A Shawn Dunwoody mural and the floor hockey legacy of Dave Rogachefsky at the JCC

A Shawn Dunwoody mural and the floor hockey legacy of Dave Rogachefsky at the JCC

Jewish Community Center, Edgewood Road, Brighton: Dave Rogachefsky, “Coach, Mentor, Friend” 2017 by Shawn Dunwoody [Photo: David Kramer]

As seen in The Legacy Project: The Eyes of Our Ancestors: A shared vision made real at East High School, recently I met Shawn Dunwoody at the unveiling ceremony of his 29 close-up portraits of significant individuals and leaders of color.

(left) Shawn Dunwoody; (right) the turtle of knowledge, East High School,  [Photos: David Kramer, 1/9/20] From The Legacy Project: The Eyes of Our Ancestors: A shared vision made real at East High School

At the East event, we talked about another of his murals I recently discovered. In 2017, Shawn created a portrait displayed at the Jewish Community Center in Brighton: Dave Rogachefsky, “Coach, Mentor, Friend,featuring Dave’s passion for floor hockey, an enthusiasm shared for over three decades, continuing as a volunteer in his retirement.

Shawn offered the back story of the portrait. Dave never knew about the project; Shawn had to work from photographs and his imagination.

Finally, at an event honoring Dave, Dave was asked to come to the entrance of the gym where so many floor hockey pucks have bounced across the wooden floor. When the secret was revealed, Dave, a modest man and a true representative of Tikkun Olam, was overwhelmed.¹

When photographing the painting, I was intrigued by the signature. If Dave was unaware of the project, how did Shawn obtain his John Hancock? Did someone at the JCC retrieve a birthday card autographed by Dave? Shawn emailed back: “I don’t remember. Lol.”²

2017 JCC Gala Honorees Jon & Valerie Alhart, Dave Rogachefsky. JCC Spring Magazine, 2018

To learn more about Dave Rogachefsky’s legacy, I turned to Brendon Wadach, JCC
Youth Enrichment & Adult Leagues Coordinator.

Brendon Wadach, JCC Youth Enrichment & Adult Leagues Coordinator. Brendon both organizes and plays in the Adult Floor Hockey League.

Dave retired a few years before Brendon joined the JCC staff.  (Not that Dave ever really retired as he continues as a volunteer coach).  Nonetheless, Brendon quickly learned that for over four decades Dave was the leader and architect of youth sports and recreation at the JCC.

Dave Rogachefsky and his ubiquitous whistle

One of Dave’s favorites was floor hockey, mentoring multiple generations who played in his leagues. As his players mastered stick handling and goal tending, Dave was omnipresent and ever patient.  Back in my time, the love of floor hockey instilled by Dave found its way into Brighton High School where, in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, the sport was our favorite P.E. activity — worthy of cafeteria bragging rights.

Adult floor hockey at the JCC [Photo: David Kramer, 1/29/20] 

In some ways, Dave’s legacy lives on in the evening adult floor hockey, launched a couple years ago by JCC staff and now organized by Brendon. The night I visited the play was high-spirited, competitive and fun. And who was there? Many of the same fathers and sons who learned their stick handling and goal tending from Dave.

Relieving his glory days from gym floor hockey at Brighton High School, David Kramer stopping a shot. [Photo: Spencer Cushman, JCC fitness staff member and floor hockey player , 1/29/20]


¹ Reader Karen Nozik writes:

Playing floor hockey at the JCC under Dave Rogachefsky was one of my brother Mike Nozik’s favorite activities as a kid. He played with some of his lifelong best friends as I recall. I was very moved to see Dave at Michael’s funeral in 2009. His presence there spoke volumes. Thanks for this story. Brought back a lot of fond memories.

² On February 1st, Jim Marsh, currently serve on the JCC Board of Directors, wrote:

I read your piece on Dave Rogachefsky. I was responsible for helping to honor Dave at the JCC Gala that year and ended up finding Shawn Dunwoody who agreed to do a mural. I worked closely with Shawn for several weeks going to his studio and bringing him photos of Dave that I collected and telling him stories of Dave from my memories of the JCC and Camp Seneca Lake. Shawn was able to create a mural that captured the essence of Dave and his passion for the JCC and floor hockey in particular. Dave’s signature actually came from a floor hockey certificate of mine for the 1970’s which Shawn was able to copy perfectly.


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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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