SPARTA, NJ- It was mostly fun and games. The Saturday after Christmas was the first Sparta High School Ice Hockey Alumni game, a fundraiser for the Kirk Baker-Marasco Scholarship fund. It was played at Skylands Ice World, the home ice for the Sparta High School Ice Hockey team. Event organizer Gabrielle Clark explained that more than $700 was collected at the door and they were hoping the Skylands arena management would also donate the money collected from the players. That would add an additional $400 to the fund.
Sparta High School alumni Kirk Baker-Marasco died unexpectedly on Thursday, March 28, 2013. He was 21 years old. Baker-Marasco was living in San Diego, California where he was a Music major at Grossmont College. In addition to his studies, Kirk held two part-time jobs at the House of Blues and Oakley Sportswear, also in San Diego.
Ice Hockey had long been a part of Baker-Marasco's life. He began playing at the age of 7 and continued through high school until he graduated in 2009. Both of his brothers, Andrew and Jonny are ice hockey players as well. Andrew participated in the Alumni game. He is a student at Montclair University and frequently keeps statistics for the Sparta High School team. Jonny is currently a member of the Spartans team.
There were 29 alumni players on the ice that morning; Andrew Baker-Marasco, Nick Bartholomew, Nathan Bolwey, Chad Connor, Scott Connor, Dillon Dericks, Brandon Entwistle, Steve Finnegan, Mitchell Fliss, Steve Mattera, Michael Miseo, Stephen Miseo, Mike Molon, Sean Monaghan, Jon Poon, Chris Posterino, Mike Posterino, Mike Sangalli, Billy Schollmeyer, Doug Shick, Ryan Snyder, Matt Tantillo, Kris Tikkanen andJohn Vrabel. The four goalies sharing time in front of the nets were Steve Hoffman, Chris Pszonek, James Sissler and Jimmy Ziegenfuss.
They wore many variations of Sparta Spartan jerseys, socks and other hockey equipment. While they might not have made the best looking teams ever to play, they played with a purpose; a shared love of the game.