Skating for a cause in Portsmouth

PHS senior Max Dooley hosts second annual charity hockey game benefitting young adults with disabilities

By Kristen Ray
Posted 2/18/20

PORTSMOUTH — Aquidneck Island athletes took to the ice for a good cause recently when Portsmouth High School and the Rogers/Middletown-Rocky Hill Co-op team participated in the second annual …

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Skating for a cause in Portsmouth

PHS senior Max Dooley hosts second annual charity hockey game benefitting young adults with disabilities

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Aquidneck Island athletes took to the ice for a good cause recently when Portsmouth High School and the Rogers/Middletown-Rocky Hill Co-op team participated in the second annual charity hockey game beneftting the Rhode Island Social Skills Academy/Robin’s Nest.

Held at Portsmouth Abbey on Feb. 9, the game was organized by PHS student Max Dooley as his senior project, expanding upon the event he and his hockey coach, Bryan Kriner, founded last year. 

Despite being thrown together in about two weeks’ time, Max said, the 2019 inaugural event still managed to raise around $3,500 for RISSA/Robin’s Nest, a nonprofit dedicated to providing social and educational supports for young adults with special needs transitioning into life after high school.  

It was a mission close to both of their hearts. Mr. Kriner has a sister with special needs, and Max’s younger brother, Mason, has autism. 

Though Max has watched his brother, currently a sophomore, grow and thrive through PHS’ special education program, there was always that question mark about what would happen after graduation. 

“It’s good to know that there are other places that will just pick up right where they left off and keep building up my brother and others like him,” Max said. 

To help make this year’s event even more successful, Max went around to local businesses in Portsmouth, hanging up posters, requesting sponsorships or asking for donations. He managed to collect over 50 prizes to raffle off at Sunday’s game. 

“We tried to get the whole community on board,” Max said. 

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, the stands at Portsmouth Abbey were nearly as packed as they were for a typical RMR-rivalry match. But just like last year, Max decided to shake up the roster, drafting two new teams mixed with both PHS and RMR players. 

With a ceremonial puck-drop from Robin’s Nest members and mini-scrimmages from the Newport Whalers youth leagues between periods, the day’s focus was more on community and fun. 

“It’s just a very different atmosphere and change of pace from the regular rivalry game,” Max said. 

Yet that didn’t mean the players didn’t give it their all on the ice, Max said. After three periods of play, the game ended in a 7-7 tie, with both teams wishing they could compete in overtime. 

The real victory, however, came when Max saw the final tally of how much the event raised — $6,200, nearly double from last year. 

“It was just good to see all the hard work pay off,” he said. 

Big plans

Even though he will be graduating from PHS in just a few months’ time, Max said he hopes to remain connected with RISSA/Robin’s Nest one way or another — especially if his brother becomes involved in the program. 

Moving forward, Max intends to pursue pre-med in college, with ambitions of becoming a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and working with children with special needs.

“It’s definitely a pathway that I am trying to choose to follow,” he said. 

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.