Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This week's Brockport Stylus features the following interview with Todd Sheridan...

Former Brockport goalie still making "saves"

By Trevor Francis

Todd Sheridan is one of the most well-known athletes in Brockport's recent history. He holds the record for best single season save percentage at .917 and highest career saves percentage .904. And in his four years as Brockport's starting goalie on the ice hockey team, he broke 11 total records and holds the top four lowest averages for goals allowed per game in a season. More importantly, though, Todd was diagnosed and later beat cancer and went on to start his own charitable company to help others who are battling the disease.

What drew you into playing sports, specifically as a goalie?

TS: I grew up in a hockey family. My dad was a hockey fan, my three older brothers are all hockey fans and one played hockey. It was also the little-brother-mentality of wanting to be better than my older brothers. Most kids start at forward or center. They want to score goals, but I like the pressure of playing goalie. With other positions, if you make a mistake your teammates can bail you out, but as a goalie, every time I make a mistake it's on the scoreboard for everyone to see.

How are you still involved in hockey?

TS: Right now, I am enjoying being out of the spotlight. I played hockey for 21 years, there were some minor-pro offers but none of them were worth dropping out of school with one semester left. I have been working with Brockport coaches and players as a goalie helper. I am also the goalie coach for Tri-county Youth Hockey, with the squirt team, which has been great because it takes me back to when I was a kid, when hockey was about having fun.

It will be hard to watch the games from the sidelines, but it will be good for the team. There is a lot of overall talent and the goalies are more than capable. Fans can focus on other players besides me.

What have sports meant or what do they continue to mean in your life?

TS: As a kid, I played hockey and soccer. It served as a great way to get rid of stress and to make friends with other kids with similar interests. When I was diagnosed with cancer it provided me with the mindset of an athlete to not want to only survive cancer but to beat it all together. There is a big difference to me in those terms, surviving cancer still gives the cancer the power, but I beat it. Sports gave me the mindset to treat cancer like another opponent to challenge and that helped a lot.

How important was sports as a haven away from cancer for you?

TS: There was no possibility playing during the chemo; my doctors told me I could never play sports again. So, after I beat the cancer, getting back into the goal was another challenge to overcome. I don't want to get into the numbers or the percentages the doctors gave me, but they were more focused on my survival. Getting my body healthy enough to play again was not even mentioned.

I liked going through the chemo feeling sick, because I knew that the more sick and weak I felt, the worse the tumor felt, and that is where being an athlete helped. I knew I was stronger than the tumor.

Did anyone try to talk you out of playing, or try to get you to focus on your interests outside of sports?

TS: Basically, everyone did. My parents supported me but they were nervous. Chemo weakens the body, so there was a huge risk of getting injured. All of the Division-I offers that I had prior to cancer went out the window. Colleges were afraid to take a chance on me because they were afraid I would get hurt.

Did that ever make you angry or resentful, or do you ever wonder where you would be if you never had cancer?

TS: There really was no time to be angry. I just wanted to play hockey again. Being able to get back into the pads proved again that I really beat cancer and I could return to my normal life. There were people telling me that I could transfer after I played a couple of years at Brockport and proved I could compete at a high level again.

Brockport was the only college to take a chance on me though, it would have been a sort of betrayal by me to leave, I owe the coaches my time as a way to thank them.

How do you want to be remembered, as a great goalie, or a person who set up their own company to help others with cancer or a source of inspiration who overcame great odds?

TS: I was part of a team that won a playoff game for the first time in Brockport's history; Brockport hockey was transformed into a contender and the most popular sport in the college. I am proud to have contributed to that. Now, hockey can be known for supporting something else; Saves For A Cure can help local kids who are battling cancer. Oswego and Cortland will have Saves For A Cure games this year. Right now we are trying to put pressure on other SUNYAC teams to use it, too. It helps out kids and it improves the image of the colleges that use it.

How important was sports as a platform to build your company on?

TS: It gave the company a lot more publicity and an easier way to reach people. So far, it's been a positive experience. The SUNYAC teams seem willing to jump on board. My goal is to get every SUNYAC team to have a Saves For A Cure game. Since I am from New Jersey and I have lived in Connecticut and Texas and which helped me because I have a fairly expansive list of connections, which will hopefully allow me to expand much further.

Where is Saves For A Cure now?

TS: I had an idea to start a company to help people who are going through what I went through. I realized, like most people, that I had no idea how to start a company.

Saves For A Cure is a company, not a charity; there was a two-year legal battle to get incorporated, we won. We are a 100 percent revenue company and we give every penny of the money from the things we sell to upgraded cancer facilities that need it.

Medicine is great, but doctors and people cure cancer now and I want to have an immediate impact. Bob Confer helped me with the business side of the company. He was the main part in turning Saves For A Cure from an idea into something tangible. It was very important for me to be completely non-profit. It makes the work we do harder, but I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing.

Too many companies that are marketed as non-profit end up making money. It bothers me that some people are becoming millionaires as heads of non-profit companies when it should be about helping others. The main thing I could tell people is to do their research before donating any money. Make sure you know where the money is going before you choose to donate. Saves For A Cure is on Facebook. People can become a fan if they want to learn more.