N-W faculty battles Sabres Alumni to support great causes
By David Yarger
Tuesday night a couple thousand people gathered at the Niagara-Wheatfield High School gym for a basketball game between the Niagara-Wheatfield faculty and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni. The evening was more than a fun pickup game, though, as proceeds from the game benefitted the Bald for Bucks association in honor of the late James Campbell, who passed away in August due to cancer.
To receive funds, attendees paid a small amount to enter the game and then there were various basket and 50/50 raffles, as well as concessions that were all donated in honor of Campbell, whose family was brought out to center court in the second half and presented a basketball signed by the Sabres Alumni.
Members of the Sabres Alumni included Matt Ellis, Danny Gare, Patrick Kaleta, Zenon Konopka, Craig Muni, fan-favorite Rob Ray, Darryl Shannon, Ric Seiling, Derek Smith and Morris Titanic.
For Ray, on behalf of the entire alumni, he said donating for a good cause was essential.
"It's very important for us," Ray said. "We love getting out and we love helping out and there's so many great things that go on in our community and we wanna be as supportive as possible to make it successful. Fortunately, it was two great things tied together in one; we had a lot of fun, I think we raised an awful lot of money, too. So, I think with everyone working together it makes everybody successful."
The Niagara-Wheatfield faculty roster included Errick Road Elementary gym teacher Marianna Hayes; Niagara-Wheatfield High School Principal Mike Mann; N-WHS Vice Principal Paul Galgovich; N-WHS math teacher Dan Krolewski; Edward Town Middle teacher John Coulter; N-WHS global history teacher Kris Cudzilo; N-WHS health teacher Jim Proefrock; N-WHS business teachers Greg Grosskopf and Kevin Shucker; N-WHS Athletic Director Matt McKenna; N-WHS math teacher Ryan Coyne; N-WHS government and economics teach Steve Miller; N-WHS gym teacher Kristin Wegrzyn; N-WHS math teacher Jim Pachla; N-WHS economics, introduction to law and sociology teacher Alan Pogel; N-WHS history and government teacher Eric Belter; N-WHS global history teacher Robert Nemi; and special announcer was Tuscarora Elementary gym teacher Cory Turner.
McKenna praised not only the event, but Campbell, saying, "It's a great cause with Bald for Bucks and Jim Campbell. Jim was a wonderful guy. ... He was really an icon here that did a lot and was always here for the kids, day and night, with being the assistant principal and recently ... as our athletic director."
McKenna added that following Campbell as the athletic director was big shoes to fill, because of the person he was and what he did for the community and the entire N-W program.
At halftime during the event, multiple students and faculty decided to go Bald for Bucks to help the cause. Also, Sabres Alumni were available to sign autographs and take pictures.
In the end, the game resulted in a 49-49 tie, as student and Falcons girls basketball player Taylor Benton was called upon to sink the game-tying free throw for the faculty. The faculty also received some generous scorekeeping near the end from Falcons boys basketball teammates Ben Devantier and Anthony Ruffino.
Nevertheless, the community came out in full force to help a good cause and were able to see some of their favorite past Sabres, as well as Niagara-Wheatfield faculty entertain them in a beneficial and fun manner.
The Niagara-Wheatfield faculty and Sabres Alumni pose for a picture following their 49-49 tie Tuesday night.
Rob Ray signs autographs for kids at halftime.
Several faculty and students pose with their new hair-do after going Bald for Bucks.
Teacher Eric Belter prepares for a buzzcut, as he went Bald for Bucks Tuesday night.
Teacher and N-W assistant hockey coach Ryan Coyne poses with his new buzzcut.
Taylor Benton of the N-W girls basketball team drains a free throw for the faculty to tie the game at 49.