Pennisi was 16 years old and the captain of the Pearl River High School hockey team when he was diagnosed. Although he could no longer play for the team, continued in his role as captain of the Pearl River Pirates, skating at practices, attending the games in street clothes and joining his teammates in the locker room between periods to deliver encouragement. All this while he was going through chemotherapy, numerous surgeries, including one to replace his upper left humerus, and four different trial studies,
From the NY Post, a year after Pennisi’s death:
A week ago yesterday, Joey’s No. 36 was retired by his school in a moving ceremony at Sport-O-Rama ice rink in Monsey. Vic Hadfield, who scored 50 goals for the Rangers in the 1971-72 season, attended, presenting Joey’s brothers Tommy and Mickey with No. 36 Rangers jerseys and Tom Pennisi and his wife Barbara a lithograph of himself, Ed Giacomin, Johnny Bucyk and Phil Esposito.
“This is what it’s all about – trying to do what you can do,” said Hadfield, who drove from Toronto for the tributes to Joey on Saturday and Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell at the Garden the next night. “It was an honor to represent the New York Rangers.”
It was just the most recent of many honors Joey Pennisi has received. The Hudson Valley Rolley Hockey League, in which he skated since age 7, renamed its championship trophy the Joe Pennisi Cup, and there is a Joe Pennisi Scholarship for Pearl River High School ice hockey players.
“I don’t know how Joey would have handled all of this attention, but I do know he just wanted to play hockey.” Tom Pennisi said. “He gave us all strength. He truly had strength, determination and courage in abundance.”
On Monday, May 21, the Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River, NY is hosting the 4th Annual Joey Pennisi Memorial Golf Classic at 12 noon. For anyone wishing to golf, call Tom Pennisi 845-598-7927 or Roddy Harrington 845-304-4981, there are slots available. If you can’t attend the event, you can always make a donation to raise awareness and hope for kids like Joey, who are still fighting like he did.