Rival teams come together to support crash victim’s family

Rival basketball and hockey teams showed support for each other and raised money for the families.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 7:43 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:39 PM CST
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - The Fond du Lac community is rallying around each other in the aftermath of this weekend’s fatal crash involving three teenagers.

One such rally happened at a Fond du Lac High School hockey game.

The Fond du Lac Cardinals took to the ice Tuesday night with a heavy heart, thinking of one of their former teammates, Tommy Koenigs. The forward scored 13 goals for Fond du Lac in 2022 before transferring to St. Mary’s Springs this season.

His Fond du Lac classmates told us Tommy was very popular and well-liked there. It’s that infectious attitude that had this hockey community emotional.

Tom Bonlander, president of Fond du Lac Hockey’s booster club, says this is a tight-knit group.

“It doesn’t matter whether they play for Springs or Fond du Lac. They’re all friends at the end of the day. And we all feel sad that this happened,” Bonlander said.

People walking into the ice center immediately saw a tribute table with pictures of Tommy and a donation box to help the family in this troubled time.

Several gave cash, including Amy Marx. Her son, Ryan, played with Tommy since 2nd grade. She can still hear the boys horsing around when they were little and cherishes those memories.

“It was the hotel stays and fun in the pool and in the hallways playing shinny hockey, and just all of those times. And then, as they came into high school, they’d be out at the house after the games and you could hear them talking and laughing downstairs,” Marx said.

“It’s always nice to see these kids when they’re at somebody’s house, just hanging out together and being together and doing stuff after school and after games. And, it’s going to be hard for those guys that are there,” Bonlander said.

It’s that bond that brings the community to provide moral and emotional support to the Koenigs family.

“The community of hockey, as well as the community of Fond du Lac, is small, and the boys in this town have played together for forever. So, just showing the families that we support them and want them to know that we love them and care for them and are hurting along with them,” said Marx.

The crash leaves a hole in the heart of Fond du Lac Hockey, one where the team tweeted, “Once a cardinal, always a cardinal.”

The Fond du Lac Hockey Booster Club said it would match Tuesday night’s donations, up to $1,500. All proceeds will go directly to the Koenigs family for expenses.

There’s another opportunity to help the Koenigs during this Saturday’s game against Madison Memorial.

Teens in the crash were from different schools. Even fierce rivals are working together.
The two boys in the car were active in high school athletics. High school basketball and hockey teams are honoring them.