Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey coach Seth Appert is training to run his first marathon in late September.
His goal was to help the charity Defending The Blue Line, which helps children of armed service members stick with hockey programs.
But the goal took on new meaning after the father of Engineers defenseman Luke Curadi suddenly passed away in July.
Appert will be running in memory of Richard Curadi while raising funds and bringing awareness to Defending The Blue Line when he participates in the Adirondack Marathon, which takes place Sept. 28 in Schroon Lake.
Rich Curadi was in the military for 32 years, starting with the Marines before going to the Army, where he became a pilot. His wife, Denise, was in the Army Reserves for 10 years.
“It’s a charity that’s certainly near and dear to our heart as a program,” Appert said. “It’s a great charity. I was drawn to it immediately with the connection between hockey and our militaries’ families. Certainly with Luke Curadi’s family, and with Col. [Jim] Knowlton [RPI’s athletic director] being military, there are just a lot of reasons for this to be our charity we work strongly with.
“Luke really wanted to connect with the charity for the team. He was the driving force behind it.”
Defending The Blue Line was founded in 2009 by a group of active-duty soldiers with the spirit of keeping hockey alive for the children of the nation’s military heroes. It provides free equipment and helps find access to summer hockey camps at no cost, and grants to help with local association fees.
With Richard Curadi’s passing, Appert is even more determined to help the charity.
“With what happened, obviously, with Rich, I thought it just made sense to connect the two,” Appert said. “For the funeral, in lieu of flowers, it was asked that people make donations to the Defending The Blue Line in Rich Curadi’s name. So I thought it just made a lot of sense to continue with those efforts. Rich was just a wonderful man. He had a great passion for the military, he had a great passion for hockey, for coaching. So it made a lot of sense to continue with those efforts.”
Luke Curadi, who will be a senior assistant captain this season, is thrilled that Appert is running for not only the charity, but doing it in his father’s memory.
“Running a marathon takes a lot of dedication,” Luke
Curadi said. “We’ve seen coach Appert has been putting in a lot of work, working towards completing the marathon. That alone is difficult enough.
“But the fact that he’s involved with Defending The Blue Line that we’ve associated with our team last year, and even furthermore with my Dad, means a lot. We don’t have the words to describe it.”
Training for his first marathon hasn’t been easy for Appert. But it’s worth it.
“It’s time consuming. It takes planning,” Appert said. “It’s been a lot of 5:30 a.m. runs. But it’s been good.”
To find out more about Defending The Blue Line, visit http://www.defendingtheblueline.org/.