FRED KOREY AND DOMINIK HASEK
Fred C. Korhummel Jr., who joined with former star goalie Dominik Hasek to found the Hasek's Heroes youth hockey program, died on Monday at the age of 50 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He is the 25th member of his family to succumb to the degenerative nerve disorder,
Popularly known as Fred Korey, the Buffalo native was a hockey fanatic. Korhummel was captain of the Canisius College squad before graduating in 1981. He also coached youth hockey in Buffalo and its surrounding areas.
After Hasek donated $1 million to bring organized hockey to inner-city youngsters, he and Korhummel established the Dominik Hasek Youth Hockey League. Korhummel was the executive director until his illness forced him to step down three years ago. More than 2,000 kids have taken part in the program.
Earlier this year, the Sabres honored 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.
Korhummel is survived by his wife, his mother, two sisters and a son.
Since 2001, Korey has worked tirelessly to build Hasek's $1 million endowment for inner-city youth hockey into a thriving program that has leveled the playing field for countless kids. Now, Mr. Korey, is faced with a very different challenge; the battle against Lou Gehrig's disease.
Korey sat quietly below the podium in HSBC Arena, aided by a ventilator but firmly holding a marker and a dry-erase board. Throughout the evening it was apparent that this degenerative nerve disease has stolen a lot from Korey's life, but his sense of humor is still very much intact. At one point, when Hasek's Heroes board member Mark Mendel was trying to quiet the crowd, Korey wrote a message on his board; "Yell like you do on the bench at a game."
Mr. Korey is the 25th member of his family to develop Lou Gehrig's disease. This fact alone would cause many to live life in fear, but that is not Fred's style. He says that he is living his dream, teaching his kids. His sister, Janice Curatolo, shared, "Freddie has so many more things to live for, and we are so thankful he has chosen life. He's still the same Freddie."
During the evening's events, many supporters shared their admiration for Mr. Korey. Long time friend, Dominik Hasek was one of them.
"Fred Korey is a man who means so much to my family and to this community," Hasek began. "This community has always been so great to me and my family. I wanted to give something back, and [Hasek's Heroes] is helping young people build confidence and self-esteem in life.
"It needed strong leadership," he added. "The common thread to tie all our efforts together has been Coach Fred. He wasn't just coaching hockey -- he's been investing in the future leaders of this community…He knows what it means to be a dominator."