Inspirational Ellington Athlete to Get Bob Casey Courage Award
ELLINGTON, Dec. 19, 2019 -- A determined ice hockey player who has succeeded at the high school level despite being born with only one hand has been selected recipient of the Bob Casey Courage Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance.
Caden Gesualdi, a junior at Ellington High School who is beginning his third season with the Tri-Town ice hockey team, will be among the honorees at the 79th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Born without a right hand, Gesualdi plays with a two-part prosthesis; the socket is custom-fitted to his arm, which ends just below his elbow, and attached to that is a terminal device, with which he holds his hockey stick.
He began learning to skate at age 5, and that same year joined the South Windsor Youth Hockey Association mite program. More than a decade later, he is a solid contributor to a high school program which played in the Division III championship game at Yale University in 2018, his freshman season.
Gesualdi reached a milestone during his freshman campaign, when he scored a goal on Feb. 12, 2018 against the Newington co-op team. It is believed to be the first goal ever scored by a one-handed player in Connecticut high school hockey history. He scored two goals and notched two assists in his sophomore year, when Tri-Town reached the state quarterfinals.
He has some inspirational words to aspiring youth athletes facing situations similar to his - "Just because you are facing a challenge doesn't mean you can't do something if you set your mind to it."
Gold Key Award recipients for 2020 are five legendary scholastic coaches: Cookie Bromage (Enfield field hockey), Joe Grippo (Morgan girls volleyball and girls basketball), Lou Milardo (Hale-Ray softball), Ricky Shook (Danbury wrestling) and Angela Tammaro (Greenwich Academy field hockey and lacrosse). Baseball Hall of Fame honoree Claire Smith, 2017 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, will receive the President's Award.
The Gold Key Dinner was inaugurated in 1940, with baseball legend Connie Mack and golf superstar Bobby Jones among the initial recipients.
The roster of honorees since then reads like a Who's Who of Connecticut sports – Joe Cronin, Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling, Dwight Freeney and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen are just a few of the past Gold Key winners. A complete list is available at www.ctsportswriters.com.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.