Chris Tschupp has been on the ice since he was four years old. Born in New York state and raised in Toms River, he knew he wanted to play hockey when he was five years old. Toms River native Chris Tschupp is a lifelong hockey fan and player. He has been on the ice since age four, and he played in college, the NHL, and the ECHL. An ALS diagnosis in 2019 hasn’t kept him from the ice. Chris has turned to his hockey teammates and fellow fans to help support his ALS charity, Halt ALS.
On November 13, West Orange will host celebrities and former hockey players to benefit Halt ALS, Tschupp’s charity. Richard J. Codey Arena will play host to NHL great Henrik Lundqvist as well as actor Taylor Kitsch, among others. Read on to learn more about this fun and creative way to support a worthy cause.
(Photo credit: @chris_tschupp0)
Chris was born in New York state but grew up in Toms River. He chased his dreams hard, playing for school teams and college hockey until he finally hit the big leagues, being drafted 125th overall in the 1990 NHL draft by the Calgary Flames. He played in the ECHL, most recently for the Roanoke Express, until his career ended in 1996.
In 2019, after a series of health issues, Chris was diagnosed with ALS. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Fewer than 200,000 people per year are diagnosed, but many know of the disease because it ended the career of one of America’s most successful and beloved baseball players: Lou Gehrig. At the time of his diagnosis, Chris was given two to five years to live.
Halt ALS’ website notes that Tschupp’s tragic diagnosis does not stop him. He’s now a successful screenwriter, despite the fact that he’s unable to type or hold a pen or pencil. He fights his hardest in everything he does, and he will fight hard to find a cure.
About the Event
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Hockey has always been a thread throughout Chris’ life, so it’s only natural that he and the team at Halt ALS turned to the community to raise funds and spread awareness. The event will feature an hour-long hockey game, with a shootout after regulation. There is also a VIP Dinner after the event. Funds raised will go toward the research of Dr. Richard Bedlack of Duke University, a leading researcher in ALS treatments and one of Chris’s main doctors.
Playing and coaching in the inaugural event will be some of Chris’s closest friends, celebrities, and former NHL’ers, including Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers Legend), Jimmy Dowd (NJ Devils Legend) Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor, Waco, The Defeated), Marc Labelle (Lead Singer – Dirty Honey Band), and Cuba Gooding, Jr (Academy Award Winner). Other former NHL players will include: Joffrey Lupul, Mark Fayne, Reid Simpson, Bryan Berard, Scottie Upshall, Shane O’Brien, and Christian Hansen.
“It’s going to be two halves: two thirty-minute periods with a break in between,” explains MJ Pedone, who’s organizing the inaugural event. “Chris has been my personal friend for 20+ years. He reached out to me back in December to host the charity golf tournament, another event coming in 2022, and we switched it up because Chris is a former hockey player.”
Richard J. Codey Arena, MJ says, seemed like a natural fit. “It’s a great hockey facility, and a couple of the guys have already skated there and know the owner.” It’s also located beside McLoone’s Boathouse, where the VIP afterparty is taking place from 9PM – 12AM. Guests can purchase a VIP ticket for access to McLoone’s, which also includes a buffet dinner, open bar, and access to the celebrity guests.
The event takes place from 7:30PM – 8:30PM, and is general admission. Tickets are available on the charity’s website, and information about the charity, Tschupp, and the upcoming charity golf tournament are also online. But, Pedone says, the cause remains at the forefront. “The most important thing is it’s supporting Halt ALS, supporting the scientific studies of Duke University’s Dr. Richard Bedlack, who has been taking care of Chris.”