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 Walter Connolly presents the Brogan Cup to the winners of the 8U year-end tournament, the Kings, Feb. 8 at the East Side Foundation Hockey Arena in Detroit.

Walter Connolly presents the Brogan Cup to the winners of the 8U year-end tournament, the Kings, Feb. 8 at the East Side Foundation Hockey Arena in Detroit.

Photo by Sean Work


Brogan Cup pays tribute to Connolly brothers

Family creates 3H Hockey Foundation scholarship in their honor

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 11, 2020

 Niko Brennan, of Grosse Pointe Farms, passes the Brogan Cup to teammate Evric Arnold after their team won.

Niko Brennan, of Grosse Pointe Farms, passes the Brogan Cup to teammate Evric Arnold after their team won.

Photo by Sean Work

 Rico Vitelli, of Macomb Township, left, looks on as Azucena and Walter Connolly receive a shadow box featuring their sons’ hockey jerseys and photos.

Rico Vitelli, of Macomb Township, left, looks on as Azucena and Walter Connolly receive a shadow box featuring their sons’ hockey jerseys and photos.

Photo by Sean Work

DETROIT/GROSSE POINTES — The spirit of Briggs and Logan Connolly continues to live on in the local hockey community.

On Feb. 8 at the East Side Foundation Hockey Arena, the Bulldogs Hockey Club dedicated its 8U year-end tournament to the Connolly brothers by renaming it the “Brogan Cup.”

Brothers Briggs, 11, and Logan Connolly, 9, were killed Oct. 28 in a house fire. The students attended Richard Elementary School in the Grosse Pointe Public School System and resided in Grosse Pointe City. Both Briggs and Logan had played hockey for the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association. Briggs played for the Saints in St. Clair Shores. Logan played for the Bulldogs team at the East Side Foundation Hockey Arena.

As Queen’s “We Are the Champions” played overhead last Saturday, Briggs and Logan’s dad, Walter Connolly, presented the first-ever Brogan Cup trophy to the winning team, the Kings. Briggs and Logan’s mother, Azucena Connolly, passed out medals to the Kings and also to the Bruins, who played against the winning team. The Brogan Cup is a combination of Briggs and Logan’s names.

Between tears and hugs, there also was a ceremony to dedicate a shadow box for the late Connolly athletes that will hang in the East Side Foundation Hockey Arena lobby. Several hockey players, parents and coaches attended.

The shadow box, a case with a protective, transparent front, contains photos of Briggs and Logan, a plaque and their jerseys. A second shadow box was made for the St. Clair Shores Hockey Association, and a third one was made for Walter and Azucena Connolly. Briggs’ jersey was No. 9, and No. 3 belonged to Logan.

“Thank you all for coming out,” game announcer and coach Paul Fayad said. “Today is a special day. We are going to be unveiling our memorial for Briggs and Logan Connolly.”

During the ceremony, Azucena and Walter Connolly remembered their sons and thanked the hockey community for their support. Azucena Connolly said her children used to joke about becoming the first Mexican-American professional hockey players.

“They put their heart and soul into everything they did,” Azucena Connolly said, adding that she often runs into people who share stories about how they knew her sons. “Briggs did this, Logan did this.”

According to the Connollys, their boys always tried to learn something new, have fun and do their best at everything each day.

“Our family is overwhelmed by the generous spirit, by the way everyone has shown up,” Walter Connolly said. “I can’t tell you about the amount of class, character and courage we received … what people have done to keep our kids’ name alive to honor them. We’ve been getting stuff from all over the world.”

On Saturday, the Connollys also talked about the new 3H Hockey Foundation scholarship program. Through the foundation, the goal is to raise money to provide hockey scholarships that fund equipment, ice time and other costs for at least two players per year.

The 3H stands for “Heart, Head and Hands.” One day, when Walter Connolly brought his sons to the rink, they saw a photo of the Michigan Sled Dogs hockey team, a group of athletes with a wide range of disabilities who play ice hockey. They asked their dad how the players play, and he replied that they play with “their heart, head and hands.”

“Through an unspeakable tragedy, we are hopeful to find some semblance of solace in putting skaters on the ice and smiles behind their masks,” Walter Connolly stated in a letter about the scholarship fund.

“We want to make those dreams possible. Everyone that applies through a school to our foundation, we want them to be an exemplary member of the community,” Azucena Connolly said. “We want them to put really good vibes out there to everyone they meet.”

Everyone is encouraged to apply for a scholarship.

“Keep on trying, no matter what,” Azucena Connolly said. “Nothing can hold you back if the desire is there.”

Donation checks for the 3H Hockey Foundation scholarship program can be made payable to “East Side Youth Sports Foundation,” with “3H Hockey Foundation” on the memo line, and can be sent to Laurie Bunn, 3H Hockey Foundation outreach coordinator, 4831 Canyon St., Detroit, MI 48236.