Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2018

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Wranglers add name to roster - make it a double

When Peter Ferraro and the future Jennifer Ferraro were mulling over the honeymoon plans, she picked Hawaii as the place where she'd spend her first days as a wife.

It came as news to Chris Ferraro, Jennifer's fiance, that his identical twin brother would be tagging along on his honeymoon.

C'mon, man, Chris said to Peter, you've got to let me do this one thing alone with her.

"But it didn't even faze her," Peter says. "She understood that twin bond. She accepted it and encouraged it. The three of us were always together."

The 34-year-old twins and new Wranglers will bring a wealth of experience and skills to Las Vegas this season. They're the first set of identical twins to play on the same team, their hometown New York Rangers, in the National Hockey League.

But there's also considerable heartache.

In October 2001, three months after Chris and Jennifer were married, she felt a pain in her abdomen. It was stage four stomach cancer. She succumbed to the disease on Nov. 5, 2002.

Las Vegas is the eighth city Chris has played in since losing his wife, and her death is a topic of conversation every time he starts with a new team.

He says that pain doesn't go away, that family and friends helped tremendously, but that he's in a happy place now in Las Vegas.

Chris met his current girlfriend , a Las Vegas resident, at a photo shoot - for sister Michelle Ferraro's modeling and talent agency in town - at Wynn Las Vegas last summer. She is one of many reasons he's here.

Jennifer's death is "not something that weighs on me," Chris says . "Personally, I've found someone really, really special to me. I'm looking in that direction, and I want to continue to move forward."

Peter acknowledges that Jennifer's death is a sensitive subject, but he doesn't want to shy away from it or forget about her.

The brothers started a foundation in her memory (www.jf-foundation.org, click on the beak of the dove to enter the site ) that has raised more than $200,000 to help fight gastrointestinal cancer.

"It's reality," Peter says. "It's what you go through. The more knowledge people have, the better. Perspective is good (but) the challenge never ends.

"They say time heals. I think time numbs, more than anything. You'll never heal. Not a day goes by that we don't think of her."

Chris, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound center, has played in 74 NHL games. Peter, a 5-10, 180-pound right wing who is a minute younger than his brother, has played in 92 games at hockey's highest level.

They won an NCAA title, with St. Louis Blues wing Paul Kariya, at the University of Maine in 1993. Their dream continued when they were drafted by the Rangers. In their first NHL game, in 1995, Chris scored, with assists from Peter and Brian Leetch.

Wranglers assistant coach Brent Bilodeau, with whom the Ferraros played on the U.S. national team that finished third in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Germany in 1992, helped woo the Ferraro brothers to Las Vegas.

The twins figure, as in many places they've played, hockey fans in Las Vegas will take a liking to their chemistry, style and work ethic. They want to make an impact.

Below the surface, though, parts of their hearts are missing.

"It really was a living hell to see a human being deteriorate," Peter says of Jennifer before his voice trails off. "She was like no other. But she's in a better place, and she is shining down on all of us."

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