Double amputee speaks out after NHL exec’s child pushes her wheelchair down stairs

Double amputee speaks out after NHL exec’s child pushes her wheelchair down stairs

Rick Schindler

The woman, whose wheelchair was inexplicably pushed down a flight of stairs by an NHL team manager and son of an ex-player, has opened up about the shocking incident, which was caught on camera raising for her.

Sydney Benes, 22, tweeted late Wednesday night that she was “so grateful” for the support of the pub’s staff – Sullivans in Erie, Pennsylvania – and for the hundreds of messages of support she’s received.

“It was my chair that got pushed down the stairs,” Benes posted. “I am so grateful for Sullivan’s help in this situation and the kind comments I see on Julia’s post. I swear I really don’t want to keep a cent of the money donated, I would much rather give it to those who need it.”

Nathaniel Sanders/GoFundMe


A GoFundMe for Benes, organized by the bar’s safety manager Nathaniel Sanders, says she is a double amputee who will rely on a wheelchair to get around while she learns to use her prosthetic limbs.

Sanders said he was the person who carried Benes to the bar’s first floor on Saturday so she could go to the bathroom – and briefly left her wheelchair unattended at the top of a flight of stairs. Seconds later, college hockey player Carson Brière, the 23-year-old son of interim general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers Daniel Brière, hopped in a wheelchair while appearing to joke with a friend. Then he got up and pushed the wheelchair down a flight of stairs while he and the other man grinned.

The duo quickly headed to the bar’s dance floor after taking the jab.

The incident was caught by surveillance cameras and shared on Twitter, where it has been viewed 33 million times as of Tuesday morning.

“I don’t normally post anything serious on my Twitter, but something happened on Saturday night and (I) can’t face the thought of this kid getting away with it.” Julia Zukowski wrote in the tweet, which also identified Brière by name.

Mercyhurst University, the small Catholic university where Brière has been a center of excellence since 2021, released a statement to admonish his behavior but did not announce any punishment.

“The actions shown in the video weigh our hearts and do not reflect our Mercy belief in the inherent dignity of every human being,” the statement said. “We pray for and stand in solidarity with the victim and all people with disabilities.”

The school’s athletic department said Wednesday that Brière and two other unnamed student-athletes have been suspended from team activities while it investigates what happened. However, the hockey season for Mercyhurst ended earlier this month, so Brière is not in immediate danger of missing games.

Both Brière and his father apologized in separate statements released on Wednesday.

“There is no excuse for my actions and I will do everything I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment,” the younger Brière said in part.

“I was shocked to see Carson’s actions in the video shared on social media yesterday,” Brière’s father wrote in his statement. “They are inexcusable and totally go against our family’s values ​​of treating people with respect. Carson is deeply sorry and takes full responsibility for his behavior.”

Saturday’s incident isn’t the first time Brière has gotten into trouble with his college team. He was kicked off the Arizona State University hockey team as a redshirt freshman for being a serial partygoer, he said College Hockey News. Mercyhurst would be his second chance.

“I was just about to go out; I didn’t take hockey seriously,” Brière said of his release from ASU in 2021. “It wasn’t anything bad, it just wasn’t a commitment to hockey, I was more focused on having fun at school. Too much partying is the best way to put it.”

The wheelchair’s fall resulted in a broken armrest and other bent parts, FOX 59 reported.

Benes did not respond to requests for interviews from The Daily Beast.

Local news reports indicate that Brière was quickly identified as the person behind the push on Saturday night. “I grabbed his shoulders and said, ‘I have video of you throwing a wheelchair down the steps like it’s time to go,’” Sanders told WJET.

Sullivans, where the incident occurred, was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 went into effect, Sanders said, so as a grandfather it was only given bathrooms on the first floor and no elevator. He said security has to carry everyone down and back up the stairs when they need to go to the bathroom, but cannot make the journey alone.

Sanders also identified the second person who appeared to be helping Brière push the wheelchair as Patrick Carozzi, a lacrosse player at Mercyhurst.

No criminal charges have been announced by Erie police for either athlete, although Benes’ GoFundMe says she filed a police report this week.

Double amputee speaks out after NHL exec’s child pushes her wheelchair down stairs

%d bloggers like this: