NORWALK — Over their many decades of being involved in local hockey, the Wehmhoff family has found multiple ways to give back to the communities they’ve been involved in.
On Saturday, when the Norwalk-McMahon co-op team hosts Staples, the city of Norwalk police and fire departments will be the benefactors of such generosity.
The puck drops on the benefit game at 8 p.m. at the SoNo Ice House.
“I think it all started with my father’s father,” said Norwalk-McMahon coach Kyle Wehmhoff said of his grandfather, Ralph, a U.S. Navy veteran. “He was always big in that stuff of helping people out and it came down from him. My dad has been doing this kind of stuff for 30 years. It’s just in the family.”
Dale Wehmhoff coached Norwalk to the Division II state championship in 1987, the first of a three- tenure as the Bears’ boss.
He returned to the bench last season for a second go-round, leading the co-op squad back to the state tournament for second straight season.
Last season, Wehmhoff set up a cancer benefit game against Stamford-Westhill, in which both teams wore pink-based uniforms.
This season, before handing the reins to the team over to his son, Dale Wehmhoff set up another benefit game — this one to benefit the Norwalk Police and Fire Departments.
Norwalk-McMahon will wear special white Norwalk Police Benevolent Association uniforms while Staples will wear blue Norwalk Fire Department uniforms.
On the back, Norwalk’s uniforms are adorned with the word “Finest,” while Staples uniforms will have the word “Bravest.”
“It means a lot,” said Norwalk Police Lt. Marc Lepore, who is also President of the PBA. “We have a lot of officers who play hockey, or whose children play hockey, so it’s nice for the two worlds to kind of collide for a good cause. (Norwalk-McMahon) wanted to do something for us and we’re very grateful for that.”
Lepore said money raised will go to support survivor benefits for active and retired members.
“It’s a good cause and we appreciate the fact they’re thinking of us,” he added.
“They are going all out on this game,” added Norwalk Fire Department Acting Chief Geno Gatto. “I appreciate the effort they are taking on to honor us at this game. Everyday we come to work and do our job, never looking for anything in return. It is an honor to be recognized by both of these teams.”
The players are excited to hit the ice in the new uniforms.
“I think it’s going to be a good experience,” said Norwalk-McMahon senior Kevin Remson. “I think it’s great for us to look at Norwalk and giving back to the community shows our support.”
Despite coming from neighboring Westport, the Wreckers are on board with the benefit.
“It’s pretty cool,” Staples senior Sam New said. “Westport and Norwalk are pretty close geographically and a lot of us know each other, and it’s a cool thing for us to do in our senior year. There’s nothing wrong with playing a game and helping out a local fire department. It’s something you can be proud of for the rest of your life.”Read Full Article
The Wehmhoff family pride will come from both jerseys as well.
While the idea was the brainchild of Dale Wehmhoff and Kyle — Norwalk-McMahon’s current coach and former Staples skater — over on the other bench is Staples senior Robert Wehmhoff, a nephew and cousin.
“There’s a great sense of pride having us in these jerseys,” Kyle Wehmhoff said.
Norwalk High athletic director is proud of all of those involved in bringing the game together.
“I think any of our teams that go above and beyond and engage in community service activities like this, it really becomes a win-win situation all the way around,” Marchetti said. “It shows a lot about what our league is about, too. There are some very intense rivalries out there, but look at the causes we all support.”
Norwalk-McMahon — which will be playing six straight home games — will take a 3-4 record into the game while Staples is 4-1-1.