CHEERS to a father-daughter team from Methuen that has been devotedly following the UMass Lowell hockey team on its run for a national championship.
Methuen’s Sebastian Bongiorno has been season ticket-holder for the UMass Lowell Riverhawks for nearly two decades. His love for the hockey team has passed on to his daughter, Danielle, who graduated in September from the university with a degree in education.
This year has been a good one for Lowell hockey fans as the team made a run for the national championship. The Riverhawks played Yale last night in the semifinals of the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament in Pittsburgh. And the Bongiornos were there.
So, too, were a lot of Lowell fans. But the Bongiornos almost did not make the trip. Danielle has been undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatments since her diagnosis last October. She only recently got clearance from her doctors for the Pittsburgh trip.
“Danielle’s doctors said she could go to Pittsburgh,” Sebastian told sports editor Bill Burt. “It was incredible news. We have to be back (by Sunday) because she has an important bone marrow biopsy on Monday to hopefully confirm the leukemia is in remission.”
“This is a real special trip,” Danielle said. “I can’t believe I’m here. It’s the first trip I’ve taken in a long time. I’m at the Frozen Four. ... But the best part is I’m here with my father.”
Sports can be a character building experience for those who play. But it can also be life-affirming for those who are mere spectators. We saw that as New Englanders’ emotions poured forth when the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. We see it again on a smaller scale as the bond between a father and daughter is strengthened by their shared love of a hockey team.