Friends team up for mitzvah project

Danny Brickman (Congregation Shaare Emeth) & Jordan Stern (Temple Israel)

Adapted from a story by Matt Grover, originally published in “Hockey Stop” Magazine -- Reprinted with Permission

Danny Brickman (Congregation Shaare Emeth) & Jordan Stern (Temple Israel)

Childhood friends, Danny and Jordan were in search of a bar mitzvah project they could do together. They wanted to do something a little different, but it had to revolve around hockey. Danny, son of Sharol and Steve Brickman of Chesterfield, plays hockey in the Chesterfield Falcons organization and Jordan, son of Martina and Jeffrey Stern of Creve Coeur, plays with the Rockets. “Hockey is my passion and has been basically my entire life,” Jordan said.

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After much brainstorming, the boys came up with Skate for Friends, a 12-hour hockey and skating benefit designed to raise awareness and money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. The boys knew about Friends of Kids with Cancer because Jordan’s grandfather has been a long time supporter and lay leader of the organization. In addition, Danny’s connected to the organization through his parents’ friendship with the group’s board president, Allen Brockman (Founder and Director of Camp Rainbow).

With their mission in hand, Danny and Jordan, and their families, met with the organization’s executive director, Judy Ciapciak. She loved the idea and gave the boys her endorsement to move forward with the project.

“We got the ice from the Hardee’s Iceplex and we just started soliciting people we knew that wanted to get involved,” said Danny. Jordan was a little nervous before the event, concerned about convincing enough people to attend the entire day. “In the end, it turned out to be a fairly easy sell,” Danny said.

Among the participating groups were Northern Edge Hockey who ran skills clinics and Winterland Hockey, which donated money to the cause. Chill Frozen Yogurt provided frozen yogurt to the event patrons.

Highlights of the day included a skate and pizza party for the families who have been or were currently being helped by Friends of Kids with Cancer and a special scrimmage game between the Gateway Locomotives, a hockey organization for developmentally challenged youth and adults, and Lafayette High School. Both Danny, a student at Parkway Central Middle School, and Jordan, a student at Ladue Middle School, officiated the game.

What started out as a bar mitzvah project quickly morphed into an overwhelming success. Approximately 175 people attended the event and nearly $4,000 was raised. Danny said, “At the end of the day we had this check [to present] and we were kind or like ‘whoa, this is going to help a lot of kids.'”

Jordan said that he was very proud of their friends and the entire hockey community for stepping up and being so incredibly generous.

While the money was important, it wasn’t the main objective behind the Skate for Friends event. The motive was to bring kids together for a common cause, said Danny. And stories, such as the one of a six-year old boy donating $30 from his piggybank, contributed to making the event the success that it was.

The overwhelming success and participation of the benefit has generated discussions of making it an annual event, with thoughts of expanding it to include corporate sponsors. “This is something I think we definitely want to do again and build upon,” Danny said. “I honestly had a great time all day and I’d do it again, anytime. I even got to skate for ten hours straight for the first time, although my legs really hurt the next morning,” Jordan added.

Friends of Kids with Cancer is devoted to enriching the daily lives of children undergoing treatment for cancer and blood related diseases. Its mission is to be an advocate for these special kids and provide them and their families with the recreational, educational, and emotional support needed throughout the long hours of treatment, illness and isolation. To make a donation in Danny and Jordan’s honor or for more information, please visit their website at www.friendsofkids.com.