Noel Acciari and Rebecca Yaseen now rank among Rhode Island’s ice hockey elite.
Sunday, inside the jam-packed and famed carousel building at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, Acciari and Yaseen received two of the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society’s most prestigious awards.
Acciari, a Johnston native who ranks among the state’s all-time best hockey players for his unique journey to the National Hockey League, was honored with the Reds’ Rhode Island Native-Son Award.
Yaseen, meanwhile, accepted the Reds’ annual Unsung Hero Award that is annually presented to three schoolgirl and schoolboy players and named for one-time Reds greats like American Hokey League Hall of Fame goalie Gil Mayer.
“Unsung heroes are high school hockey players who contributed to their teams in ways that only their coaches and other players are aware of,” offered Vin Cimini, a Reds Society board member. “Often they exemplify the term ‘student-athlete,’ but there is usually more than that.”
Such is the case with Yaseen, a standout goalie from Toll Gate High and Warwick’s co-op team who overcome personal hurdles and inspired their teammates to push through their struggles and took home the Mayer Award.
The other high school players honored Sunday were: Madison Cataldo, Joseph Caterina, Cameron Rancourt, Brendan O’Rourke and Taylor Vecchione.
Acciari began his now highly-successful career at Bishop Hendricken High in Warwick. He then went to the famed Kent School then Providence College where he helped the Friars win a national championship. He was then drafted by the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
Upon completion of the recent NHL season, Acciari became a free agent then signed a contract with the Florida Panthers.
Sylvester “Buster” Clegg, who founded the Reds Heritage Society 19 years ago and serves as the non-profit’s president, offered, “Noel Acciari is the perfect player to receive our Native-Born Achievement Award; he’s the epitome of a home-grown ice hockey player.”