BY RANDY SCHULTZ –
LOCKPORT, NY — Eleven new members were recently inducted into the Howell Motors Hockey Hall of Fame. The new inductees were inducted at ceremonies held at the Cornerstone Arena in Lockport.
The newest members included Contributors: Joe Dockery, Mr. and Mrs. James Geier and the Union Sun & Journal Sports Department; Coaches Jim Hildreth and Doug Puff; Players Len DeFazio, Ken French, Michael Marotta, Rich LaTona, Tim Mulvey and Madison Sansone.
Three-time Sled Hockey Paralympian gold medalist Adam Page was the guest speaker. Veteran hockey writer Randy Schultz was the Master of Ceremonies.
Dockery didn’t know much about hockey early in his life. But as he learned the game he moved up the ladder, eventually becoming the youth hockey chairman of the Lockport Amateur Hockey Association.
The Geier’s were involved in Kenan Center hockey for many years, with Jim serving in the coaching ranks and Linda appointed Kenan Arena Director in the mid-1980s. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 2000.
The US&J sports department has covered hockey in the Lockport area since the early 1960s. The work of John Hoy, Craig Connell and John D’Onofrio has kept hockey in front of the public for over half a century. Alex Chiara accepted the award on behalf of the US&J.
Hildreth enjoyed success with all of the teams he coached. He is especially remembered for his final coaching stint with the Lockport High School Club Hockey team.
Coaching hockey became a large part of Puff’s life. He credits his success to the cooperation, understanding and patience of his wife, Karen, and two faithful and valuable assistant coaches including Jim Geier and All Kramp.
DeFazio played hockey for many years including his years spent playing for Lockport High School. He was part of the 1982 and 1983 New York State Championship teams and was selected for the Western New York All-Star Team in 1983.
French was also a member of the Lions NYS Championship Teams of ’82 and ’83. He was also named All-Western New York in 1983.
Marotta co-captained the Lockport HS team in 1988 that finished the season unbeaten at 39-0-1. He scored 22 points in a five-game run in the New York State tournament that year.
LaTona played on the 2006 Lockport HS team that qualified for the WNY High School Club Hockey Sectionals and with a win over Hutch Tech, advanced to the semi-finals and qualified for the State Championships.
Mulvey didn’t begin playing organized hockey until he was 12. But he made the most of it in a short time, playing for teams in the Kenan House League as well as Club Hockey for Lockport High School.
Sansone is the first female player selected for the Hall of Fame. She excelled at hockey throughout her life including the four seasons she spent at Providence College. There Sansone was a two-time Captain’s Award recipient, named Hockey East Player of the Week, Hockey East Top Performer, and received the All-American Scholar award.
The Honorable Judge William “Bill” Watson accepted the award on Sansone’s behalf because of a prior work commitment she had.