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Buzzer beaters for a good cause in Bridgeport


by Erin Willey || AHL On The Beat


See also:
Sound Tigers TV: TeamBrent & St. Baldrick’s Event

If you’re like me, watching Davidson pull off upsets over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin in the NCAA basketball tournament drove me mad as they netted buzzer-beating game winning shots.

That excitement is what fuels college basketball’s March Madness, but on Mar. 13 the Bridgeport Sound Tigers were doing their own buzzer beating. For the Sound Tigers and the local community, the buzzer was about shaving their heads to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer, in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and TeamBrent.

TeamBrent is a group that was formed by Mike McCreesh for his son Brent, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2, to start a foundation in the effort of beating cancer. On Mar. 1, Brent and his family joined the Sound Tigers for their game against the Binghamton Senators.

"I saw the look in Brent’s eyes as he looked at the guys, he was so happy," recalled Mike McCreesh. Brent was able to tour the locker room, drop the puck, and talk with the players. Mike could not thank the Sound Tigers enough for that night and their support at the St. Baldrick’s event.

Deb Placey, an analyst with FSN New York — which covers the Sound Tigers’ National Hockey League affiliate, the New York Islanders — was the emcee for the event. The event hits close to home, literally, for Placey, who became involved in the event because the McCreesh family is her next-door neighbor.

"Having the Sound Tigers here is fantastic," Placey said. "Everyone is excited and it has definitely been the highlight of the night. It shows their support for the cause that has been growing each year we do this event."

To kick off the event, Mike McCreesh gave an inspiring speech.

bri-shaved_300.jpg"Forty-two months ago tonight we sat in the hospital room and the doctor said, ‘I think your child has cancer.’ That inspired me to work towards a day when those words are never spoken again. Brent’s name may be on the door, but we do it for all the families that are out there fighting to put an end to cancer."

Jeremy Colliton took part in the festivities and was the first to step to the “buzzer” and shave his head.

"Brent’s story is inspiring. We are showing our support, lots of the guys were willing to shave their heads, it’s a great thing."

Drew Fata reinforced Colliton’s words, saying, "We are here to show our support." About shaving his head, Fata said, "I didn’t mind when the ladies were shaving my head. My head is cold, but I like the different look."

Dana McCreesh, Brent’s mother, reflected on having the Sound Tigers at the event. "I love the Sound Tigers being here. It adds another level to what we’re trying to raise awareness about. It’s wonderful to have them. It’s amazing to see how involved in the community these guys are.

"I’m overwhelmed, it’s amazing, I cannot believe the amount of people here and the amount of support everyone is showing. I can’t believe the amount of children that showed up before and were willing to shave their heads."

Scott Ford, who also shaved his head, didn’t mind the haircut, but knew some of his other teammates have to get used to their new looks. Talking about the event Ford said, "It’s fantastic to come out for this cause and support Brent. Just to be a part of this is special. To give back and get your head shaved, it’s all special."

Each year, on average, 3,000 children die from pediatric cancer, which is more than pediatric AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and congenital anomalies combined. St. Baldrick’s, in conjunction with TeamBrent, is fighting pediatric cancer everyday by raising money for disease research. Mar. 13 was St. Baldrick’s fourth annual flagship event where members of the community gathered and voluntarily shaved their heads for the cause. There were over 600 participants at the event, which raised $2 million.

For the fourth time, the St. Baldricks event was held in conjunction with TeamBrent. Local businesses, firefighters, and teams donated to the cause by shaving their heads or with monetary donations. Behind the Bear & Grill was a party tent filled with people, barbers, shaved heads, music, guest speakers, food and beverages.

TeamBrent and St. Baldrick’s are fighting every day to make sure that another parent doesn’t have to hear the words, "I think your child has cancer." For more information on TeamBrent log onto www.TeamBrent.com.