Hockey game a hit with alumni and current Wilton players

The past got the best of the present.

In their annual exhibition game on Nov. 28, the Wilton High School boys hockey alumni defeated the 2014-15 varsity team, 13-6, at the Winter Garden in Ridgefield.

But the final score was an afterthought in the contest, which was part of the Wilton High School Hockey Homecoming 2014 activities.

“Wilton hockey to me means traditions, bonds, and building a second family,” said Kyle Jonas, who will be a captain on this season’s Wilton team.

“To me, being a member of Wilton hockey carries a lot of responsibility,” added Jameson Hill, another captain this winter. “You have to represent 40-plus years of alumni on and off the ice.”

“Wilton hockey is what introduced me to high school sports and showed me how much fun you can have playing a sport with your friends,” said fellow captain Christian Hansson. “Wilton hockey remains the tightest brotherhood at Wilton High School, and I am very proud to be a part of the fraternity of players, coaches, and alumni.”

Former players also shared their feelings about the program.

“My whole hockey experience helped me a lot at recruit training,” said Joey Cullinan, a captain last season and now a United States Marine. “The biggest thing we were taught down there was that the team comes first and that it is not and never will be about you, but about the Marine next to you. If you have his back, he'll have yours.

“I was lucky enough to have great coaches and teammates through my four years who taught me that,” added Cullinan. “So that when I got down to recruit training that whole concept wasn't something new to me.”

“For me, this was especially exciting to play with such great guys, coming from the WHS Class of 1987,” said Ted Hoffstatter, who served as alumni captain along with Cullinan. “My five-year-old son Wyatt, who is playing now in the same rink I grew up playing in, was here for the game. He was so excited, and when he came into the locker room afterwards, the current team and the alumni treated him like a little brother. That’s what this is all about.”

Hill said that the current Wilton High players have lofty goals.

“The team’s expectations this year are to make a run at the Yale Whale,” said Hill, referring to the nickname for Ingalls Rink in New Haven, the site of the high school state championships. “We have a very strong core of seniors (14) returning and plan on having a successful senior season.

“People generally sell us short, and as a team we embrace this and strive to prove all these people wrong,” added Hill. “It adds a fuel to the fire, so to speak.”

Notes: Proceeds from the alumni game benefit Wilton High School Hockey.