Charity hockey game held to build park to honor woman who died

Posted: Updated:
ROSELLE -

Members of the Jersey United Firefighter Hockey Club squared off against the Port Authority Police Department for a charity hockey game to honor a young woman who died.

The charity game held at the Warinanco Park Sports Center in Roselle raises money for a playground to honor Caitlin Nelson who died after choking during a charity pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University in April 2017.

Nelson’s father James Nelson was a Port Authority police officer who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

“It definitely means more to us, this game. But [Jersey United Firefighter] put it together. It’s a win-win for everybody,” says Officer Joe Dellaserra.

The playground will be built in Clark, Nelson’s hometown. It will be the 50th park built by the Where Angels Play Foundation – a nonprofit group that honors children who have lost their lives. The group also helps loves ones deal with the healing process.

“This is an opportunity to build playgrounds, to bring joy, hope and love to families who can use a boost,” says William Lavin, the group’s founder.

Nelson’s mother and sister dropped the puck during the game.

The former playground in Clark has been shipped to Puerto Rico for children who have been without a park since they were destroyed by recent hurricanes.

The Caitlin Nelson Park will be completed by the spring, according to Lavin.

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