MASSENA - Three months after taking home their sixth state championship, the Massena boys’ hockey team welcomed a special visitor to their school Wednesday afternoon as accolades continue pour in long after the ice has been removed from the Massena Arena.
State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo arrived in Massena shortly after 1 p.m. to meet with the squad and formally recognize their efforts both on and off the ice.
Mr. Griffo also announced the signing of a resolution honoring the team.
“This is important for us to recognize what you all did. I think it’s a really good reflection on who you are as individuals. That’s what I admire most about interscholastic sports. It gives you an opportunity not only to grow and evolve from an athletic perspective, but you’ve also grown as young men,” he said. “I think what you did here - this commitment to excellence that you made and achieved that resulted in a state championship - also proves that you’ve learned a lot on how to be responsible adults as you go further in your careers.”
Mr. Griffo (R-Rome) represents the 47th Senate District, which includes the town of Massena as well as many others in the surrounding area.
He added that the way the players publicly represented themselves was impressive and something they will remember for many years.
“This will be an opportunity that you’ll always remember. This will be a great story to share when you’re as old as (Mayor James F. Hidy) and that’s old. So when you get to that age, you’ll remember this,” Mr. Griffo said. “You were polite, you were courteous, you dressed well and you were bringing this back to Massena and St. Lawrence County and the north country. I think that’s equally as important as sportsmanship - how you conduct yourself, how you interact with one another and what kind of a role model will you be for the young people that are in pee wees or squirts or anything like that right now that are coming through the system.”
Mr. Hidy, who was in attendance for Wednesday’s proclamation, honored the champions during a village board meeting in March.
He was also present for the team’s clincher in Utica, where they defeated Ithaca 4-1.
Mr. Griffo said that his legislation in Albany passed the resolution recognizing the group as champions back in March.
MCHS Principal Patrick J. Farrand was very appreciative of both the team and Mr. Griffo’s efforts.
“I’m really proud of all of the kids obviously from their hard work and dedication. Thanks for recognizing them. I think it’s really important that you do that because they emulate what we want here at the high school,” Mr. Farrand said. “Thanks to the coaching staff. They’re a great representation of the community and keep up the good work.”