PLATTSBURGH — This weekend promises to be an emotional one for Cardinal Hockey.
The Plattsburgh State men's team opens its 2019-20 and State University of New York Athletic Conference season with home games at Stafford Ice Arena against Brockport on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by conference power Geneseo in town on Saturday night.
It will also be ALS Awareness/Alumni Weekend.
The home opener will be filled with anticipation for Cardinal fans, but this year will also mark the return of former Plattsburgh State great Lenny Pereira, who is battling ALS.
Pereira played for Plattsburgh State in the early 1990s and was a two-time Division III All-American as a forward.
For his career, Pereira ranks fourth all-time at Plattsburgh State with 105 goals (one behind current head coach Steve Moffat), fourth in assists with 129 and third in points with 234.
He was inducted into the Cardinal Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016 and looks back fondly on his days as one of the most decorated players in team history.
“They say spending four years in college are the best years of your life,” Pereira said. “I was able to play for one of the premier (Division III) teams in the country, and that made it twice as special. I played on one national championship team (1992) and nearly won another.
“It was about the fellowship, brotherhood, discipline and commitment, along with how to play the game better and have the ability to play somewhere after Plattsburgh.”
Pereira is pleased to see the men's hockey team and members of the community establish a fundraising charity drive for ALS awareness.
“I have the utmost respect respect for Steve Moffat and local people like Jim and Diane Barr who have been able to put this together,” he said. “It speaks volumes for Steve as he has created a charity fundraiser that I hope will continue.
“It shows how important the cause is and hopefully the difference it can make for the future.”
“This is a great opportunity to give back to one of our own,” Moffat said. “We want to help raise awareness for ALS and with the Treg study. Hopefully this fundraiser will be the first of many more for ALS.”
Pereira is looking forward to the weekend and to see old friends. A number of family members will be making the trip to Plattsburgh with him.
“I was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 and saw a lot of friends then,” he said. “Absolutely, I am looking forward to the weekend and seeing everyone.”
“I'm glad his family will be here with him at his alma mater,” Moffat said.
Pereira, a native of Mississauga, Ont., is the president of Franklin Valve LP in Houston, Texas, where he resides with his wife, Rachael (a former Plattsburgh State women's soccer player), and daughters, Kylie and Makayla.
“We will be holding a silent auction with a number of professional sports items on the indoor track before the games, during intermission and following games both nights,” Moffat said. “We also have raffle items from local vendors and restaurants.
“We will be wearing special jerseys both nights, and they will be auctioned off.”