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East Islip's Vuolo honors father in special way on ice
Before he takes the ice, Jared Vuolo writes 'DAD' on his stick. There's so much meaning behind that for the East Islip center, who goes above and beyond for everyone he knows.
At 13 years old, Vuolo lost his father, Ralph, to a sudden heart attack while the two were playing video games at his house.
Since, Vuolo has honored his father in every which way he can.
"He always said give 100 percent in whatever you do," Vuolo said. "Like every shift, give it my all. Down 9-0, or close games, just keep skating. Never stop."
Ralph would be proud of his son regardless of his performance, which has been impressive, to say the least. As the Redmen’s top line center, Vuolo finished eighth in the Suffolk High School Hockey League in scoring with 20 goals and nine assists.
That was in 19 games played for East Islip (11-6-3), which will join St. John the Baptist and Smithtown-Hauppauge in the state championship, Feb. 28 to March 1-2, in Saugerties, N.Y.
“He’s our leader. Teams look out for him,” Redmen sixth-year coach Dennis DaSilva said of Vuolo, 17. “It makes me proud to say I’ve been a part of this kid’s life. He’s a kind soul.”
So kind is Vuolo that the senior is there for his fellow special education students, inviting those that live close by to his house to come and play basketball after school. He said they talk hoops and talk about anything else going on in the world.
“I just do what I can do for them,” Vuolo said. “It makes me feel better. I want the best for everyone.”
And his father wants the best for him.
“He’s always been my inspiration to play hockey,” said Vuolo, whose older brothers—Cody, 23, and Brandon, 20—both played for East Islip. “He always went to all my games. He’s always with me on and off the ice.”
The Redmen beat the defending county champs, Connetquot-Sayville, 3-2 in the first round, before losing to Smithtown-Hauppauge, 3-2, in the semis.
The Bulls captured this year’s county title after their 6-2 win on Wednesday. Smithtown-Hauppauge won 4-3 in Game 1.
“For us, going to states, it’s kind of redemption,” said DaSilva, who called Redmen goalkeeper Ryan Martensen one of his standout players and one of the best goalies in the league. “We get another shot. Our last hurrah. It’s a sad moment because it’s an end of an era.”