Monsters Promote Respect at Schools

To be successful in any walk of life, one must be able to set goals, respect others and respect oneself. Whether in a classroom as students or in an ice arena as professional hockey players, the act of respect must be displayed and acted upon in order to succeed and move together as a unit. With those important lessons in mind, the Lake Erie Monsters head into the community eight times a year on the Lake Erie Monsters Respect Tour, presented by the Ohio Lottery.

Two players, along with broadcaster John Michael, and in-arena host, Olivier Sedra, speak at schools across northeastern Ohio stressing the messages of respect for one another, the importance of setting goals, and ways to overcome adversity.

Sedra, a native of Montreal, Quebec, came to Cleveland two years ago for the opportunity to work with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sedra is the special projects coordinator and public address announcer for the Cavs, on top of his duties as in-arena host with the Monsters. This past summer, he was chosen to serve as the official basketball public address announcer for the Beijing Olympic Games. 

“If you respect yourself, you give yourself a chance in life,” Sedra said. “I’m standing here today because I gave myself respect.”

After earning a law degree, master’s degree and mechanical engineering degree from the University of Notre Dame, Michael joined the Pittsburgh law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. But he stopped practicing law to go after what he loved: calling games.

“You have to stay in school, set your goals and study hard,” said Michael. “Because I worked hard and got my education, the play-by-play opportunity presented itself.”

In addition, many Monsters players take the time to appear at Tour stops and express the important role that respect has played in achieving the goals they established for themselves at young ages. For left wing Chris Durno and defenseman Mike Vernace, it was their parents who stressed the necessity of respecting oneself and others around them. 

“My parents instilled those basic values, respect and hard work, in me while I was growing up,” said Durno. “I looked up to my parents because of their work ethics, what they’ve accomplished and what got them to where they are today.” 

“Growing up, I looked up to my parents, especially my dad,” said Vernace. “He made a lot of sacrifices for me and my brother that made life not as great for him. There’s no way I’d be where I am today without my parents; they are my biggest role models. You have to respect everybody. Being respectful has helped me and Chris get to where we want to be.”

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