By Eric Dickervitz
For the past 12 years, the communities of Barrington, Bristol and Warren have come together to remember a former Mt. Hope High School hockey player who always wanted to bring the enthusiasm of the Thanksgiving Day football rivalry to his sport.
From that wish, the J.P. Medeiros, Jr. Memorial Cup hockey game began as a way to honor the former Mt. Hope player and to raise scholarship money to help other student athletes.
J.P.’s parents, Maryem, and J.P. Medeiros, Sr. remain active in high school athletics despite the passing of their only child when he was involved in an auto accident in April 2002.
“He always said we should play Barrington,” said Maryem Medeiros.
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the Barrington girls’ team faced Narragansett and Eagles’ and Huskies’ boys’ teams faced off at the Portsmouth Abbey ice rink. And although J.P. Medeiros, Jr. was not there to play, his memory was not forgotten.
Mr. Medeiros, who recently retired as a physical education teacher from Barrington High School continues to announce the games for the Huskies. And on Wednesday, Ms. Medeiros continued to do what she always did — arrived early at the hockey rink where her son would play. But this time, rather than unloading hockey equipment, she unloaded photographs, posters of newspapers articles and other memorabilia to display.
“It’s a part of him. What we’re able to do is put all he stood for, his character, and honor his memory,” Ms. Medeiros said.
The scoreboard favored the Eagles in this year’s ‘Thanksgiving on Ice’ game, but it wasn’t the 4-0 outcome that seemed to matter. The real goal was continuing J.P.’s vision through the players, family and friends who came to support the boys’ and girls’ teams that took part.
Both teams play to win, said Barrington head coach Derek Borek, but do so mindful of how that particular game came to be.
“They enjoy it,” Mr. Borek said of the rivalry. “And they know it’s a friendly rivalry.”
The money raised from the event is distributed to other students going to college. The recipients have gone from one in 2003, to as many as six in 2012.
Those who remember J.P. said he lived up to the quote he used in the Huskies yearbook the year he graduated: “Every day of my life, I will try to make somebody smile.”
By Eric Dickervitz