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WAHA to celebrate 50 years in Wheeling

Updated: Wednesday, August 13 2014, 05:34 PM EDT

The Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association will celebrate 50 years on Aug. 23 at Wheeling Park’s White Palace.

WAHA board member Dick Riley said he’s been with the organization for about 40 years and says it’s really grown in the Ohio Valley.

“We had rink with no roof.and no glass and we had to go out and shovel snow the puck could move,” said Riley. “A lot of the high school’s fed off WAHA and organized teams.”

Riley said having a professional team in Wheeling also helped hockey flourish.

“When the Wheeling Nailers, well the Thunderbirds then, came to town in the 90s several of the players married local girls and stayed in the valley and brought their expertise to WAHA,” said Riley.

WAHA president Stefan Brannare, a former Wheeling Nailer, he says he got involved because the program is one of the best in the country-- and very affordable.

“I think we have record numbers from when I started. We are really seeing an improvement in numbers,” said Brannare.

Bob Conaway, with WAHA, said he’d like to see former players, coaches, the public and anyone interested to come to the reunion.

“We'd really like to get everyone here so they can see old friends, but we want to get the word out because the youth that played years ago are now all over the country,” said Conaway.

For more information, go to waha50.com or contact Dick Riley at 740-635-0668 or Bob Conaway at 304-280-6263.

WAHA to celebrate 50 years in Wheeling

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