Chantal, Justin, Holly, and Brooke; his grandchildren, Arielle, Owen, Kaya, Jordyn, Lila, Logan, and Damon; and his siblings, Jean Marie and André.

NHL Defenseman Shattenkirk Visits Iona Prep with Stanley Cup

Kevin Shattenkirk of the Anaheim Ducks visited Iona Prep’s Lower School with the Stanley Cup on Saturday.

Shattenkirk, a 2003 graduate of Iona Prep’s Lower School, was a member of the 2020 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Stanley Cup champions were unable to take the cup on family visits and to their hometowns. 

The Lightning repeated as Stanley Cup Champions in 2021.

Shattenkirk was greeted at Iona Prep’s Lower School by members of the Iona Prep hockey program; Iona Prep School President Brother Thomas Leto, C.F.C.; Iona Prep’s Lower School Principal Deirdre Mone; and fellow alumni.

Shattenkirk’s mother, Barbara Shattenkirk, is a longtime teacher at Iona Prep.


Companions in Courage Hosting Run

The Runner’s Edge Main Street Mile is scheduled for Aug. 31 in Farmingdale on Long Island.

The event will benefit Companions in Courage Foundation, started in 1997 by NHL Hall of Famer and former Ranger and Islander Pat LaFontaine. The foundation constructs interactive playrooms at hospitals in North America, including some hospitals in the archdiocese.

LaFontaine was one of the athletes chosen to participate in the first global conference of faith and sport at the Vatican in 2016.

Click here for more information.


Santini, Devils Preparing for Season

Steven Santini and the New Jersey Devils report to camp Sept. 11 and begin preseason workouts the next day.

Santini, a graduate of John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, signed a three-year, $4.25 million contract with the Devils in August. He will earn $1.1 million in the 2018-2019 season.

A second-round pick of the Devils in 2016, Santini split time with the Devils and their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton last season. He finished with two goals and eight assists with the Devils, who were 21-8-7 in games with Santini in the lineup.

The Devils will play their first two preseason games on Sept. 17 when they host the New York Rangers and travel to Montreal to play the Canadiens.

Interview with Mike Richter

I recently had a few minutes to chat with Mike Richter at the 82nd Annual CYO Club of Champions Tribute in Manhattan.

Richter, the goalie for the 1994 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers, received the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year Award from New York Giants co-owner John Mara.

A story on the CYO Club of Champions Tribute, including the impact of playing CYO football on Richter, will be in the June 21 Catholic New York.

Here is a little more of what Richter said.

On the direction the New York Rangers are heading

They are great in goal and have great fundamentals in their organization. They have smart people at the helm and I think it was out of strength that you view that. You say how can we be great? Can we just continue along here or do we need to revamp? You want to be the first to recognize you need to reshuffle the deck rather than the last, and they did that. They did it proactively and I think it’s a courageous move. The new coach is fantastic. I love (Alain) Vigneault and he did a great job while he was here. It’s a different era and Dave Quinn comes in. He’s a great teacher coming from (Boston University) and I think they’re really steady hands in terms of management and coaching and great young players. Look at Las Vegas, nobody thought they could come out of the chute and do what they did. Look how exciting Toronto is. I don’t think the Rangers are going to stand still for long.

On winning the Stanley Cup in New York

It’s an incredible thing. You look at what’s going on in Las Vegas (with a first-year franchise getting to the final). They started out with that tragedy at the beginning of the year and sports can (help a city heal). We see a lot of the bad sides of it, you forget the fundamental struggle day-to-day is a real human struggle just overcoming obstacles and everything else. You have to do that every day. It’s a part of life.

And that’s why sports can teach you so much not about winning but also about challenges, obstacles and failure even and how you react to those hardships in life. That’s where sports is at its best. That what a lot of the volunteers I met in CYO helped me with, and that’s what Las Vegas is helping (the city) with right now.

You become the identity of a town a bit, So many of the guys that I played with were kind of scared of coming to New York They met the people here, loved it and this became their home. It’s an honor to represent such an amazing town. It was meaningful to the city we won. I wish we could do it every year.

Following his NHL career, Richter enrolled and graduated from Yale University with a degree in ethics, politics and economics with a concentration in environmental policy. He considered running for Congress and is now president of Brightcore Energy in Armonk.

I’ve always been motivated by the opportunity to be less wasteful and more efficient with our resources. one way or another in a way, it all comes together. My mom didn’t think of the word sustainability. She grew up in the depression. It was a moral issue for her. You don’t leave a light on. You don’t waste food. You don’t waste things that you have because some people don’t have it,

The world is getting smaller and smaller. There are more and more people and less and less opportunity in some ways but also less resources. Pope Francis has been very clear about that. It’s something he cares deeply about and I do too. I always have and I always thought on a practical level there was an opportunity to marry finance and efficiency. We’re doing that with the lighting right now. You get better lighting, you pay less money. It’s win-win.

Pat LaFontaine’s Charity Golf Event Raises Over $120,000 for Foundation

Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual Companions in Courage (CiC) Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island that raised over $120,000 for the foundation on Oct. 5.

LaFontaine was joined by a group of celebrities at the event, including Hockey Hall of Famer Clark Gillies, former NBA star Wally Szczerbiak and his father Walter, and retired hockey players Benoit Hogue, Bob Nystrom, Pat Jablonski, Randy Wood and Steve Webb.

Johnny Glavinic won the tournament with a 66, followed by Wally Szczerbiak’s 68. Szczerbiak’s foursome with Glavinic, Tommy Nagolo and Mike Matura captured the low gross team award with a 62. Greg Heinssen (longest drive), Brian O’Day (closest to pin) and Nike Patti Jr. (closest to goal) also won awards.

CiC serves almost 60,000 pediatric patients each year in North America with Xbox Kiosks and Lion’s Den playrooms.

CiC has 20 Lion’s Dens at hospitals scattered across North America with four being in the archdiocese — Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Valhalla; Orange Regional Medical Center, Middletown; Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital, Manhattan, and New York Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Manhattan. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital opened the first Lion’s Den in 2005.