OAKLAND, N.J. – The Oakland ice hockey community will be remembering one of their own on Friday.
David and Jill Altana – the parents of Michael Altana who passed away at just 14 – will be presented with an Indian Hills Braves jersey with their son’s name and the number 45 – his longtime hockey number.
“He would have been a senior this year, and he played hockey, so we thought it would be a nice gesture to present the jersey to the family,” said Steve Lovell, President of the Indian Hills Hockey Parents Association.
Lovell ran the Bergen Edge youth hockey club when Michael was a player, and Michael’s father often helped out with the program, he said.
“I just want to recognize that we still think about Michael,” Lovell said.
In 2013, Michael was an eighth-grader at Valley Middle School when he passed away unexpectedly due to a brain aneurysm.
He had a love for sports and had been active in the borough’s recreation programs.
“His unquenchable spirit and boundless energy challenged him to try any new adventure that crossed his path including, skiing, surfing, lacrosse, hockey, football, basketball,” his obituary states.
In addition to being presented with the jersey, Michael’s parents will also be dropping the ceremonial first puck to open Indian Hills’ game against Ramapo.
Lovell said organizers chose Friday’s game for a reason.
“Some of his friends are on the Ramapo team and go to Ramapo High so we thought it would be an appropriate game," he said.
The game will take place this Friday, Jan. 20, at 7:15 p.m., at the Ice Vault Arena, 10 Nevins Rd. in Wayne.