Nunn leaves mark at Holy Cross with 'Power Play Points' promo
by Alan Lessels/Correspondent
Power plays are paying off at Holy Cross. Literally.
Thanks to senior forward from Brandon Nunn, a guy from western New York who borrowed an idea from another guy from New York and ran with it, power plays at Holy Cross pay dividends for a great cause.
Last year, Nunn’s “Power Play Points for Pink” raised $4,000 for PINK Revolution, a central Massachusetts-based group dedicated to breast cancer research and patients, through pledges and donations solicited for each power-play goal Holy Cross scores at home. He hopes to raise at least two or three times that amount this season.
“It’s all Brandon,” said Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl. “It’s his legwork and his passion. It’s great to help different causes with people and money and this and that, and it’s even better when the kids are passionate about helping. This is legit with him. He’s all in. He’s got people coming to meetings from all around campus. He’s drawn the women’s program into it, too.”
Nunn, who grew up in Fairport just outside Rochester and helped McQuaid Jesuit High School there win a state championship (see HockeyTown, Page 32), has developed a committee this year that is comprised of representatives from each of the teams and others on campus — of various class years — with the intention of keeping the program going well beyond his graduation this spring.
The approach Nunn takes to his project is not unlike one he takes to hockey or school or golf — he’s a member of and has won junior championships at the acclaimed Oak Hill Country Club, the site of the PGA Championship next August, back home — or other things in life.
“When he does something, he puts his all into it,” said Randi Nunn, Brandon’s mother. “If he’s going to do something, he does it right or he doesn’t do it. We’re very proud of him.”
Nunn is one of 20 Division 1 players in the country, six of whom are from Atlantic Hockey, being considered for the Senior CLASS award. The award honors a commitment to community, classroom, character and competition, and the winner will be announced during the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh in April.
The idea for Power Plays for Pink grew out of a program family friend Sam Paolini (Rochester, N.Y.) put together while he was playing at Cornell in the early 2000s.
“He did a similar thing,” Brandon said. “I wanted to find a way to give back.”
Holy Cross has “Crusaders for Kids” in which athletes take kids from the inner city in Worcester, Mass., to Worcester Sharks games, or take them bowling, or bring them back to campus for a basketball game; Nunn was looking for more.
“We don’t have a lot of time to go out in the community,” Nunn said. “I thought this was a great way to give back while doing something we really enjoy. Every goal scored on the power play, through pledges and donations and sponsors, raises money for the PINK Revolution. It’s been great.”
The last weekend before the Christmas break was especially great. The Crusaders (9-4-2, 6-3-2 Atlantic Hockey) picked up pair of home wins over Penn State. Better yet, they scored a pair of power-play goals in each win, a 5-4 decision in overtime and a 4-1 win the next day.
The only downside was that Nunn was not in the lineup. He hurt his shoulder in a 4-3 win over Bentley on Nov. 9 — he had a goal in the game — and did not play the rest of the first half. He’s got five goals and nine points in seven games, leading the team in points per game.
“We missed him,” Pearl said. “He’s excellent. He’s got a nose for the net and he’s a good, calming influence on the power play. He’s good along the wall and in our zone. He’s worked real hard in his four years to make himself one of our top forwards.”
The first half was especially exciting from a team aspect, Nunn said. Because the Crusaders lost so many players last year and had so many young players to fit into the lineup, he wasn’t sure how things would go.
“The young guys came in and had all this youthful enthusiasm, and bring an excitement every day to the rink,” Nunn said. “I think it’s rubbed off on the older guys, too, and it gets us excited. And I think the older guys have done a great job from day one when the freshmen arrived at molding the team together. The team chemistry’s been real good and a big part of it.”
The Crusaders have a string of tough league games in January with series against Mercyhurst, Niagara and Bentley, and then will look to have another strong February — they were 7-0-1 in the month last year — and set themselves up for a big playoff push.
Along the way, they hope to pile up some power-play points in particular.
The school’s women’s and men’s teams both have a “Pink the Rink” game in February — the women against St. An
selm on Feb. 1 and the men against UConn on Feb. 16 — where they will focus on raising more money. For the first time since Nunn was a freshman, the men will wear pink jerseys to be raffled off.
Bay State Savings is joining the cause in January and will donate a dollar every time someone clicks “like” on its Facebook page, and Nunn and company are trying to spread the word about that, too.
For Nunn, the PINK Revolution has taken on even more meaning in the last year.
“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year,” he said. “She’s finished radiation and all her treatments and, luckily, she doesn’t need chemotherapy. She’s gotten through that and all her tests have come back positive. By starting the program last year and meeting a lot of survivors and all these women, it gave me an extra sense of comfort and a little more confidence my mom would be able to make it through all right.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of New York Hockey Journal.