Bruins winger Noel Acciari played Saturday against Toronto despite having lost his close friend and former Kent School and Providence College teammate, Drew Brown. Brown died Saturday morning after a long struggle with a cancer. He was 25.
Acciari was not at practice yesterday, having traveled to Michigan to attend the funeral today. He is expected to rejoin the team in Anaheim for tomorrow night’s game.
“Last game I don’t know how he played,” said Bruins forward Tim Schaller, also a Providence College teammate of Brown. “You can only say so much to keep his spirits up and keep him from thinking about it. I felt for him. I still do. He’s heading out there and see the family and all that stuff.”
Brown played three seasons for the Friars before being diagnosed in 2014 with a rare form of bone cancer. Acciari was a teammate for two seasons, Schaller for one. He remembered Brown with great fondness.
“Drew was as good a guy as they come,” said Schaller. “He always had a smile on his face. He never was down about anything, especially when times were tough, he was always smiling. You’d ask him how he was doing and he was almost more worried about how we were doing than he was. Just a good character kid. It’s tough when a good one goes like that. He definitely left behind good memories with everyone. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like Drew. He always had something good to say about everyone.
“Hell of a player. That came from how good a guy he was off the ice, just a hard-nosed guy, a hunter and a fisherman, kind of a blue-collar guy. That’s kind of how his game was, too. That’s what the coaching staff was praising. Guys tried to play like Drew. I think when they won the (2015) national championship he had a lot to do with that team, even though he didn’t play. I think he was a big inspiration and a big reason they won that ring.”