Lafferty’s shining moment

Local sports history was made two weeks ago when Hollidaysburg native Sam Lafferty was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League’s annual draft.

Lafferty thus becomes the first player from our region, Blair County and central Pennsylvania, to earn that distinction. That he went to the Penguins, the favored NHL team here, enhances the story.

After attending Hollidaysburg schools through his sophomore year, Lafferty spent the last two years at the Deerfield (Mass.) Academy.

He will play next season in the United States Hockey League, then will report to Brown University, where he committed over the winter and became the area’s first Division I men’s hockey scholarship recipient.

Lafferty, who is just 18, will report to a rookie development camp in Pittsburgh next week. He was taken in the fourth round by the Penguins, but since they did not have a second- or third-round pick, he was their second choice overall.

Lafferty credited his family, parents Jill and Andy and stepfather Dave Weaver, who coached him at Galactic Ice. All share in his success as well as those responsible for the extraordinary support, programming and organization that the local ice rink, which opened in 2000, provides.

Thumbs-up to Lafferty, and we wish him well in the future.

Others worthy of thumbs-up, thumbs-down mention:

Thumbs-up to Tyrone’s Cody Eckels, who was recognized Thursday for winning the National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year for his tribute to World War I and II veterans in Tyrone. Eckels coordinated $85,000 in fundraising and established an ongoing endowment fund for future maintainence and expansion.

Thumbs-down to April M. Greene and John Mattiello, both of Altoona. The pair were charged with felony endangering the welfare of children after their four children were removed from their care and placed in Blair County Children, Youth & Family Services when police found the condition of the home in which the children were living to be in deplorable condition.

Thumbs-up to Altoona’s Doug Wolf, who was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article concerning secondhand-furniture and furniture on consignment, which Wolf Furniture sells in addition to its lines of new furniture.