HBO star skates for cancer at Abe Stark

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Pressing flesh with a celebrity, raising thousands of dollars for a killer disease and enjoying a trip down memory lane?

It didn’t get any better than that at the Abe Stark Skating Arena on Sunday. Nearly 200 pink-clad Good Samaritans packed the Coney Island ice rink on W. 16th Street and Surf Avenue for a Stars Skate for the Cure benefit hosted by the Greater New York City Ice Hockey League, raising close to $6,000 for breast cancer research with the help of Home Box Office star Vincent Piazza — himself a former Coney hockey coach whose parents, Lisa and Matt from Mill Basin, came to support him.

From Mites to Midgets, travel team players ages 7 to 17 zoomed along the ice, skating hour-long laps to honor their pledges with mom and dad cheering from the sidelines. Pee Wee player Eric Gayzler scored a personal goal by raising $275, the most by a single player.

For Piazza, who stars as Lucky Luciano in the new cable series, Boardwalk Empire, it was also a reunion of sorts, plus a chance to see the love of a sport passed along three generations: He met up with Bensonhurst hockey buff Sean McAllister, whom he coached at the rink 15 years ago, and 10-year-old Matthew Lofaro, who McAllister now coaches at the same place.

“The kids had a blast, they knew they were doing something for a good cause,” said Peter Orlowsky whose 8-year-old son, Zack, was on the Mite Team.

“For a first-year event to have that many people raise that kind of money was fantastic,” enthused Orlowsky, who helped organize the fundraiser and sits on the board of the not-for-profit league — the oldest such league in the state.

Updated 2:46 pm, October 19, 2011
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