Carl Sasyn, '92: Hockey with a Heart
November 7, 2013 by Lisa M. McMahon, MA'09
On May 31, 2013, four Houston firefighters lost their lives and several others were injured battling a five-alarm restaurant and motel fire in southwest Houston. It was the worst tragedy in the Houston Fire Department's history.
Two weeks later, more than 1,000 people attended the inaugural 51/68 First Responder Memorial Cup at Ice Skate USA in the Memorial City Mall in Houston. Rink manager Carl Sasyn, '92, was one of the organizers of the event, which pitted the Houston Enforcers Hockey Club (police officers) and the Houston Fire (firefighters) in a “Guns vs. Hoses” benefit to raise funds for the firefighters' families.
Carl donated the use of the rink and solicited donations from contacts he had made with area sports franchises that were used in a raffle and silent auction. “The support from the community and the donations we received in that short amount of time were unbelievable,” he says. “Nobody said no.”
More than $45,000 was raised and donated to the firefighters' union for disbursement, and it is hoped that the event will be held annually, with proceeds going to the firefighters' and police officers' unions.
This is not the first time Carl has been involved in charitable events ”“ on behalf of Rink Management Services, he frequently offers the use of his rink to local community organizations. In fact, he's taken on the unofficial role of “benefit director” for the company, for which he also serves as regional manager. “We never say no to a request,” he says. “The community benefits and we enjoy being able to do it.”
Rink Management Services' commitment to give back to the communities in which it does business is one of the things that attracted Carl to the organization 11 years ago. It's a philosophy that “meshed with what I was taught growing up,” he explains, noting that his friendships with the Niagara University Vincentians inspired his desire to serve others. His mother, Llewellyn Sasyn, worked as secretary to the superior at the Vincentian House in Niagara Falls and served as presidential secretary for Rev. Donald Harrington, Rev. Brian O'Connell, and Rev. Paul Golden, so Carl got to know Niagara's priests and brothers and learned about the Vincentian tradition of service to others at an early age. It's a tradition he has embraced both personally and professionally.
“My family, my wife, Niagara University and the relationships I have shared with the Vincentians have instilled a sense of obligation when people are in need,” he says. “I was honored to play a key role in the planning and execution of the benefit.”