Travis Roy Cup welcomes home Tabor alumnus

Posted on February 15, 2012

          Photo by: Jennifer Heshion   Tabor Seawolves and the St. Sebastian Arrows faced off in the 16th annual Travis Roy Cup.

Marion — Travis Roy still has a soft spot for Tabor Academy.  A former Seawolf, Roy was the man of the hour February 4 for the 16th annual Travis Roy Cup hockey match between Tabor and the St. Sebastian Arrows, held inside the arena named for him. But coming back, he said, can be bittersweet.  “When I was here, I was able-bodied and had the whole world ahead of me,” he said. “I can still remember that.”

In May 1995, Roy graduated from Tabor and headed to Boston University on a hockey scholarship. Just five months later, Roy slid headfirst into the boards during a matchup against the University of North Dakota—cracking his fourth and fifth vertebra, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Since his accident, Roy has spent the last 16 years traveling across New England as a motivational speaker and generating donations for the “Travis Roy Foundation.”

Roy established the foundation in 1997, which has since generated more than $4 million for spinal cord injury research. Roy said one day he hopes the research will lead to a cure and give people suffering from spinal cord injuries a chance to walk once again.

Roy said the hockey rivalry between Tabor and St. Sebastian’s School in Needham began with the coaches and the athletic directors.

The coaches from both schools thought an annual game would make for both a great hockey game and fundraiser, he said.

“It’s amazing what a great series it has been over the years,” Roy said. “The games are often close and usually go into overtime. It’s great for high school hockey and fun to watch. There’s always a great atmosphere.”

Tabor Athletic Director Dick Muther said Tabor has a “natural connection” with the Travis Roy Foundation.  “There are two very important goals of the foundation,” Muther said. “One is to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries and two is to find a cure. Travis means a lot to us here, and we want to do what we can to help.”

To date, the Travis Roy Cup has raised over $85,000 for the foundation, Muther said.

This year, St. Sebastian’s claimed the cup for the ninth time with a 5-4 win over the Seawolves.

Tabor College Counselor Mary Kate McCain has been attending the Travis Roy Cup games since Tabor won the first cup in 1997. McCain said the annual event is something most of the Tabor faculty looks forward to every year.  “It’s a wonderful event to honor Travis and to bring him back here while also raising money for spinal cord injuries,” McCain said. “This event always seems to bring back alumni.”

Overall, the 16th annual Travis Roy Cup gathered $8,500 in donations for the foundation.

Besides watching great hockey and raising money for his foundation, Roy said he was happy to see the familiar faces.  “I spent two of the best years of my life here at Tabor, playing hockey and having a great time,” Roy said. “It’s a fantastic school and community. I always think how fortunate I was to be here as a student.

Article and Photos by Jennifer Heshion.   View original article in Sippican VillageSoup