It’s Yes We Can And That’s Because We Can
Dec 15, 2022Posted by james

Sal Fabozzi wanted to transform his passion for basketball into athletic opportunities for young athletes with special needs. So, a handful of years ago, he created Because We Can Sports on Staten Island.

The organization offers children ages five to 18 the option to participate in basketball along with soccer, football and track and field in a judgement-free environment. The program explains the nuances of each sport, Fun, as in F-U-N, is the ultimate objective.

Sal’s plan does not advance children to the next level of athletic skill. The goal is to advance them in life. The program has a connection to the local Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Sal created the concept based on his basketball clinics for special needs children. He and Anthony Passalacqua, who played CYO basketball and founded a local youth basketball program, are the program’s head coaches. They are supported by many volunteers.

Autistic children are among the participants. The program helps the children interact with their peers and this encourages them to foster relationships in their neighborhoods and at their schools. Success in the classroom also has been associated to the dynamics of program. One 14-year-old boy took his game to the next level, competing in the Special Olympics New York Winter Games.

If you are on Staten Island or know someone there, let them know about Sal and Anthony and Because We Can Sports. For information:

A Hockey Uniform Of Stripes
Dec 01, 2022Posted by james

Just about every young hockey player dreams about scoring that seventh game overtime goal to capture a championship cup or medal. As each player rises to the next tier of competition on travel, high school, college and junior teams, he or she spends countless hours on and off the ice to build strength and stamina, and to hone various skills that just might turn a dream into hockey reality.

The path to a hockey career, should he decide to pursue that route, might be different for Bentley Cyr. He learned to skate when he was five years old. He continues to play the game. But, he also referees ice and roller hockey. He spends a lot of time, sometimes all day, at the rinks in California.

While playing a game a few years back, Bentley noticed that one referee was only a handful of years older. This inspired him to investigate and then pursue that angle of the game. He worked his first game as an official when he was just six years old.

Bentley has received full support from hockey’s adults. With encouragement from mom and dad, Bentley has received countless opportunities to work many games, including three, four or more on any given day. Rink personnel, team administrators and coaches encouraged him to become a certified referee, and he earned that certification this past July. Bentley is nine now and he’s one of the youngest registered USA Hockey referees.

Bentley has received many compliments for his on-ice professionalism and his focus on calling games. Whether or not Bentley decides to pursue a professional career in hockey, his thoughts already are formulating plans for the creation of a training facility and camp for young officials. Until that day comes, he remains satisfied with just sharing some advice, specifically within his age group, as he inspires other youngsters to pursue officiating. Bentley tells everyone to follow his lead—continue to play hockey, refine skating skills and observe the work of officials at games and on television.

Bentley is a busy young man on both sides of the game. He enjoys spending an entire day at the rinks. The perk, he said, is eating a lot of pizza.