posted on: Thursday February 7, 2019
by Meaghan Cahill ’20
The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team hosted more than the University of Vermont men’s hockey team this past weekend at Schneider Arena. In attendance at the game was none other than former Friar and Boston Bruins player Noel Acciari ’15 and family and friends of Drew Brown ’16.
Brown was a member of the hockey team that would go on to win the 2015 NCAA National Championships. During his junior year, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma, after he took a hit to his left leg during a hockey playoff game the season before.
Brown overcame the cancer which is known for its one in a million diagnosis, but unfortunately his remission did not last long. In the spring of 2016, the cancer returned to Brown’s body. This time around, Brown was unable to win the fight against cancer and after continuous treatments and 24/7 care, he passed away at the age of 25 on November 11, 2017.
“Drew touched everyone with whom he came into contact with his energy, his smile, and his big heart. Drew showed amazing courage in his battle with cancer. Our Friar Family will miss him dearly,” Head Coach Nate Leaman commented after the passing of Brown.
One person who was with Brown through it all was Acciari. The two had a friendship that went all the way back to Kent School, a prep school that they both attended and played on the same hockey team. It is due to their long-lasting friendship that Acciari decided to start the “Dropping the Mitts for Drew Brown” fundraiser.
Starting out as a gofundme.com page, which has accrued more than $60,000, the fundraiser has expanded to the national level as Acciari uses his public platform to raise awareness for his friend and cause. The most notable moment that he utilized his platform was in November during the National Hockey League’s Hockey Fights Cancer month-long campaign when he did a special interview about Brown while wearing a custom-made lavender suit in honor of his friend.
“He left his legacy…he was a character guy and he always brought a smile to your face and was always laughing…I can still hear his laugh, it’s definitely missed,” Acciari commented.
And now, once again Acciari is taking the opportunity to raise awareness for his friend, this time bringing it back to their old stomping grounds.
Before the official puck drop between PC and UVM, Acciari, along with Brown’s mother Sandy and fiancé Michelle, and PC Athletic Director Bob Driscoll, came out onto the ice for a ceremonial puck drop to kick off the “Dropping the Mitts for Drew Brown” night at Schneider Arena.
To honor and remember the late Friar, PC players wore special pins created by the non-profit organization, Beads of Courage, in honor of Brown. In between periods of the game, tribute videos were shown with both Leaman and Acciari expressing how Brown was an “important part of the Friar family” and that they, along with everyone from the PC community, thanked everyone who came to the game “in support of the night.”
Brown’s mother commented on how “very touched” she was by not only Acciari’s actions to honor and keep her son’s memory alive, but also by PC as a whole.