The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society has announced the names of five Rhode Island Interscholastic League hockey players as the 2020 recipients of its annual Unsung Hockey Hero Awards. Unsung Heroes are high school hockey players who contribute to their
The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society has announced the names of five Rhode Island Interscholastic League hockey players as the 2020 recipients of its annual Unsung Hockey Hero Awards.
Unsung Heroes are high school hockey players who contribute to their teams in ways that perhaps only their coaches and fellow players are aware of. Often, they exemplify the term “student athlete,” but there is usually more than that. Many are civic minded and go above and beyond to serve their community while maintaining their focus on academics and hockey. The stories are as varied as the athletes.
Awards are given to both male and female hockey players in memory of three former Rhode Island Reds standout players. The Chuck Scherza Award is given to forwards. The Fernie Flaman Award is given to defensemen and the Gil Mayer Award to goaltenders or defensive players.
Warwick’s Rose Flaherty won this year’s Fernie Flaman award for women. Rose attended Toll Gate High School where she made Honor Roll/ High Honors all four years. She was coached by David Tibbetts and played for the Warwick Co-op team.
Rose has figure skated since she was 5 years old but never picked up a hockey stick until her freshman year at Toll Gate. Through hard work and determination, she played a regular shift all four years and only received five penalties in spite of being a physical presence in front of the net.
During her junior year she was elected assistant captain, and she was named captain in her senior year. She excelled at melding students from rival schools to come together as a team.
Rose’s leadership skills and dedication to friendship is most represented by her organizing a fundraising event for the Gianna Cirella Memorial Foundation. Gianna was a close personal friend of Rose, who passed away from sepsis. Gianna’s favorite color was purple, so Rose created a “Purple Game” as a fundraiser. She and her colleagues decorated the rink with purple, taped their sticks purple, and wore purple socks for the game. The event raised $1,300 and helped raise awareness of sepsis in the community.
During her high school hockey career, she suffered a serious concussion which prevented her from looking at computer screens for any duration. Her school counselor, Danielle Di Traglia, M.Ed., reports that Rose was able to keep up with her rigorous course load and maintain good grades by recruiting friends and family to read to her. Of course, she returned to hockey (against motherly advice) as soon as possible. That’s love of the game and determination.
Across Rhode Island Interscholastic play, the following players also received this year’s Rhode Island Reds Unsung Hero awards:
The Chuck Scherza award will be given to Alexis Malnerich from Barrington, coached by Mike Cox; Emma Byrnes from Smithfield, coached by Kerri Nadeau; and Sean Martin, also from Smithfield and coached by Robert Jackson.
The Gil Mayer award will be given to Sarah Lisa from LaSalle, coached by Sean McNamara.