Gino and the Captain: Finding hope through hockey

For the family of a Pelham man, a hockey star is giving their beloved member the assist of a lifetime, and it has nothing to do with what he does on the rink. A triple-overtime, game-winning goal scored

News 12 Staff

Oct 16, 2015, 3:50 AM

Updated 3,163 days ago

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For the family of a Pelham man, a hockey star is giving their beloved member the assist of a lifetime, and it has nothing to do with what he does on the rink.
A triple-overtime, game-winning goal scored by Gino Mangiafridda in 2006 propelled Pelham High School to the championship game. Six years later, Mangiafridda's life would change forever.
During what was supposed to be a routine ride home from work, Mangiafridda was involved in a three-car accident while on his motorcycle. His body was thrown 100 feet from the vehicle.
The now-25-year-old was paralyzed and living on a ventilator. He awoke from a coma three months later.
Mangiafridda's family says he had no spirit after waking up, and was in bad shape physically and cognitively by November 2012. So, they turned to the Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains for help.
When Mangiafridda needed it most, hockey returned to his life. He and his doctor shared a love of the sport. Dr. Herceg went to a signing featuring current New York Rangers team captain Ryan McDonagh, who became interested in Mangiafridda. From there, the friendship of a lifetime began.
Their first meeting happened during a Rangers season opener, to which the whole Mangiafridda family was invited as special guests. They met in front of 18,000 people inside of Madison Square Garden.
Since then, Mangiafridda has made a few more trips from Pelham to Madison Square Garden, rooting on the Blue Shirts and their captain.
The two still exchange text messages. When Mangiafridda was asked what advice he gives the Rangers captain after a big game, he said that "it's not advice, it's the truth."


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