4th Annual Donny Higgins Memorial Tournament

A Great Event Honored the Memory of a Great Man

The tradition lives on. That tradition is, of course, the event known as the Annual Donny Higgins Memorial Street Hockey Tournament. Last weekend, the 4th Annual went off with the usual precision and high intensity enthusiasm predicted. This is an event that honors the memory of the late Donny Higgins in a manner that he would be happy with and honored by, because it always brings together huge crowds of people to enjoy a festive, wholesome and exciting weekend with the major emphasis on people having fun – lots of fun.

As you know, Donny Higgins was a young man who was taken from this life at far too early an age. This good guy dedicated his heart and soul to helping other people. He followed in the footsteps of his Dad, Bill Higgins Sr. and his Mom, Rachael Cappuccio Higgins, who have always been and still are so active in providing good opportunities to neighborhood youth.

Donny was the ultimate family man, who was always happy but especially happy when doing for family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. Quick with a smile and friendly disposition, he had legions of good friends who considered him part of THEIR family. These friends were so close to him and were at such a loss at his passing that they decided to do all they could to keep his memory alive. They formed the group called The Friends of Donny Higgins and created a Memorial Fund in his name that continues to this day to do good deeds by helping a wide variety of youth organizations. Last weekend’s hockey tournament was an event to give back to the neighborhood that Donny loved so much. To quote one young participant – “It was a Blast!”

More than just hockey, it was also a festival with music, games, arts and crafts, face painting, plenty to eat and drink for everyone and all of it free of charge to the hundreds who turned out to be part of the experience. More than 160 kids, ages 6-16, years old, including both boys and girls, put their incredible athletic talent on display to the thrill of the spectators.  And each player got to wear and keep their game shirts paid for by the generosity of Perry DiNatale. The competition was fierce, but everyone was having a good time.

As the hours passed it was clear that things could not be going any better.  It was perfect in every way. South Boston Today had the opportunity to speak with members of the Higgins Family.  Bill Higgins Sr. and his wife Rachael, who were on site throughout and could not be more pleased. They credited the success of the event to the hard work of the members of the Friends of Donny Higgins Committee including people like Joe Burke, Cathy Carter, Paul Kostas and others, all of whom are the backbone of the effort to make it go so well.

The committee members and the other volunteers give so much of themselves unselfishly for this good cause and, of course, the generous sponsors of the event that go over and above to help make this a truly ‘top shelf’ festival. Bill went on to make mention of all the many youth organizations that the Friends of Donny Higgins Memorial Fund helps. It’s a large and impressive list. And it’s fitting that the rink was named after Donny, as it was one of his goals to get it built.

We spoke also with Bill Higgins Jr., Donny’s older brother, who was overwhelmed with gratitude with the way that everything was going and for the support for his brother’s memory that remains so strong even after all these years. He mentioned how the Boston Bruins organization, which always takes a big interest in this annual tournament, sent down representatives from the team, as well as a huge pallet filled with brand new, top of the line street hockey equipment for the kids to keep. They even sent along ‘Blades’, the Bruin’s mascot who was having a great time hanging out with all the kids and mingling with the crowd.

Bill Higgins Jr. also mentioned that this year’s 4th Annual ‘Winter Gala’, The Donny Higgins Memorial Fund’s only fundraiser will be on February 23rd and tickets have already gone on sale for this biggest and best social event of the year. It will once again be at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. To purchase tickets early, log onto www.donnyhiggins.com . The money raised at this spectacular gala go to helping fund all those many youth organizations.

Sunday afternoon, when the tournament came to an end, it was clear that everyone, participants and spectators alike had a great time. There was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and a feeling that once again something good and meaningful had just taken place in South Boston. A true hero of the neighborhood had been honored in the most positive of ways.

Nearly every neighborhood around the country is fortunate to have their own heroes. People like Donny and the Higgins family, who have as their goal to make life better for their friends and neighbors and strive to make their community a good place to live, are a blessing. South Boston has long been a place that perhaps has more such people than most. Donny Higgins definitely has earned a special place in Heaven. Even after all these years, he is greatly missed and always will be.