Today, Wednesday, June 25th at Billy Beans Café and Pub in in Danbury, Connecticut, the Danbury Whalers announced that with their 5th selection the in the league’s 2nd Annual College / Junior Draft the team has selected from Monroe High School in Monroe, New Jersey Forward Mike Nichols.
This past season, Mike played for the Monroe (HS) Falcons where he served as an Assistant Captain. In his career, Mike played in 69 Varsity games, was a 4-year letter winner, totaling 9 goals and 19 assists. During his Varsity career the Falcons compiled a 36-46-4 record. They competed in one New State Playoff game, and had a record of 2-1 in Greater Middlesex County Tournament 1st round games over Mike’s career.
On January 4th in the game against Vernon High School, at Skylands Ice World in Stockholm, New Jersey, Mike suffered a spinal cord injury to his 5th vertebrae.
In the game he was injured, Mike had registered a goal and 2 assists.
Prior to tonight’s draft, the Danbury Whalers reached out to Mike and his parents Steve & Christine Nichols. They discussed the idea of drafting Mike with them, and the vision they had on where they could help in Mike’s and others plight in the challenge against spinal cord injuries.
Mike Nichols commented, “I’m beyond excited by the Whalers drafting me. This is a dream come true. They day I walk, the next hour I skate, and then I am putting on that Danbury Whalers sweater, and scoring a goal.”
Currently, Mike is in New Jersey at his parent’s house in Monroe. The plan is for him to make it up to Danbury for a game next season. As part of his trip, the Whalers and the Team MikeyStrong23 will be organizing a fund raising event to benefit spinal cord research and the Nichols Family Trust that has been established to provide for Mike’s medical and quality of life needs.
Danbury Whalers President, CFO, Alan Friedman commented, “We have heard some great stories about Mike. We contacted the family and asked how can we help? We felt like we could do something special to recognize a young man with a lot of heart and courage and give him a goal to shoot for. We’ll have a role for Mike when he is ready.”
The Danbury Whalers are not alone in reaching to Mike Nichols. Throughout the past season he has heard from Adam Graves, Ken Daneyko, Eric LeGrand, Sean Avery, Pierre McGuire & James van Riemsdyk among others.
This is not the first time a player with a serious injury has been drafted or signed by a professional team. The list includes Indiana University basketball star Landon Turner drafted in 1982 by the Boston Celtics and Rutgers University defensive lineman Eric LeGrand signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.
To read more about Mike Nichols check out www.mikeystrong23.org or the Facebook page Pray for Mikey 23 where updates on Mike’s progress are posted.
Danbury Whalers CEO/Managing Partner, Herm Sorcher commented, “We can’t wait for Mike to come to Danbury and be a part of what we are doing. We want to thank the Nichols family for opening their home to us and letting us be a part of Mike’s life. We are so honored for this opportunity.”
From Mike’s dad, Steve, “When we read the first email from the Whalers we said WOW, when Mike read it, he was even more ecstatic. He is so determined and passionate for this game. Thank you Danbury Whalers for this gracious offer – you just drafted your team a winner.”
Once the FHL schedule is set, look for the Danbury Whalers to announce the Mike Nichols Night.
As part of Mike Nichols joining the Danbury Whalers organization, together they have set goals for the 2014-15 season. They include creating awareness for spinal cord injuries, promoting a safe hockey campaign, creating awareness for Mike’s cause, and getting Mike to Danbury to participate in the season either on the ice, on the bench, or in the lockerroom.
When ready, Mike Nichols will wear #23 for the Danbury Whalers.
Other information on Mike Nichols
When Michael was injured during a game at Skylands Ice World in Sussex County on Jan. 4, he was airlifted to the Morristown Medical Center and spent five-and-a-half weeks in ICU before being transferred to the Kessler Institute on Feb. 14. He was discharged from Kessler on June 5.
According to Steve Nichols, Michael is currently classified as a quadriplegic, and he has no feeling below about his lower rib cage. There is limited movement in his left arm and minimal movement in his right. He is now able to breathe on his own after needing the help of a ventilator for months. He continues to regain strength in his arms and upper body.
For further information on the Danbury Whalers, check out www.thedanburywhalers.com or contact the team at 973-713-7547, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org