Members of Port Youth Activities (PYA) Brian McCormack, Chris Avazis, Matthew McCarvill and Brandon Kurz organized an inaugural Harvey Cohen Lacrosse Tournament that they hope will become an annual event. Town boys’ teams from second to eighth grade are encouraged to join the tournament on Sunday, June 11, at Lions Field for a minimum of three games in round-robin format.
“This is going to be an annual event,” said McCormack. “The main thing is a lot of us have a lot of passion and appreciation for having someone like Harvey Cohen involved in the community. One of the big things is that he’s the founder of PYA. Without him, we would not exist today.”
Cohen, who passed away in May of 2016 at 97 years old, was an attorney at a law firm and founder of the PYA, which began as a very small nonprofit with football and lacrosse. Many surrounding towns became interested in what Cohen created, so he was able to bring in teams from other areas. Being an attorney, Cohen was able to draw up the paperwork for his nonprofit and create bylaws. Cohen was also one of the founders of the Long Island Police Athletic League (PAL) youth lacrosse league, a supporter of Team USA and created a post collegiate league, North Hempstead Lacrosse Club.
“A lot of people are looking to support the event because they are prior players of Harvey’s,” said McCormack. “He was involved not only in the town team, but the entire lacrosse league Long Island plays in. It was always about the kids and giving them an outlet in athletics. He believed it was about everyone having exposure to these sports programs.”
Proceeds from the event will go toward a walkway at Lion’s Field called “The Walk of Legends” in honor of Cohen. The walkway will run from the entrance to the baseball fields, serving both aesthetic and safety needs.
Cohen’s name will be placed on a plaque in the walkway, so his work will always be remembered. People who have been involved with PYA will have the opportunity to purchase the bricks on the walkway after the event. Individuals can put messages on various size bricks at different contribution numbers.
Lacrosse teams from Port Washington, Levittown, Manhasset, Garden City, Three Village and East Hills are set to participate in the day-long tournament. The cost to play the minimum of three games in round-robin format is $650 per team. The event is open to town teams only and will run all day beginning at 8 a.m. at Lions Field located at 25 Glen Lane in Port Washington.
“Harvey Cohen is such a big name in so many ways,” said McCormack. “He was the person who was responsible for a lot of it. He touched about 100,000 lives in the things he’s done. I feel honored to be able to carry the torch for that with this event.”
For more information about the event, call 516-944-7921 or visit www.pyasports.org.