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Fondy hockey team to host 'JM 21' Remembrance Night

01/20/2019, 6:00am CST
By Michael Trzinski, WiPH Staff & Submitted

FDL player Jeff Merrill died 30 years ago in a varsity game

On Saturday, January 26, 2019, the Fondy Cardinal Hockey team will be hosting JM 21 Night at their game against Arrowhead. The night will be a remembrance of Jeff Merrill, who was a Fondy hockey player that died 30 years ago on January 24, 1989 in a High School Varsity Hockey game against Middleton.

Teammates of Jeff’s from the 1988-1989 Fondy Hockey team, along with the Merrill Family, will be honored before the game along with a 21 second moment of silence and a ceremonial face off.  A social will also be held during the game.

On January 24, 1989, Jeff Merrill was a 15-year-old Sophomore at Fond du Lac Goodrich High School when he was critically injured and died while playing the game he loved and excelled at.  

Jeff grew up playing in the Fond du Lac Blue Line Youth program where became a very talented hockey player.  Jeff then made the varsity hockey team as a high school freshman. He was in his second season as a varsity player when his life tragically ended.  Jeff was the team leader in assists when he passed away. 

Jeff’s life has been remembered as no Fondy High School hockey player has worn the number 21 since that day.  The leading skater in assists at Fondy is also awarded the Jeffrey Merrill Assist award each season.  

His legacy has also carried on with the Jeffrey L. Merrill Scholarship which is given annually to a student athlete from Fondy High School.  To date $23,000 in scholarships have been given to 30 student athletes to continue their education.


Jeff Merrill

“The idea was put out last summer to have the 88-89 team get together and play in a pond hockey tournament,” said Kent Ellingson, a friend and teammate of Jeff’s.  “Many of the guys no longer play hockey, so we decided to organize a special night to remember Jeff and the impact he had on Fondy Hockey instead,” says Ellingson.  

The members of the 88-89 Team placed a tribute in the FDL Hockey Program Book and are also making a donation to the scholarship fund in memory of Jeff.  Close to 100 former teammates, coaches, friends and family of Jeff’s will be on hand to watch the Cardinals play Arrowhead.

Members of the 1988-1989 Fondy Hockey Team:

Kent Ellingson, Doug Holvick, Cory Raymer, Mark Scheibach, Brian Scheibach, Cory Krizizke, Brian Schwartz, Nick Rosenmeier, Chris Karas, Brian Jones, Steve Hill, Eric Nelson, Mike King, Chris Shepro, Scott Liegl, Chip Mertes, Bart McNabb, Brad Mullins, Randy Wilhelms, Kris O’Neil, Brian Kuras, Dean Duehring, Mike Smith, Paul Masini, Pete Halfman, Chris Moses, Brad Freiburg, Jesse Wuest, Jason Schad, Brian Braatz. 

Team Managers: Joe Halfman and David Cross

Head Coach: Wes Bolin

Assistant Coaches: David Krizizke and Tony Barthuly

For more information regarding the JM 21 Night, please contact Ellingson at

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