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Pat Lafontaine


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Frederick "Fritz" Vece, 94, of Hamden, died June 3, 2018 at Whitney Manor. Fritz was born in Hamden, Oct. 27, 1923, the son of the late Sam and Julia Masotta Vece and resided in Hamden most of his life. He was the owner of the Highwood Bar and Grille for 24 years, retiring 25 years ago. 
Vece, Frederick "Fritz"
Frederick "Fritz" Vece, 94, of Hamden, died June 3, 2018 at Whitney Manor. Fritz was born in Hamden, Oct.27, 1923, the son of the late Sam and Julia Masotta Vece and resided in Hamden most of his life. He was the owner of the Highwood Bar and Grille for 24 years, retiring 25 years ago. He was an Army Veteran of WWIIand a member of the Hamden IA Club. He is survived by his sister, Lorraine LaTerza and several nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his siblings, Marion Vece, Josephine Carbone, Eleanor LaBadia, Thomas and Gabe Vece. Funeral Thursday at 10:15 from the Peter H. Torello & Son Funeral Home, 1022 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, and at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 11 o'clock. Interment in St. Lawrence Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday morning from 9 to 10:15. Memorial contributions may be made to Companions in Courage, Masotta Family Fund, P.O. Box 768, Huntington, NY 11743
Pat LaFontaine served as a presenter at the 2018 Jefferson Awards New York National Ceremony on March 12th in Manhattan. The Jefferson Awards are generally considered the “Nobel Prize for Public Service.” LaFontaine had been a recipient of a national award from the foundation in 2012.

Peter Johnson, 88, the father of foundation director, Jim, passed to eternal life on February 25, 2018. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that mourners consider making a donation to Companions in Courage Foundation. Please select the "DONATE NOW" option in the top bar on this page, and note Pete's name in the Message Box. An acknowledgement of your donation will be sent to the Johnson family with deep appreciation and gratitude. 

Wives and girlfriends of the Ottawa Senators stopped by Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario today and helped the patients get into the Valentine's Day spirit! Everyone had a great time as their hearts were filled with LOVE!
Kobie Boykins – a NASA Senior Mechanical Engineer from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena – delivered presentations on the Mars Rover Program today to more than 600 school-aged children at The Cradle of Aviation Museum. The presentation was transmitted via Google Hangout by Companions in Courage Foundation to their Lion’s Den Rooms located in children’s hospitals across North America.
Engineer Kobie Boykins will shed light on the red planet at Noon EST on February 6th, as part of the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s “Countdown to Apollo at 50” celebration.
Patients at Mount Sinai Children's Hospital got a special visitor Sunday, as Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield spread some holiday cheer to children recovering from a variety of treatments.
One of the most anticipated days of the holidays for pediatric patients is the Companions in Courage Foundation’s Santa Connection. For a couple of days in early December, patients who are too sick to visit Santa in the local shopping mall, are treated to a personalized visit via Google Hangouts. Santa conducts his virtual visits from the North Pole, accompanied by some of his elves. The foundation also sends gift cards to each hospital so that Child Life staff members may purchase a gift for each patient who visits Santa.
HUNTINGTON, NY, October 5, 2017  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that now serves almost 60,000 pediatric patients per year in hospitals throughout North America.
Furry and Fabulous – The Life and Times of Taylor Swift’s Cats, is the third book by Long Island teen author Taylor Sinett. Inspired by the battle her late “Nana Judi” fought against lymphoma, Taylor is donating all proceeds from the sale of this book to the CiC Foundation. Her hope is to raise enough money to purchase a Lion’s Den Room. (www.TaylorSinett.com).

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newest addition to their hospital, “The Lion’s Den,” on May 23rd. The room was provided by hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine and his Companions in Courage Foundation.

Every so often, a parent will take a moment out from their time at a hospital to drop us a note to let us know how important the Lion’s Den was to them and their family. We certainly never expect to get these notes, but when they do come in, we cherish them with gusto.

Recently we received a very kind note from Megan Looney, the mother of 2-year-old Jonathan – a patient at North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Her and her husband Jeremy have three other children and during Jonathan’s treatments, they made the Lion’s Den their home. With her permission, we share it this Mother’s Day weekend:

As part of the NHL Centennial Celebration, renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris will paint original portraits of each of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian as chosen by a Blue Ribbon panel. NHL.com will reveal two portraits each Monday in 2017.

This week, the portraits of forwards Pat LaFontaine and Marcel Dionne are unveiled in the 11th installment.

The Pat LaFontaine era with the New York Islanders started with general manager Bill Torrey's disinformation campaign to hoodwink competitors into believing they weren't interested in him.

"I told my secretary that if [Minnesota North Stars general manager] Lou Nanne called, and asked where I was, to tell him I'm up in Rhode Island," Torrey said.

CiC Foundation Executive Board member George Ross and his wife, Billie were featured in the Winter 2016-17 of Northwell Health's GRATITUDE magazine. In addition to funding the Lion's Den Room at Cohen Children's Hospital, the couple have been instrumental in the development of other pediatric initiatives at the hospital.
NEW YORK - The National Hockey League (NHL) and St. Louis Blues unveiled a renovated teen lounge as part of the 2017 NHL® Winter Classic Legacy project. The renovated room was designed in partnership with Companions in Courage, a nonprofit charity that was founded by Hockey Hall of Famer and League executive Pat LaFontaine. All elements within the room have been donated to St. Louis Children's Hospital, a leading pediatric facility that serves youth across the U.S. and around the world.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson of the University of Lousiville took time from his busy first weekend in New York to visit patients at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai. The youngest Heisman winner in history “gowned up” and conducted some bedside visits, and then headed to the Lion’s Den Room for a Google Hangout with patients in other Lion’s Dens across North America.
Steve Kowalski, an elementary school teacher from Trenton, MI thought long and hard about completing one of his “Bucket List” events – the New York City Marathon. He said, “I spoke with a few friends who are endurance athletes back in Michigan, and they advised that an event like this is made better when you do it for a purpose.” After doing some research, Steve decided to connect with the Companions in Courage Foundation and support their efforts with his run.

HUNTINGTON, NY, September 29, 2016  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that now serves 50,000 patients per year in hospitals throughout North America.

NEW YORK -- Hockey Hall of Famers Pat LaFontaine and Luc Robitaille will represent the NHL as guests of Pope Francis during a three-day global conference focusing on faith and sport at the Vatican from Oct. 5-7.

The inaugural Sport at the Service of Humanity conference will bring together 150 athletes and executives in an attempt to promote positive values and inspire youth.

When Bill Benson passed away on July 16th at the tender age of 97, the Runner’s Edge Main Street Mile race committee made the decision to honor him at the 12th annual event. Bill had been a long-time participant in the event and had a great fan in Pat LaFontaine.

Pat LaFontaine has been invited to participate in a three-day summit at the Vatican on “Sport at the Service of Humanity.” According to organizers, this is the first global conference on faith and sport. The conference is meant to be a gathering of global thought leaders and influencers from different religions, sports, business and other stakeholders to discuss how faith and sport can work together to promote positive values inspire youth, and better serve humanity.
HUNTINGTON, NY, October 1, 2015  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his 13th annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island today, and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that recently opened its 18th Lion’s Den Room at Hackensack University Medical Center.

On Saturday, Sept. 5th, a record-breaking 497 runners participated in the 11th Annual Farmingdale Main Street Mile on Long Island. Conditions were ideal, with moderate temperatures, low humidity and a slight trailing wind out of the north.

Through the generosity of the Sohn Conference Foundation, Pat LaFontaine opened his 18th Lion's Den Room in the Ira Sohn Wing of the Joseph Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack on Monday, June 22nd. The room features 3 XBox consoles, 4 PCs and a large screen TV for movies and video chats.

In 2014, 18-year-old Jackson Krase and his dad, Scott of Chappaqua, led a team of 15 to the summit of Africa’s 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in a fundraising effort for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. In doing so, the group raised more than $55,000.  As per Jackson’s request, the monies were used to refurbish the original Lion's Den, opened at the hospital in 2004.

At the completion of Pat LaFontaine’s Hall of Fame hockey career, he set out to combine his passions in a best-of-breed manner, to benefit those less fortunate. He worked with Warner Books to pen his semi-autobiographical book, “Companions in Courage.” All of the proceeds from the sale of the book were used to start a foundation of the same name to benefit children’s hospitals.
Marcus Mariota grew up among the palm trees of Honolulu riding waves on his body board and dreaming of a chance to play football at the highest level. That dream was reached on December 13, 2014, when the University of Oregon quarterback was named the 80th winner of the Heisman Trophy. Mariota, dubbed "The Flyin' Hawaiian," will get a chance to lead his Ducks to the national championship game when they take on the Florida State Seminoles (led by last year’s Heisman winner, Jameis Winston) in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
 Orange, Calif. — Nick Meza, 18, recently had another five-day round of chemotherapy at the outpatient clinic here at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Usually those days drag for Nick, an Eagle Scout with a flashing grin, a hunger for conversation, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The New York Islanders have been a constant factor in charitable endeavors on Long Island for 40 years. The team's alumni continue to make an impact on their adopted community of Long Island. 
Pat LaFontaine will be the honoree at the St. Johnland Nursing Center Gala on Friday, September 12. The Center treats patients who are recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.

June 12, 2014 by RIDGELY OCHS / ridgely.ochs@newsday.com

Four hours after his heart operation at Cohen Children's Medical Center, Cord Lehman, 17, of Syosset, was sitting in a chair, texting and tweeting.

A day later, he went home.

On Wednesday, May 28th, three National Honor Society members representing the students of PS/IS 119 in Glendale, NY, delivered hundreds of new stuffed toys to the pediatric patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. The toys will be used to teach patients about recovery from their medical treatments and simply to cuddle.
On Monday, May 19th, one of the most dynamic engineers in NASA made a rare appearance at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York. In cooperation with the Companions in Courage Foundation (www.CiC16.org), a mid-day student session was webcast to the pediatric patients at North Shore LIJ’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
LONG ISLAND, NY – (May 4, 2014) Almost 100 runners toed the Start Line at today’s Long Island Marathon in support of the Companions in Courage Foundation. The event helped raise thousands for the pediatric patients who benefit from the work of the CiC Foundation.
Jameis Winston, the newly-minted 2013 Heisman Trophy winner was a guest of the patients at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York City. Winston, the youngest player in the 79-year history of the award, spent time visiting patients through the hospital’s closed circuit feed.   He then brought his Heisman Trophy to the Companions in Courage Foundation’s Lion's Den for a Webex video chat with other Lion’s Den hospitals.  
HUNTINGTON, NY, October 3, 2013  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that now serves 50,000 patients per year in hospitals throughout North America.
Last month, in a waiting room at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., a small boy sat with a laptop, engrossed in a game. His hair had fallen out, a side effect of his ongoing battle with cancer, and he wore a surgical mask to help protect his compromised immune system. The boy had a determined light in his eyes as he blasted a growing tower of cancer cells with chemotherapy bombs on the screen in front of him.
Members of the New York Islanders Alumni attended the opening of the CiC Foundation's 17th Lion's Den Room at Cohen Children's Medical Center at LIJ North Shore on Long Island on April 12, 2013. Bob Nystrom, Jean Potvin and Benoit Hogue joined Pat Lafontaine at the ceremony.
On December 10, Pat LaFontaine participated at the Heisman Dinner in New York City. A throng gathered at the Marriott Marquis Hotel to celebrate 2012 Heisman trophy winner freshman Johnny Manziel of Texas A & M.
The 8th annual Main Street Mile for Companions in Courage Foundation (CiC) was held in Farmingdale on Sept. 1. CiC, the race benefactor, raises funds to build interactive playrooms in children’s hospitals throughout North America. It has become a Labor Day weekend tradition to support the great work done by Hockey Hall of Famer and former NY Islander and Ranger Pat LaFontaine’s foundation, CiC.
NEW YORK – The 2012 Main Street Mile on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, produced a record-breaking turnout and a new mark for funds raised in support of the CiC Foundation.

NEW YORK - Matt Bennett (Robbie Shapiro on Nickelodeon’s hit show “Victorious”) recently took some time to visit patients in the Lion’s Den Room interactive game room located at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City.


MORRISTOWN, NJ - Eleven-year-old David Hodges has been in pain his entire life. Born with diseased kidneys and osteoporosis, the Ramsey resident currently receives blood tests on a monthly basis. His mother, Carol, said that may need to be increased to twice a month. She said her son is a worrier, which is understandable considering his circumstances. But, when he comes to the new Lion's Den playroom at the Goryeb Children's Hospital, "he hasn't complained once," she said.


MORRISTOWN, NJ - The CiC Foundation opened the first Lion’s Den Room in New Jersey at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ on June 21, 2012. The room features 4 computer stations, 3 Xbox gaming stations, a large screen TV to watch movies and a semi-private video conference pod.

WASHINGTON DC - Hockey Hall of Famer and the founder of the Companions in Courage Foundation, Pat LaFontaine, was recognized with a national Jefferson Award at a ceremony in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 19th.

OTTAWA -- At first glance, it might look like a scene from an arcade or a child's birthday party: brightly lit walls surrounding a playroom in which kids play interactive games online or video games on a row of Xbox consoles..
NEW YORK – The 2011 Heisman Memorial Trophy winner - Robert Griffin III - spent two hours today visiting the Lion's Den and patients at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City. He was joined by former Heisman winners Johnny Rodgers (1972), Mike Rozier (1983), and his mom, dad and sister.
NEW YORK –  NHL Network™ and NHL.com now feature a weekly series titled Making of a Royal, which provides an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the Long Island Royals - an Under-16 AAA hockey team that happens to be coached by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine. 

MANHASSET, NY, October 3, 2011  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Deepdale Golf Club on Long Island and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that now serves 50,000 patients per year in hospitals throughout North America.

Just before 11 a.m. Wednesday, former NHL players Pat LaFontaine and Steve Webb completed an exhausting 550-mile bike ride from Toronto to New York City in just 48 hours, crossing the finish line at the NHL Store Powered by Reebok in Manhattan.
On Monday, September 19th at 11 a.m., former NHLer Steve Webb and Hall-of-Famer Pat LaFontaine will pedal from the curb of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and begin a 550-mile bike ride to the NHL Store in New York City. Their ride coincides with the start of the 2011-12 NHL pre-season that opens that night. In support of their respective charities, they hope to complete the journey in an unprecedented 48 hours!
In the prime of their NHL careers, Pat LaFontaine and Steve Webb played vastly different roles. The former rates among the most dazzling American forwards of all-time, a perennial all-star who scored more than 1,000 points in a hall-of-fame career with the Islanders, Sabres, and Rangers cut short by concussions. The latter was known as a bruising tough guy—a fan favorite on the Islanders and Penguins for his willingness to drop the gloves and penchant for delivering pulverizing open-ice hits.
Farmingdale, NY – Sept. 3, 2011  –  A record turn-out of runners participated in the 7th Annual Main Street Mile in Farmingdale today in support of the Companions in Courage Foundation. More than 350 runners turned out on a sparkling day to run the mile and raise money for local children's hospitals.

Long Island, NY – May 1, 2011  –  Almost 100 runners donned the colors of Team Courage today and participated in the 2011 Long Island Marathon in support of the Companions in Courage Foundation. Donors contributed more than $20,000 to the foundation as part of the effort to let hospitalized children know they are not going through it alone.

 Let’s face it. Being a kid in the hospital is never fun. For kids like Dylan Price, 13, of Greensboro, N.C., who are in for weeks to months at a time receiving life-saving treatment for long-term illnesses, well, it just plain stinks.

NAPA, Calif. – March 2011  –  Three Monkeys Wine, a local and acclaimed boutique artisan wine producer, has added Pat LaFontaine’s Companions in Courage Foundation to its philanthropic ‘Angel’s Share’ program that commits 10 percent of all wine sales to select children’s charities.

Pat LaFontaine's love for ice hockey began similarly to any other warm-blooded American with a dream of making it big one day.

Well, almost.

CALGARY (February 17, 2011) – The National Hockey League (NHL), the Calgary Flames and Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine and his Companions in Courage charity today announced plans to donate a new, state-of-the-art “NHL Legacy Classroom” at Alberta Children’s Hospital to commemorate the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™.  The classroom is expected to be operational by April 2011.

On Friday, January 28, 2011, Pat LaFontaine was joined by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and a host of dignitaries at North Carolina Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill to open the latest Lion's Den Room.

By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Five-time NHL All-Star Pat LaFontaine doled out 545 assists in a Hall of Fame career that spanned 15 NHL seasons. 
None of those helpers, however, can compare to the biggest assist he's made off the ice through his children's charity, Companions in Courage (CIC16.org).

On New Year's Eve, Pat LaFontaine visited the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and announced plans to deliver a Lion's Den Room to the children of Pittsburgh. The room will be built through the generosity of the National Hockey League in conjunction with the NHL Winter Classic Game. 
 H1N1 Restrictions Limit Hospital Visits Places Premium on Lion's Den Services


Event features Brendan Shanahan

George Ross and Dr. Sean Levchuck named to CiC Foundation Board

March 3-5, 2009 – Stanley Cup Tours Lion’s Dens

The Companions in Courage Foundation marked a milestone earlier this year when they opened their 10th Lion’s Den room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Winter Classic: A Lion’s Den for Boston

Santa "Visits" Lion's Dens
LaFontaine set to run in 2009 NYC Marathon!
7th Annual CiC Golf Classic features Leetch & Messier
Mike Green launches XBox 360s at NIH
"No child in the fight for life or health should ever have to go through it alone and Companions in Courage provides support while letting them know they are not alone and isolated," LaFontaine told NHL.com. "The Lion's Den eases the pain a little bit and we're not just talking about the children hospitalized, but their siblings and parents."
LaFontaine Wins Heisman (Humanitarian) Award
Avalanche Players bring Xbox 360 Kiosks to Patients at Rocky Mountain Hospital

Cisco Dupont Microsoft XBox National Hockey Leaugue