By MARK EVERSON Last Updated: 11:21 AM, November 21, 2009 Posted: 3:35 AM, November 21, 2009
Some games matter far more than others.
The Devils' Alumni will play one that really counts at Newark's Prudential Center on Dec. 13, when they face the Jersey City Police Department team in a foundation benefit for the family of slain detective Marc Anthony DiNardo.
In addition, the Devils officially will honor DiNardo at their Dec. 18 NHL game against Ottawa in Newark. The Devils -- who face the Stars in Dallas tonight (MSG Plus 2, WFAN-660 AM) -- are making available tickets to that game through the Marc DiNardo Memorial Foundation to benefit the fund with a portion of the proceeds.
DiNardo died July 21, five days after being shot while attempting to apprehend two suspects accused of shooting a robbery victim and another police officer. Three more officers were shot in the gunfight that ultimately cost DiNardo his life.
The benefit Alumni-JCPD game initially was to be played in the Devils' practice facility, the AmeriHealth Pavilion. But Devils chairman Jeff Vanderbeek decided the game should be played in the 17,625-seat Prudential Center, to more appropriately honor DiNardo, a hockey player himself, and to accommodate the Marc DiNardo Foundation's supporters, as well as law enforcement officers and their supporters from across the tri-state area.
"Prudential Center is honored to celebrate Detective Dinardo and his love for the sport of hockey," Vanderbeek said. "We greatly respect his service to protect Jersey City residents and want to help create a lasting memorial to his heroism."
Committed to play in the alumni-police game are Ken Daneyko, Bruce Driver, Randy Velischek, Jimmy Dowd, Chico Resch, Valeri Zelepukin, Rob Skrlac and Grant Marshall. Tickets will be $20.
"This is our first game at a bigger venue, and the reason is the scope of what's being done. Marc Anthony DiNardo is the first, and hopefully only, New Jersey police officer killed in the line of duty this year, and we're hoping this will help," said Driver, a former Devils captain and a director of the team's alumni association.
DiNardo, 37, leaves his wife, three preschool children and his parents. He was the 38th Jersey City policeman killed in the line of duty since the force's inception in 1829. A 10-year veteran of the force, DiNardo was a Jersey City native and graduated from Hudson Catholic High School, where he played hockey, and St. Peter's College.