WEST GOSHEN >> Nothing can bridge the gap between opponents in sports like a sense of community and charity, and that’s exactly what happened Wednesday night in the midst of regular season games in the EPIHA Ches-Mont conference in boys high school ice hockey.
In the first ever Primo Cup, Downingtown East and Downingtown West faced off for bragging rights, but also for charity.
Dave Hendricks, head coach of the D-East boys, was a main piece in the idea. The wife of a good friend of his passed away from breast cancer and he always felt he wanted to do something in memory of her.
A foundation was started for her shortly after and money raised from the sale of the Primo Cup shirts during the game — which you could buy in either blue or yellow — and the 50/50 raffle all went to that foundation.
Primo Hoagies in Downingtown sponsored the new tournament and also donated to the cause.
“It’s part of us giving back,” Hendricks said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
Hendricks himself became a big part of the charitable spirit by raffling off the chance to cut his hair.
If you know the coach, then you know it’s more than just a quick clip.
“When she passed, I started growing our my hair,” he said. “It has been a long process. I had to cut it for weddings and the summers were unbearable, but I always wanted to do something in memory of her.”
Hendricks grew out his wavy locks until they reached just below his shoulders — a suitable length to donate to Locks of Love.
After the game came to an end, which was quite a thrilling end for the family, friends and alumni (the game-winning goal came with 8.7 seconds left foe D-West), Hendricks sat in his makeshift styling chair and awaited his fate.
Trevor Cohn and Riley Wilson, the past two captains of D-East, won the raffle to snip the hair of their former coach.
“Somehow they won, but I’m happy they did,” Hendricks said.
It may have taken years for Hendricks to grow his hair, but it took less than two minutes for it to disappear.
“There are a lot more grays in here than I thought there were going to be,” the coach joked as each former captain handed him a section of his cut-off locks.
When all was said and done, Hendricks had in his hand more than enough hair to make someone in need a very happy person.
Even before all that took place, West Chester Henderson held its own special event before its game against West Chester East.
Warriors head coach Scott DiRico planned a special tribute night for Barry Burgoyne, a 2002 graduate and former player for Henderson who passed away in August from cancer at just 30 years old.
He left behind his wife, Michelle Oakes Burgoyne, and 3-year-old twins Giuliana and Luca.
“I played alongside Barry in middle school and through all of high school,” DiRico said. “He was a good friend and this was something we needed to do. He put a ton into the program.”
As part of the tribute, Henderson retired Burgoyne’s No. 97 and DiRico presented his family with a framed jersey with his name and number and two little jerseys for his children.
“It was nice to do something for Barry,” DiRico said. “He was a good friend.”
DiRico and other members of the 2002 Henderson hockey team were able to reunite one more time with their teammate last Christmas in an adult men’s league game.
“Barry was there, which was amazing, given the fact that he had just finished receiving another round of treatments,” DiRico said in a speech during the pregame ceremony. “To be able to skate with Barry one last time and to see his fight and determination was stronger than ever was truly inspiring ... and something we will always remember.”