Eighteen set to be inducted into Lockport's Howell Motors Hockey Hall of Fame

May 1—The Howell Motors Hockey Hall of Fame is set to induct a new batch of key figures for the ninth time.

The ceremony will be held Saturday at the Cornerstone Arena. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the ceremony for 18 players, coaches and contributors begins at 8 p.m., with food and drink to be served before and after.

Former Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers goaltender Martin Biron will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $35 pre-sale and $300 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased at Howell Motors Ford or Cornerstone Arena.

John Bernardi: Bernardi caught the hockey bug when he attended his first Buffalo Bisons game at the War Memorial Auditorium in 1960. When his family moved to Lockport in 1964, Bernardi's love for the game exploded.

He became a coach when his son, Erik, began playing at 6 years old and he began coaching a beginner's program at the Kenan Center. Bernardi eventually coached various age groups and high school club hockey, while also becoming a certified referee.

When the Kenan Center closed, Bernardi and his wife, Susan, continued to support Erik when he played for the Wheatfield Blades, Depew Saints, Buffalo Regals, Lockport High School club team, and eventually, Buffalo State.

After Cornerstone Arena was built, Bernardi was named director of the USA Hockey ADM program, starting a non-competitive beginner program for boys and girls under 8 years old, for which his grandchildren participated.

Brian Bremer: Bremer began playing hockey at the Kenan Center in 1969 and then finally played for Lockport High School. Bremer continued playing in various men's leagues and then coached his son from 1990-2001.

He still plays in men's leagues, playing for the Niagara Falls Gamblers tournament team in 1999, along with the Lockport Lions alumni team.

Chris Gagliardi: Gagliardi started playing hockey in the street or frozen fields before playing organized hockey at the Kenan Center at 13 years old.Gagliardi played through high school, which became some of his most memorable years in the sport.

At 37 years old, Gagliardi ran into Denise Pasquale, who grew up with brothers who played at the Kenan Center and was a competitive figure skater herself. They have been married for 25 years.

Michael Gagliardi: Gagliardi was named team captain of a Wheatfield Blades team that featured ex-Washington Capitals player Pete Scamurra. He then went on to play for the Lockport High School team, which were some of his most enjoyable years playing hockey.

Gagliardi joins his father, Michael Sr., in the Hall of Fame.

Harold E. McNitt: A native of Norwich, McNitt's move to Lockport in order to start McNitt Optical in the 1960s sparked his love for hockey. He was a Buffalo Sabres season-ticket holder and spent many hours at the Kenan Center for his son Tracy's hockey games and then later with his grandson, Tim Silcox.

McNitt saw a need for local coaches and became USA Hockey-certified. His philosophy with younger players was to play every position so they not only understood how to do it, but what their teammates were doing.

McNitt died in 1998.

Sherry McNitt Silcox: Silcox was a six-sport athlete in high school, familiar with hockey through her brother Tracy, became entrenched in the sport when her son, Tim, began playing at the Kenan Center.

She volunteered for various gatherings and served as the team manager the one season her father, Harold, coached Tim. Silcox also served as vice president, and later, president of the Lockport club hockey team and was the advisor/coach for the club hockey cheerleaders.

Adam Page: Born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, Page is the most decorated Olympian in Western New York. He won three Paralymic gold medals with the United States sled hockey team, making the squad in 2007 at 15 years old.

Page also won three golds, two silver and a bronze at the World Championships while playing for the national team until 2017. He also won two national championships with the Buffalo Sabres sled hockey team in 2011 and 2012.

He co-founded Greater Buffalo Adaptive Sports with his father, Norm, providing people with disabilities an opportunity to take part in adaptive sports.

Jonathan Reid: Reid didn't start playing hockey until he was 11 years old, but he moved his way up, playing for the Wheatfield Blades select teams and then Lockport High School, where he led or was tied for the lead in scoring from 2002-2004 and was the team MVP his final year.

He's still playing in the Cornerstone men's leagues while coaching his daughter and sons.

Tim Richards: Growing up in Lockport, Richards developed into a defenseman with a knack for jumping into the offensive rush, starting at the Kenan Center and then for Lockport's high school club team, helping the Lions win a state championship.

Richards continued playing for the University at Buffalo, helping the team win a league title as a senior. He was an assistant captain on the team and his brother also played for the squad.

Rick Rosetti: The youngest of five children born to Hall-of-Fame coach Lou Rosetti, Rick played goalie during his first year with the Timkey Pontiac Chiefs and realized he wanted more.

Rosetti played for the Washburn St. Market team that traveled around the state, Pennsylvania and Canada, winning a state title and an international Pee Wee invitational in Quebec that featured Wayne Gretzky. He played for his father in 1976, finishing as runner-up in the bantam state tournament.

As a high school senior in 1979, Rosetti was captain of Lockport's club team, scoring 32 goals and 26 assists in 30 games. He was also chosen to be the captain of a new Junior B team, the Cheektowaga Wolves.

Brian Smith: Smith began playing at the Kenan Center when he was a squirt, advancing until he played AAA hockey for the Wheatfield Blades. He played three years for Lockport High School and was a three-time Western New York club all-star.

After high school, Smith played for Erie Community College and Buffalo State, where he was the team captain during his senior season. Smith became a coach, guiding travel squads with the Clarence Mustangs and Buffalo Regals.

Smith has also coached high school hockey for Clarence and Lewiston-Porter, while continuing to play competitively until moving to North Carolina a decade ago.

Frank J. Vecchio: When Vecchio started playing hockey, his blue-collar family only had one car, so he had to play two years up so that his parents only needed to make one trip for him and his older brother. While playing for St. Joe's in high school, Vecchio became a member of the Wheatfield Blades Hockey Hall of Fame.

Vecchio began coaching the Amherst Knights in 1993, starting a coaching career that lasted 27 years. When his sons, Frank II and Matthew, began playing, Vecchio started coaching the Wheatfield novice program.

Gradually working his way up, Vecchio eventually became integrated into the Wheatfield AAA travel program, while also joining the program's board of directors, serving as travel hockey director and was the vice president of the board for 16 years.

Vecchio was also on the executive board for the Wheatfield Blades Junior B team that played in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League and also helped start the modified program at Niagara Wheatfield in 2010.

In 2014, Vecchio purchased the Lockport Express Junior team, serving as general manager and coach.