January 31, 2005
Aquilone’s commitment to athletes remembered The Jacob Javits Center once again played host to the New York City Regional Tournament, but this year’s tournament took on a different tone, as athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff, family and friends remembered Peter Aquilone’s life-long commitment to Special Olympic athletes. Peter worked for Special Olympics New York (SONY) for more than two years and in that time he helped the organization grow in immeasurable ways. One of his crowning achievements was bringing the regional floor hockey tournament to the Javits Center and getting the trade unions to help set up the event.
Unfortunately Peter passed away last year, but his drive to bring top-notch competitive opportunities to SONY athletes will never be forgotten. With Peter’s spirit in mind the SONY Board of Director recently approved a measure renaming the annual Regional Floor Hockey Tournament the “Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament.”
On Saturday, January 22nd, athletes from the New York City Region took part in the competition. After Opening Ceremonies, SONY President and C.E.O. Neal J. Johnson officially announced the renaming of the tournament to the “Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament.” Special Olympic athlete and Global Messenger Rodney Hankins spoke of his relationship with Peter, and how Peter helped motivate him to shrive for higher goals.
Peter’s father Edward Aquilone spoke on behold of his family, recounting a memory he shared with his son at one of the first tournaments, in which an athlete tracked down Peter to congratulate him for giving the athlete the opportunity to compete. Edward Aquilone said that was always Peter’s number one goal.
Despite the snow storm that hammered the Northeast, which kept some teams from traveling, those who were there enjoyed a competitive afternoon. Once the games were complete the players received their awards and quickly got on buses and started the long and snowy rides home. “Peter was on the minds of everyone at the tournament,” said SONY President and C.E.O., Neal J. Johnson. “His dedication to our athletes will not be forgotten and now his memory will be in the hearts of countless athletes, volunteers, coaches, and staff for many years to come.”