WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The number 16 will never again be worn by a member of the West Warwick/Exeter-West Greenwich high school hockey team.
The number was retired Saturday night in honor of Matthew Dennison, who passed away nine months ago after he and his best friend, Kevin MacDonald were in a car crash involving an alleged drunk driver.
At the ceremony, a banner with Matthew’s number 16 was hung from the rafters of the Benny Magiera Ice Rink in West Warwick.
Matthew’s mother, Brenda Dennison, says she hopes the banner serves as inspiration for kids.
“Maybe younger kids looking at it might say I could be a good hockey player…I can be the captain of my team or just give back someway somehow,” said Brenda.
12 News also spoke with Matthew’s father, Mark Dennison, who said the community support his family has gotten has helped them cope with the loss.
“The community outreach has been incredible,” said Mark. “It’s really what tends to keep us afloat sometimes.”
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Mark and Brenda have also spent time giving back to the community.
Less than two months after Matthew’s passing, the Dennison family created the Matthew Dennison Charitable Foundation (“MD16”).
The organization’s goal is to provide college scholarships, and hockey-based assistance to individuals and organizations in need.
The foundation also supports victims of senseless DUI-related tragedies.