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Fred Korhummel Jr., Hasek’s Heroes driving force

August 12, 2009, 7:03 AM

May 5, 1959—Aug. 10, 2009

Fred C. Korhummel Jr., of Grand Island, who joined with former Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek to found the Hasek’s Heroes youth hockey program, died Monday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda, after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The 25th member of his family to succumb to the degenerative nerve disorder, he was 50.

Known to everyone as Fred Korey, he devoted much of his life to hockey.

Born in Buffalo, he played on the Orchard Park High School hockey team and for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. He was a 1981 graduate of Canisius College, where he was captain of the hockey team.

As an adult, he coached youth hockey, serving as head coach for the City Honors School club team, various divisions of the Wheatfield Blades, Grand Niagara and the Buffalo “Junior B” Flyers

When Hasek established a $1 million endowment to bring organized hockey to inner-city youngsters, Mr. Korhummel was the driving force in setting up the program, officially known as the Dominik Hasek Youth Hockey League, and served as its executive director until illness forced him to step down in 2006. More than 2,000 kids have taken part in the program.

“Fred Korey was the person who nearly single-handedly made Dominik Hasek’s vision a reality,” Ted Marks, Hasek’s Heroes board chairman, said in 2006, when Hasek and fans paid tribute to him in a program at HSBC Arena. “Dominik saw the need and then provided the resources, while Fred provided the hard work and compassion required to make it happen.”

Earlier this year, the Buffalo Sabres honored Mr. Korhummel with the J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award for his contributions as a coach to amateur hockey. Hasek’s Heroes has announced plans to present an annual award in his memory.

Before he became involved with Hasek’s Heroes in 2001, he worked at the Amherst Pepsi Center for Sportservice Corp. in guest services, concessions and administration.

He also was active with the local chapters of the Kidney Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Surviving are his wife of 26 years, the former Maria Capizzi; a son, Fred C. IV; his mother, Margaret; and two sisters, Janice Curatolo and Lisa Bauer.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a. m. Monday in St. Stephen Catholic Church, 2100 Baseline Road, Grand Island.