RIP Stephen Curatolo (stephennyr89)


I write this with lots of sadness and emotion. It’s never easy to eulogize someone you knew was taken from us too soon. Especially when they were the best kind of person who always stayed positive no matter the tremendous fight they had.

The New York Rangers community is a lot emptier today. We are mourning the loss of Stephen Curatolo. Best known as stephennyr89 on Twitter to those who followed him, he was a special Ranger fan who battled cancer throughout his life.

Even though I never got the chance to meet him, I felt like I knew him. Based on our pleasant interactions, he was the kind of unique person that was special. Despite his courageous bouts with cancer, he never let it change who he was.

Stephen is the most positive and optimistic person you’ll ever come across. Everyone knew him. He was recognized by MSG reporter John Giannone and the Rangers for his fight with cancer. In the decade I knew him like so many passionate Ranger fans, I was always taken by his enthusiasm and love. No matter how many times he was in the hospital, he always kicked Cancer’s ass.

Curatolo never gave up. In many ways, he was our version of Jim Valvano. The memorable coach of NC State, who brought the same positive energy and passion before succumbing to this awful disease.

Those who knew him personally posted tributes on Twitter. His younger sister Jennifer put up a fitting tribute to her older brother. Our prayers and condolences go out to her and the Curatolo family.

Here are a couple of more tributes to as good a man as there was. Stephen was the best of us. He will be sorely missed.

RIP STEPHEN CURATOLO 😢💔 🙏 (February 4, 1989 – May 10, 2019)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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