Connecticut Whale players in 'bowl-a-thon' for Special Olympics

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Sat., Dec. 3, 2011
Connecticut Whale players met Special Olympics Connecticut athletes for a 'bowl-a-thon' fundraiser at Silver Lanes on Nov. 27. Connecticut Whale player Stu Bickel bowled with team members Ryan Paggioli, Billy Grant, Brendan Prattson and Brendan Puiia. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Connecticut Whale players met Special Olympics Connecticut athletes for a 'bowl-a-thon' fundraiser at Silver Lanes on Nov. 27. Connecticut Whale player Stu Bickel bowled with team members Ryan Paggioli, Billy Grant, Brendan Prattson and Brendan Puiia. Photos by Frances Taylor.

Players from the Connecticut Whale hockey team came to the AMF Silver Lanes bowling alley on Nov. 27 for annual ‘bowl-a-thon’ to raise money for Special Olympics Connecticut.

The event, now in its 10th year, brought the hockey players and Special Olympic athletes together for a day of fun. Many of the Special Olympics athletes are members of the bowling team.

“Over the years, this event has raised thousands of dollars in support of Special Olympics programs,” said Jackie Turro, director of development for Special Olympics Connecticut. A minimum pledge level of $200 is required for a team to enter, and the top fund-raising teams win prizes, including the use of luxury suites at Whale home games.

The organization offers 26 sports – from basketball and bowling to skiing and swimming - for special athletes. This year's Special Olympics Connecticut games will be held March 3-4 in Milford, Conn.

The mission of Special Olympics Connecticut is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with developmental disabilities. More than 5,000 athletes participate in Special Olympics programs annually in Connecticut.

Ryan Paggioli and Billy Grant have been on the bowling team for the past 10 years. “I've been playing since 1995 and I really like bowling,” Paggioli said. They were accompanied by Connecticut Whale defensive player Stu Bickel, who joined the team last year, and participated in the event for the first time this year. “They are really good,” Bickel said of Paggioli and other members of the bowling team. “I did this when I played in Green Bay. It’s a good cause and a lot of fun for everybody.”

Lee Baldwin and Cam Talbot of the Connecticut Whale were also among the players that participated in the event. “It’s very rewarding to help out,” Talbot said. “It’s a really great cause.''

The hockey players and Special Olympic athletes were also joined by students from RHAM High School who sent 15 teams to the bowl-a-thon. The DECA Club, an organization of future business students, has raised funds for the bowl-a-thon for the past six years.

“We have 50 students participating today,” said Tim Landry, a RHAM High School teacher who leads the DECA. “We've been doing this for about six years, and in that time we probably raised about $20,000 for Special Olympics Connecticut,” Landry said.


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