Utica Observer-Dispatch–Burns, Alteri’s receive ‘special’ moment with Stanley Cup
Burns, Alteri’s receive ‘special’ moment with Stanley Cup
CLINTON — Lisa Burns choked up when she shared the up-close-and-personal meeting her son, David Jr., had with the Stanley Cup.
David Jr., a 28-year-old with cerebral palsy, experienced an intimate moment with the Cup at Alteri’s Restaurant in Clinton on Sunday, when the local staple was one of the stops the coveted NHL championship trophy made during public and private appearances throughout the village in commemoration of Clinton Arena winning the 2018 Kraft Hockeyville USA contest.
Congrats to Clinton Arena on winning the#HockeyvilleUSA grand prize of $150,000 and an NHL preseason game in the fall.
You all did it. You should be proud.pic.twitter.com/vG86TQlJbd
Before leaving Alteri’s, Stanley Cup keeper Mike Bolt placed the Stanley Cup right on top of David Jr.’s tray, letting the hockey fan take in a special moment beside the silver and nickel alloy trophy, quickly becoming the center of attention during photo opportunities at the packed restaurant with his mother beside him.
“To me, it was special,” Lisa Burns said. “That just made my heart. …”
“It was really special,” added Fran Alteri, David Jr.’s uncle and third-generation owner of Alteri’s. ”(Bolt) was phenomenal.”
The Hockeyville USA celebration continues Tuesday, culminating with a 7 p.m. NHL preseason game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres at the Clinton Arena. Tickets for the game are no longer available, but it will be televised live by NBC Sports Network (channel 38 in the Utica area).
Fran Alteri had no clue the Stanley Cup was going to visit the restaurant his grandfather, John, first opened on Valentine’s Day in 1953 — coincidentally the same year the then four-year-old Clinton Arena was rebuilt four months after a fire burned it down. NHL representatives booked a party at Alteri’s from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, adding that there may be “special guest.”
Alteri’s is generally closed Sundays and Mondays, but opened its doors for the Hockeyville celebrations. The restaurant was crowded by the end of the NHL’s dinner, which took place in a private room beyond the public dining area.
Alteri said that Bolt originally planned to carry the Stanley Cup straight out of the restaurant without stopping, slowly strolling so diners can admire and take photos of the trophy. Bolt had a change of heart when he noticed David Jr. by the kitchen wearing a Columbus Blue Jackets shirt.
“As soon as he came through those doors, the roof just blew off the place,” Alteri said.
The Stanley Cup made six public and private visits Sunday throughout Clinton. It began the day with the Hamilton College men’s and women’s hockey team at Sage Rink, then surprised the Penree family. The Cup then made a trip to the Brookdale Clinton exceptional senior living center, had a public viewing at Clinton Arena, and stopped at the Clinton ABC House before ending up at Alteri’s.
Plenty of Clinton Central hockey alumni came back for the four-day long commemoration.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Alteri, a 1987 grad who skated at Clinton and Geneseo State. “I used to look up to them.”
The 65-year-old Clinton restaurant is a local hockey shrine. Many of its local hockey memorabilia were gifts following February’s “Thank You, Albert Prettyman” celebration, which was organized by Andy Burns in February. The Hockeyville USA grand prize gave the 69-year-old arena $150,000 toward rink renovations and an NHL preseason game between the Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets, which selected fans will witness at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“If it wasn’t for Andy, this never happens,” Alteri said.
Congratulations to Clinton, in upstate New York and its hugely successful weekend of hockey. Let’s not forget the unsung hero of all this who made it possible, ANDY BURNS. Never could have happened without Andy!
The four-day long celebration began Saturday with a pancake breakfast at Lutheran Care Church, a Clinton Youth Hockey BBQ, an NHL Alumni autograph session and question-and-answer event at the Village Green & Park Row, and a family movie at the CCS Theater.
On Sunday, Clinton native and former NHL native Nick Palmieri took part in a community skate with Clinton Youth Hockey, figure skating club, Clinton Central and Hamilton College hockey players at Clinton Arena. A Clinton Central Alumni game also took place to go along with the Stanley Cup Visit.
On Monday, a fundraising dinner for the Clinton Arena Improvement Fund at Hamilton College featuring former NHL player and current NBC sports analyst Jeremy Roenick took place. Clinton Comets such as Borden Smith and Dave Armstrong were honorary guests at the gala, where 250 people sold out the dinner.
Today I visited a few places in Clinton while the village celebrates its Hockeyville USA win, including Alteri’s, Clinton Arena, and the fundraising gala at Hamilton College.pic.twitter.com/y9uEoHVOWJ
“I think it’s all great that this has happened here, and certainly well deserved for a town like Clinton that is so actively involved in hockey,” said Smith, who skated for the Comets from 1965 to 1973.
On Tuesday, the public is encouraged to welcome the Sabres and Blue Jackets as they arrive to Clinton Arena on the red carpet from 9 to 10 a.m. A pep rally is free and open to the public at 5 p.m. before fans with tickets attend the 7 p.m. preseason game.
“I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Armstrong, who played for the Comets from 1963 to 1971. “With the 100 years celebration of hockey in Clinton, this is so fitting that they won Kraft Hockeyville. … The game at Clinton Arena will be the topping on the cake.”
Contact reporter Marquel Slaughter at 315-792-4963 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Slaughter).