Photo by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey

GoFundMe page established in John Vigilante’s honor to help support youth hockey players

By @StefanKubus –

John Vigilante’s impact on youth hockey will live on.

Shortly after the hockey community lost the beloved coach and former Plymouth Whalers star, a GoFundMe page was established to create a new fundraising initiative designed to help families afford the cost of hockey.

The GoFundMe page – which can be seen here – was established by Dany Beaupre, an assistant coach with the Belle Tire 19U team.

“We’ll go through USA Hockey and pay for ice bills for kids that can’t afford to play,” Beaupre said. “We want to give them opportunities to play hockey and fulfill dreams so they’ll have a chance like John had, because he was lucky to have great parents that support him and be there to give him those opportunities. John loving hockey so much and the kids so much and the game, he provided a lot of opportunities for coaching and his time… This is way his legacy can continue on in memory of him for these kids.”

Beaupre had known Vigilante since age 6, as the two grew up in Dearborn, together playing hockey and attending high school along the way.

“We were always playing roller hockey or street hockey or doing Kim Muir power skating together,” Beaupre said. “He was a good guy, he could change a mood in seconds with the smile he had. It brightened everybody up. He could really motivate the kids.

“The hockey I.Q. is unbelievable that John had and what he shared with everybody, his knowledge, his skills. He could motivate these kids and touch them in their hearts. He helped a lot of girls get to college, D3, D1, that are still even playing right now in Minnesota, St. Cloud State, a bunch of schools.”

St. Cloud State’s Megan Roe and Hannah Bates were just two of the names Vigilante helped advance to the next level, by coaching, but also going the extra mile.

“He would literally spend hours and hours talking to scouts, free of charge, to help get these kids to school,” Beaupre said.

“He loved these kids like his own kids and treated them like his own kids. He wanted to make sure they had opportunities.”

It should come as no surprise that Vigilante was nominated for the AHL’s Man of the Year award multiple times, for his charitable work off the ice in local communities.

“He did a lot of charity work when he was playing for people who didn’t have these opportunities. He was unselfish like that and gave his time. He continued to do that after his playing career.”

People have been paying their respects to Vigilante on social media; here are just some of the comments as his teammates, players and friends remember him.

 

 

Chris Terry, Vigilante’s teammate in Plymouth and current member of the Detroit Red Wings organization:

James Neal, current member of the Calgary Flames and teammate to both Terry and Vigilante in Plymouth:

Fredrik Soderstrom, Vigilante’s coach during his time in Sweden:

MiHockey Staff

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