Fri, April 30 2021 3:55 PM
By Eric Hulford and Noah Wrazin
Special at Niagara Frontier Publications
Patrick Romano, 23, was a college hockey player at Niagara University. Tragically and unexpectedly, in the wee hours of March 27, Patrick died in a fire at his off-campus home on Wyoming Avenue in Niagara Falls.
Patrick was a junior from Toms River, NJ. His tragic death was made public and took the community by storm, touching the hearts and lives of many, not just those who knew him.
Since the incident, the support from the local community and the university has been nothing short of amazing. There were fundraisers, church services and even a candlelight vigil on the Niagara campus in memory of Patrick. “Spittin ‘Chiclets,” a popular hockey podcast with hundreds of thousands of listeners on the Barstool Sports network, had mentioned Patrick in one of their recent episodes and graced his memory.
It’s not often that one person can rally an entire community and a university behind them, but in Patrick’s case it was different. The memory of Patrick’s dazzling smile, infectiously positive personality, and fun personality will live on forever. Patrick will be remembered for more than just being a beloved hockey player and student. Patrick was the brother of his teammates and everyone who knew him. He was, without a doubt, one of a kind.
Not only was Patrick one of the nicest and most genuine people, but he was also what he called “a mom’s boy.” Patrick’s relationship with his mother, Charlene, was about as close to a relationship a mother and son could have. She was not only his No. 1 supporter, but also his best friend. She often made the seven-hour trip from New Jersey to Niagara to watch almost every home game he was in.
Patrick also liked the sports organizations of the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Flyers. He watched every game, despite the struggle the two teams have gone through in recent years. Patrick and his mom were texting about every game that happened in every game they watched.
Anyone who knew Patrick will forever have a soft spot in his heart for these two sports organizations. It may be a long time, but the day one or the other wins their respective leagues, Patrick will be smiling at us all.
It’s not hard to realize that Patrick’s kind and loving heart was something he got from his mother, Charlene. She treated each of Patrick’s friends with the love and respect that Patrick showed to everyone he met.
Patrick’s best friend and roommate, Curtis Acker, had this to say about him and his mother; “Pat and I’s relationship was special in the fact that I’ve never had someone I clicked so well after meeting them for the first time. I met Patty’s mother, Charlene, on a road trip to Cortland and quickly understood why he was the kind of person he was. It was because of his mother.
He then added, “I would hear it on the phone with her for at least two hours a day. It was an honor to be his best friend while he was here in Niagara. However, if he had a true best friend, it was her.
Patrick played hockey his whole life growing up. He played varsity hockey at Toms River High School East, and for various junior teams later, most recently with the NA3HL Nordic L / A. Eventually, Patrick landed a spot on the ACHA Division I team at Niagara University.
As a player, Patrick played a very physical role as a defender. At 6’2, 230 pounds, Patrick was hard to miss when he stepped onto the ice. He excelled at fulfilling his role as a brutal defender and feared no one.
He was the kind of player who put guys on his left and right in front of him at all costs. If the opposing team took a cheap blow to any of their teammates, Patrick has never failed to do something about it. It was rather ironic, however, because off the ice Patrick was the complete opposite.
“He’s the happiest, most sparkling, and larger-than-life teddy bear. He is literally the happiest person I have ever met in my life, ”said Niagara head coach Tom Mooradian.
Patrick was also a guy his teammates could talk to off the ice for anything, not just hockey. He welcomed everyone with open arms.
“There is so much I could say about Patty,” said Niagara second-year forward Luc Cross, “But the only thing that stood out to me was his kindness to everyone he knew. , no matter how close you got. him. He was truly a light in the dark.
Leave a legacy
On Monday April 19, Niagara University hosted a candlelight vigil in honor of Patrick’s life in front of the Castellani Art Museum. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only people who attend the University of Niagara were allowed to attend, but the turnout was still massive. Father Maher read passages from the Bible and those present sang beautiful songs during this sad but serene evening. Patrick’s hockey coach Tom Mooradian also gave a speech where he said things about the type of person and player Patrick was.
“Pat Romano will always be remembered as the most incredibly genuine human being to ever set foot in our locker room.”
He also said the team will wear purple hearts with Patrick’s number, ’19’ centered on them on the team’s jerseys throughout the 2021-22 ACHA season.
“Patty, we love you. We miss you. You were really too good for this world. We will wear this # 19 purple heart with pride throughout next year.
In the days following Patrick’s tragic death, the community heard his story and insisted on doing all they could to help Patrick’s family and friends. One of the most notable things was a “Go Fund Me” fundraiser, which was launched online in his memory, with 100% of the proceeds going to Patrick’s beloved family. An excerpt from the fundraising page read, “Pat Romano was the purest, most amazing person this world has ever seen. He never failed to make everyone around him smile and laugh. Your legacy will live on forever. “
The fundraiser has now raised over $ 43,000 in total in a short time. Many of the donations that had been made ended with the number “19” as a tribute to Patrick. Donations have come from anyone and everyone who has been touched by Pat and her story, from her closest friends to complete strangers, the community has really made a difference.
Always in our hearts
The loss of Patrick Romano is a terrible tragedy that has affected his family, friends, coaches, teammates and all communities in Niagara Falls, New York and Toms River, NJ. The number of lives that Pat touched during his short stay here is nothing short of amazing. She was a light, genuine soul who passed away too soon. He will be missed but always remembered. Patrick has made a bigger mark on this earth in 23 years than most people have in 90 years.
For more information, see the links below to Patrick’s Family Fundraiser and Patrick’s Obituary.
Rest in peace “One-Nine”. Gone, but never forgotten.
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