MORRISTOWN, NJ - Over 1,000 people gathered at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown to see the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association take on the New York FBI in a charity hockey game. The game raises money for the Mallory’s Army Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable foundation that advocates anti-bullying.
Madison Police Officer Travis Daniel as well as Morris County Sheriff Officer Kevin Helmlinger, Parsippany Police Officer Elvin Giordano IV and Rockaway Township Officer Dave McAndrew were among the officers representing the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association. This year, hockey fans got to cheer for either the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association or the New York FBI. By the end of the game, the NJSPBA defeated the NY FBI; 4-2.
"This hockey game is a great opportunity for families to come and have fun,” said Dianne Grossman, co-founder of Mallory’s Army with her husband Seth. "A great way to close off the year and welcome the next year. Be part of something bigger than yourself. It's all about us coming together as a community and attempt to do our part to blue out bullying.”
Mallory’s Army was formed last year by Rockaway Township married couple Seth and Dianne Grossman when their 12-year-old Mallory killed herself in 2017 allegedly due to excessive cyber bullying at her middle school. Since its creation, Mallory’s Army has grown with new recruits every day and spreads school bullying awareness at schools and towns in the counties of Morris, Somerset, Union, Passaic and Essex.
Since starting his foundation, the Grossmans have traveled all over and beyond New Jersey, talking with students and teachers about the effects of bullying. They have since been honored with multiple awards and proclamations by the state, including the senate. Furthermore, back in the summer, the Grossmans have driven state senate to unanimously pass a bill, which calls for county officials to oversee local school districts in cases of bullying and bring school resource officers into the loop when parents suspect their child is being bullied. This bill is known as Mallory’s Law, which is currently going to New Jersey State Assembly for further approval.
“Mallory’s Army is a great way to raise awareness of school bullying,” said Daniel Tacopino, Monmouth County Sheriff who serves as general manager/captain of the NJSPBA hockey team. "It’s a complete honor to be here and play hockey for this Foundation. We have gotten really close to the Grossmans and they have become part of our family.”
The NJSPBA hockey team has played in many games over the state and beyond, supported countless causes, such as suicide prevention, fallen servicemen, children’s hospital and cancer fundraisers.
The Grossmans and several volunteers of Mallory’s Army, known as “soldiers,” were present at the hockey game. There, they set up their own tables to sell blue t-shirts, hoodies and bracelets. There were even free tricky trays for prizes.
“The cops are amazing and generous,” said Mallory soldier Jenn Stilwell, a Bound Brook resident who has volunteered for the organization for two years now. "The funds they raise go to bringing us into public schools to educate kids on the dangers of bullying and the epidemic of suicide.”
Children were also allowed to participate in an ice game, known as “Chuck a Puck.” In this, kids toss hockey pucks to the center and the closest to the rink’s center won a prize. The charity hockey game also saw a group of about 60 unprivileged kids from the McKinley Community School, in New Brunswick, who had an opportunity to see a hockey and learn how law enforcement get involved in their communities when issues like bullying plague their schools.
“I’m excited to be here,” said 14-year-old McKinley student Brian Chavez. “I’ve never been to a hockey game before and I wish to be supportive to Mallory’s Army. It’s a great opportunity.”
On average, the Mallory’s Army Charity Hockey Game can see as much as $10,000 during a single game. All spectators were happy to give back to a great cause that could improve their child’s well-being at school.
“It great to know that we can help kids like Mallory,” said Howell resident Mary Woods, who came with her husband Timmy, son Timmy Jr. (6), and daughter Faith (9). “It’s also a great family night!”
When Faith Woods had heard about the tragedy of Mallory Grossman herself, she became inspired to create her own movement, called Kind Is Cool, which promotes positivity in her school and beyond.
And needless to say, the Grossmans themselves were pleased with the funds raised and by the countless happy faces attending the event.
“The support is amazing,” said Seth Grossman."Everyone has stepped up their game this year. It’s just the overwhelming support that makes a big difference.”
Dianne said Mallory was a cheerleader and gymnast, but also enjoyed watching hockey. She even had a N.J. Devil Hockey jersey in her room.
The tragedy of Mallory Grossman’s death is the subject of a documentary, “Mallory 12,” which was produced by Generic Brand Human, and executive produced by the Grossmans themselves. Later, on January 21st, at 7:00 p.m., Dianne Grossman intends to visit Gottesman RTW Academy, located on 146 Dover Chester Road, in Randolph, continuing the campaign against school bullying in her daughter’s memory.
“I’m happy by the turnout this year,” said Dianne, as she reflected on the hockey game. "It’s just beautiful to see so many people come out and support our foundation.”
To further learn more about Mallory’s Army Charitable Foundation, and its upcoming events and activities, visit the charity’s website at http://mallorysarmy.org/, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mallorysarmy/.