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Wilton Ice Hockey Team Honors Players' Dad With ALS Fundraiser

The Craven family of Wilton (left to right) Amanda, Elizabeth, Eric, Claire, and David, has organized two hockey games against Ridgefield to raise money for ALS. Eric was diagnosed with ALS in 2013.
The Craven family of Wilton (left to right) Amanda, Elizabeth, Eric, Claire, and David, has organized two hockey games against Ridgefield to raise money for ALS. Eric was diagnosed with ALS in 2013. Photo Credit: Contributed

WILTON, Conn. -- High school hockey teams from Wilton and Ridgefield will play on Saturday in Ridgefield to fund ALS research in honor of the father of three Wilton players.

Eric Craven, 47, was diagnosed with ALS in April 2013, following symptoms of grip weakness and tightness in his throat. After confirmation from several of the best neurologists in the world, the Craven family – including Eric’s wife, Claire, and their children, David, Amanda and Elizabeth – had to accept the reality of the situation. Although Eric’s mind would remain sharp, his body would deteriorate, with likely only five years to live.   

When Wilton High School Brett Amero learned of the diagnosis, he approached the family and wanted to help raise awareness of the disease and funds for research.

David, 18, is a senior at Wilton and plays for Amero. Amanda and Elizabeth, juniors at Wilton and identical twins, play on the girls team.

With Amero’s encouragement, they all began brainstorming on how they could tap into the awareness of the Ice Bucket Challenge; include participation by both the boys' and girls' hockey teams; and partner with Wilton’s strongest rival to highlight the importance of battling hard on the ice, but come together to help raise fund for research.

The boys teams play on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Winter Garden Rink in Ridgefield beginning at 4:10 p.m. 

The game will serve as fundraisers for the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. They hope to raise over $40,000 from the games for ALS research.

"No one has more positive influence to your children than their high school coaches,’’ Claire Craven said. “To have them reach out and want to do something special is a gift to Eric he will never be able to replace -- as you can imagine, finding out your dad has a terminal illness when you are in the prime of your life would be devastating for any high schooler -- to know your coaches, teammates and school have your back, is everything.”

For more information and to donate, visit als.net/craven, and follow on social media via hashtag, #IceALS.  

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