top of page

30 Days of Remebrance: Chris


Chris was a truly passionate person, especially when it came to his family, friends, and interests. If he couldn't be perfect at something, then his attitude was "what's the point?” He had an infectious smile, quick wit, and quirky way of looking at the world.


Chris loved sports, history, and creating things, whether it be buildings for his superheroes or a beautiful painting. Hockey was his first passion until he started 8th grade at DeSales Catholic School, when he decided it was time to try a sport where he didn't have to rely on someone else "showing up." He chose golf and that's where his story began to soar. Every day, Chris would walk a mile down the road with his clubs to the little county course, where he used his lawn mowing money to get a junior membership. There, he would team up with the retired golfers to play 18-45 holes a day. Chris not only loved listening to the old-timers’ stories, but also wanted to share his stories from his 14-year-old life.


The next summer, Chris tried out for the St. Joe's golf team. His dad promised him a new set of irons, should he make it. St. Joe's only had a varsity team of 12 golfers. We arrived at the course for tryouts to find over a hundred candidates. Each day he made the cut, running to the car with overwhelming excitement, until the last day. As he headed toward me with his head down, clubs over his shoulder, I felt the pit in my stomach that only a mother can know seeing their child fail. Then, as he lifted his gaze toward me, I could see from under the bill of his hat a twinkle in his eye and a crooked smirk that said "GOTCHA!"


That next month while playing at the DeSales Alumni Tournament, he achieved the first of many golf triumphs. While at the 18th tee, he called me at work. I picked up the phone and could hear cheering and shouting and in the most exuberant voice I hear, "Mom, I just shot a hole in one!" Chris was 15 years old. The next year, he joined the Lockport Town and Country Club where he became a celebrity in his own right with the members there. He came in 2nd at All Catholics, shot a record 66 during a summer tournament with the WNYPGA, played in the Jr. Masters in East Aurora, and made it to the State Championships twice. He was then accepted to St. John Fisher to play on their NCAA Division III Golf team.


In his final years he was accepted to Coastal Carolina University in Conway SC Pro Golf Management Program; only one of nine programs in the country at the time. Within the first two months, he passed the coveted PAT (Playing Ability Test) which is a 36-hole playing ability test mandatory in order to become a PGA professional. While Chris' stay at CCU was brief, he made an impact on friends that he met and teachers who would not forget him.


Upon his passing, we received an official diploma of attendance and so many heartfelt words. These words from his Political Science teacher, who only knew him for one semester, sum Chris up beautifully…


"Chris was one of my students at Coastal Carolina University. He was my number one guy in a class of 36 students. He was always prepared for discussion and offered insightful comments. This young man was a superlative student with a gregarious personality. Others tried to emulate him. I LEARNED FROM HIM!!! He was a fine man with a caring heart. I will miss him very much." God Bless, Mark Singleton.


Chris’ achievements live on with a foundation started in his memory, the Chris Maloney Legacy Foundation. This foundation is building community partnerships bridging the sport and core values of golf with those needed to raise healthy, happy children and young adults. Chris wanted to be part of the First Tee Program so that's where it started and now connects with Kids Escaping Drugs. Our family and friends couldn't be prouder of Chris and revel at what he accomplished in his 23 years.


Here are a few words from CMLF Board Members:


I knew Chris from the time he was born. I remember him as a boisterous, curious boy. As he got older, he developed a passion for hockey and golf that manifested into a drive to achieve excellence and a craving for knowledge related to these sports. With respect to golf, it is a passion we shared, and I was privileged to witness countless amazing shots during my play with Chris. I think of him often, mostly on the golf course after hitting a shot that I know would bring an approving smile to his face. – Leibert Danielson


Christopher Thomas Maloney came into my life as the charismatic younger brother of my youngest sister’s friend. Christopher was always eating some dried Fruity Pebbles Cereal in our house, sitting on my grandfather’s lap while the girls were playing, the adults chatting, and my fiancé and I running to some hockey event or concert. Even at that very young age, you could see his eyes taking it all in, as if there was some plan he could conjure that would put him in the center of it all while never missing a handful of dried sugary goodness.


Fast forward to a few years later, and I got to witness up close, firsthand the determination, passion, and inquisitiveness of a talented squirt hockey player, as I became the head coach of Chris’ house hockey team.


The passion to know, follow, study, and soak it all up was encouraging to me. He enjoyed challenging himself—and the coaching from time to time. He was attempting to sniff out anyone that might have been trying to pull a fast one on him, especially when explaining a skill, positioning or even a hockey history lesson.


He was inclusive to everyone around him. He was conscious of the group, and never failed to see the importance of being a leader and taking the pressure or consequences of it. He had excuses, but they were for lawyer-like, clever banter, because he always knew the excuses were just that. He made it fun. He made moments fun. He helped other people make their moments fun. Whether it was a game of ice hockey, or even in the match play of golf, he realized the importance of good, positive connections with his peers and the ever-changing lanes of two-way streets as personalities strove for their place on whatever stage was present.


Finally, beyond my knowledge, but in my sight, I saw a young man who was so well-rounded. He was a sportsman, artist, appreciator, brother, son, and a dependable, yet fallible friend. He had desire to compete, eagerness to join, tenderness to share, and cleverness to indulge an audience. Whether it was on the fairways of golf, in the cold corner of an ice rink, or a car seat, Chris enjoyed creating, basking in, and reminiscing in memories, some as small as a Fruity Pebble, some as important as a graduation, and some just large and memorable as his life, itself. – Mark Kuligowski



 

Remembering Christopher Maloney

Written by Mark Kuligowski Hockey Coach, Family Friend, Director of Marketing for the CMLF.


Christopher Thomas Maloney came into my life as the charismatic younger brother of my youngest sister’s friend. Christopher was always eating some dried Fruity Pebbles Cereal in our house, sitting on my grandfather’s lap while the girls were playing, the adults chatting, and my fiancé and I running to some hockey event or concert. Even at that very young age, you could see his eyes taking it all in, as if there was some plan he could conjure that would put him in the center of it all – while never missing a handful of dried sugary goodness.

Fast forward to a few years later, and I got to witness up close, firsthand the determination, passion and inquisitiveness of a pretty talented squirt hockey player, as I became the head coach of Chris’ house hockey team. He certainly was all in, when it came to the sport, and wall all out – when it came to the moment he was in, whether it was the actual practice or game of hockey, or in car ride to and from, or in any other activity he could cram into his schedule (or course golf was coming in at this time, too).


The passion to know, follow, study, and soak it all up was encouraging to me. He had a little adult trying to crawl out of that young mind, and he balanced it a bit better than most. He enjoyed challenging himself—and the coaching from time to time. He was attempting to sniff out anyone that might have been trying to pull a fast one on him, especially when explaining a skill, positioning or even a hockey history lesson. I was always amazed at his ability to form of his question, his uniquely uninhibited lack of fear of doing so, and the fiery red hair matching flare for putting it to the test.


He was inclusive to everyone around him. He was conscious of the group, and never failed to see the importance of being a leader and taking the pressure or consequences of it. He had excuses, but they were for lawyer-like, clever banter, because he always knew the excuses were just that. He made it fun. He made moments fun. He helped other people make their moments fun. Whether it was game of ice hockey, or even in the match play of golf, he realized the importance of good, positive connections with his peers and the ever-changing lanes of two-way streets as personalities strove for their place on whatever stage was present.


Finally, beyond my knowledge, but in my sight, I saw a young man who was so well-rounded. He was a sportsman, artist, appreciator, brother, son, and a dependable, yet fallible friend. He had desire to compete, eagerness to join, tenderness to share, and cleverness to indulge an audience. Whether it was on the fairways of golf, in the cold corner of an ice rink, or a car seat – backseat, Chris enjoyed creating, basking in, and reminiscing in memories…some as small as a Fruity Pebble, some as important as a graduation, and some just large and memorable as his life—itself.8


I knew Chris from the time he was born. I remember him as a boisterous, curious boy. As he got older, he developed a passion for hockey and golf that manifested into a drive to achieve excellence and a craving for knowledge related to these sports. With respect to golf, it is a passion we shared and I was privileged to witness countless amazing shots during my play with Chris. I think of him often, mostly on the golf course after hitting a shot that I know would bring an approving smile to his face. – Leibert Danielson



 


Chris Maloney Legacy Foundation Mission

To raise awareness of the growing issues of addiction, a primary chronic disease of the brain reward, motivation and related circuitry, rather than a behavioral disorder.


https://chrismaloneylegacyfoundation.org/

40 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page