PIX- The Fogoe family was among those who made it out, but lost everything they owned. Their 17-year-old son, Akiel Fogoe, was forced to cancel his plans to attend a hockey goalie camp. He had just saved hundreds of dollars to buy new skates, which burned along with his other gear.
Akiel told PIX11 that goaltending has shaped him both on and off the ice.
“It puts me under a lot of pressure and I think that will help me through life,” he said.
Hockey coach Tom Fogu runs the week-long camp and heard about Akiel’s story. He posted a plea for help on Facebook. Fogu had met Akiel only once before.
“I knew it was something we needed to get involved with,” said Fogu.
The New Jersey Devils and equipment company CCM found out. Today, they delivered new equipment for Akiel on the first day of hockey camp.
“I’ve been playing high school hockey with all used equipment,” said Akiel, “It feels good to have my own.”
Akiel and his family were also invited to the Prudential Center on Friday, where Akiel’s name was hung over Cory Schneider’s locker, the Devils’ goaltender. He put on Schneider’s skates and played on the Devils’ ice.
Good to see that even with Lou Lamoriello, a General Manager that has always prided himself on doing things the 'right' way, away from the organization the Devils still know when to get involved and help out. Not only did they, as well as CCM, get the kid all brand new equipment, but they got him his first ever set of brand new equipment. Growing up a hockey player, I can say that there is nothing more satisfying than getting a brand new stick, or even gloves. I vividly remember sleeping with my brand new skates on multiple occasions as a kid. I can't speak for the goaltender position, but I imagine it's the same considering how much more expensive it is. Not granted, you would hope a kid wouldn't have to go thorough something as traumatic as a house fire to experience that feeling of excitement that comes with a brand new pair of pads, but it's a cool story nonetheless. It's always fulfilling to be able to make a kid happy, no matter how tough times happen to be for him and his family. To help them, and specifically him, forget about things, even if just for a day, is a win in itself. For a kid that never even had gear to call his own it's got to be pretty surreal to walk in and see his name on an official Devils jersey in the Devils locker room. Hopefully that feeling is enough to keep that smile on his face for a long, long time.
P.S. Elephant in the room? It's always good to see you a young black Devils fan that not only loves the sport, but loves playing it as well.