Photo Credit: Brian Babineau
TD Garden, host of the annual Beanpot hockey tournament, welcomed four Team IMPACT families at this year’s championship games. For the first time in tournament history, all four teams are actively matched with Team IMPACT.
Though Northeastern came out on top, all four children – Simon with Northeastern, Parker with Harvard, Josh with Boston College, and Logan with Boston University — had an incredible afternoon and evening. Before the puck dropped on the consolation game, all four families enjoyed a tour of the Bruins locker room, followed by front row-seats for warm-ups.
“The Beanpot is a renown historic sporting event in Boston, and we are incredibly proud of the relationships all four teams have with our families. We are grateful to TD Garden for providing all of them a behind-the-scenes experience.”
– Seth Rosenzweig, Team IMPACT CEO
Student-athletes at Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University have welcomed their Team IMPACT teammates over the years, on and off campus. Starting with Signing Day when children are officially welcomed onto the team to kickoff a multi-year relationship, children and their families are embraced as a natural extension of the team. In addition to joining practices and games, families attend other team events, and student-athletes frequently communicate virtually and in-person with their matches.
Their steadfast relationships were on display Monday night at TD Garden as all four children were welcomed to their respective teams’ benches during warm-ups, high-fived the teams as they went out on the ice, and spoke to players and coaches after the games.
Photo Credit: Brian Babineau
In addition to being together for the first time, all four Team IMPACT children quickly noticed a difference in their teammates as they skated around during warm-ups. Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern players all suited up adorning a Team IMPACT decal on their helmet, celebrating their commitment to our program and community.
Simon and Northeastern
For Simon, this Beanpot proved to be something out of a fairytale. Northeastern beat Harvard 3-2 in shootouts to win the tournament, and Simon got to celebrate the big win — and the big trophy — on the ice with his team, fully immersed in their celebration. For Simon’s mom, Maria, this was not only a celebration of hockey but a celebration of Simon’s entire journey:
“This year’s Beanpot has brought Simon and me total happiness. Thank you so much for an incredible experience. I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity to be able to share these moments. Simon and I feel very fortunate and are filled with joy to see so many happy smiles together and celebrate with all Team IMPACT community members! Thank you for what you do and offer all families. As parents, moments like this are a gift, a celebration of all efforts within a medical lifestyle. A win for our family since Signing Day, thank you for the joy you share with Simon.”
Watching Simon celebrate Northeastern’s Beanpot victory marked an unforgettable day not only for Simon and his family but for the whole Northeastern community. Bri Foley, the Hockey Operations Coordinator at Northeastern, reflected on Simon’s time with the team at this year’s tournament — and is already thinking about next year. “Simon brings such joy to our players, and getting to coordinate having him be a part of such incredible life moments with them is one of my favorite parts of my job,” she said. “The work you all do is amazing and goes way farther than just with the kiddos, and I love seeing it first-hand with my guys. Looking forward to raising another trophy with Simon!”
“Looking forward to raising another trophy with Simon!”
– Bri Foley, Northeastern Hockey Operations
Video Credit: NESN
Parker and Harvard
Parker and his Harvard teammates had their eyes set on the Eberly Trophy, and although they did not pull out a win, it was teamwork and the excitement of the game and the community of Team IMPACT that stuck with the family the most. “From the pre-game activities to meeting the other families and enjoying a visit to the Team IMPACT box, it brought not only us as parents but also Parker an even deeper appreciation for what Team IMPACT does,” Parker’s mom, Michelle, said. “After meeting the other kids and having those pregame experiences, Parker sat down to watch the first game and said, ‘More people should know about Team IMPACT. I want to help with that.'”
Michelle reflected on how sports and life correlate through highs and lows and how this connection has helped Parker understand his own medical journey. Parker experienced the thrill of an overtime goal and the camaraderie of his Harvard teammates after the tough loss. For Parker and his mom, this was more important than any win.
“The Beanpot experience encapsulated what we envision Team IMPACT being for Parker. Sitting alongside his Harvard teammates, Parker experienced the high of a win in the last couple seconds of overtime and the low of defeat that came down to a shoot-out. Sports, like life, can be a bumpy road. It can be painful and disappointing. As parents, we feel an important part of Parker’s journey with Harvard Hockey and Team IMPACT is to have the experience of going through not just the highs, but the emotional lows. Seeing these players pick themselves up and move forward to focus on the next games gave Parker an important perspective that includes perseverance and dedication.”
Much like how the team has shown Parker perseverance and dedication on the ice, Parker has shown his teammates how to be strong off the ice. Henry Thrun, a defenseman for Harvard Hockey, shared his experience with Parker at the tournament. “It was great during the game to watch him on the Jumbotron along with the other Team IMPACT athletes. Parker brings a lot of positivity into our locker room, and I truly believe we are the ones benefiting the most from our relationship with him.”
Josh and Boston College
In the consolation game, Boston College beat Boston University by a score of 4-2. This Eagles win only added to the excitement BC’s Team IMPACT teammate, Josh, was feeling after visiting the Bruins locker room, meeting the other Team IMPACT teammates, and even befriending the Bruins’ team photographer, Brian Babineau.
For Josh and his family, this was not just a hockey game but an enormous achievement in bringing Josh out of his comfort zone. Josh’s mom, Melissa, reflected after the game on the difference she’s seen in Josh since being part of Team IMPACT:
“When we left to head to the Garden, Josh wasn’t sure how the day would go and frankly was a little hesitant. He struggles with anxiety (which developed as a result of the medical challenges he’s had) and new situations, meeting new people, etc. can often bring out the anxiety more intensely. Josh has worked hard on developing skills and strategies to ease his anxiety. Yesterday he put those skills to good use and was able to take in the whole experience with such pride and joy. We learned early on from his social worker that kids need strategies because if they don’t have them, they’ll just avoid situations that cause anxiety. And if we let Josh do that, he’d never have been able to cope with his illness, and he’d miss out on all the fun stuff because he’d be too afraid or worried. We can’t thank you all enough for giving Josh an environment and people he feels safe to be around. It’s such a huge difference from the kid who joined TI a few years ago and hid from everyone.“
Logan and Boston University
For Logan, who signed with Boston University earlier this month, every aspect of the night was something to be appreciated. He arrived at TD Garden in style with a police escort with his team. Although Boston University did not come out on top, he enjoyed hanging around his fellow Team IMPACT teammates who quickly became friends.
Logan’s mom expressed her gratitude for Team IMPACT, saying, “Attending the Beanpot with Team IMPACT and BU was an amazing experience for all of us! From riding the team bus to the Garden with a police escort to meeting the other Team IMPACT families, every aspect was the experience of a lifetime. Logan absolutely loved getting to hang out with the other kids, and it was so great for Nick and I to connect with the parents.”
This tournament was not just about hockey or trophies, but about teamwork and resilience between the teams and the Team IMPACT teammates alike. Simon, Parker, Josh, and Logan experienced a behind the scenes look at TD Garden and deepened their relationship with the athletes and families not only on their teams but across the tournament. While the 2023 Beanpot has come to an end, the relationships and memories from the tournament will surely last a lifetime.