Alumni Spotlights

Nicholas Bruno, BBA’15: Hitting the Ice for a Good Cause

June 21, 2018 by Lisa M. McMahon, MA'09

Nicholas Bruno, BBA'15, and his fiancée, Taylor Wilkesmore, BA’16.

Nicholas Bruno, BBA'15, and his fiancée, Taylor Wilkesmore, BA’16.

Last year, Nicholas Bruno, BBA’15, watched his father, John, participate in the inaugural 11 Day Power Play– an event that leverages Buffalo’s “loud and proud” hockey tradition to raise money for cancer research. This year, Nick is taking a four-hour shift on the ice himself, playing to honor his grandmother, June, who lost her battle for cancer when he was a baby, and his father, whom he describes as an “absolute warrior” while training for the grueling hockey game.

“Seeing that discipline and determination he had to honor the cause to raise money for cancer research was amazing,” Nick says. “It was cool to see him working so hard and arguably getting into the best shape of his life to make sure he was able to play for the 11 days straight.”

Forty players rotated four-hour shifts to keep the game going during the event, which earned the title of World’s Longest Hockey Game (251 hours) and raised $1.2 million for Roswell Park Cancer Center. Nick watched most of the shifts that his father played, and was also there for the final buzzer of the game, when the players celebrated their collective victory.

“The emotion in the arena was overwhelming,” he says, “an arena filled with selfless people who had dedicated so much time and effort to achieve the goal. I knew if I ever got the chance, I wanted to be a part of actually helping the foundation instead of just being a person in the stands.”

So this year, Nick, who played youth and travel hockey at Niagara for the Junior Purple Eagles (winning a national championship), will join about 1,700 other hockey players at HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y., to participate in the 11 Day Power Play Community Shift, which will feature 120 teams playing in 60 four-hour shifts of one single game from July 5-15.

While the specifics of the game have changed a bit, the motivation behind it has not: The primary beneficiary of the funds raised during the event is once again Roswell Park. In addition, proceeds will also go to Camp Good Days and the Make a Wish Foundation of Western New York.

Those 11 days in July will have an additional significance to Nick--On Saturday, July 14, he and his fiancée, Taylor Wilkesmore, BA’16, will be married in the Alumni Chapel at Niagara University.