A West Point graduate killed in Afghanistan was honored Friday night in Rockland County. Our Christian Farrell has more on the man known as "TK," who after his family and country, loved the sport of hockey more than anything else.
MONSEY, N.Y. -- Some 25 years ago, Thomas Kennedy was one of them: A member of the Ramapo Saints youth hockey team. Friday night though, it was his former team, with their "TK" jerseys and Kennedy's former home rink in Rockland County that paid tribute to him, along with his older brother, George.
"Much of our youth was spent in hockey rinks. And most of it here in Sport O Rama," said George Kennedy.
However, Friday night, the Sport O Rama Ice Rink in Monsey became history. Its name permanently changed to the U.S. Army Major Thomas E. Kennedy Memorial Rink. The 35-year-old Kennedy was killed in August by a suicide bomber while serving in Afghanistan.
"Tommy is up in heaven tapping his stick on the blue line, probably completely humbled and honored that this arena is named after him," said John Kennedy, Thomas Kennedy's older brother.
According to the Kennedy family, this hockey rink was "TK's" home away from home.
"We lived at this rink, I don't know, four days a week, five days a week," said John Kennedy.
It's at this rink where family and friends say Thomas Kennedy began developing the qualities that first made him a Division I college hockey player and then an extraordinary person.
The former Army hockey player returned to his alma mater to join the hockey team's staff as an officer representative. A position he held before deploying overseas.
"Tom was a guy who loved the hockey players. He was all about Army hockey. He was a great example for the cadets. There wasn't a guy or gal at West Point that didn't just love Tommy," said Army Colonel Ed Naessens of the United States Military Academy.
The kind of guy, hockey player and now hero, that certainly deserves to have a building bearing his name.