THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
2021 HALL OF FAME
Newest members honored in November
By MIKE MADERA
(September 12, 2021) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, November 20. Making use of the new facilities, the evening will be showcased at West Haven High for the first time since the ceremonies began in 2000.
The new soon to be inductees include Joe Pereira, Ada Udaya, Krystle Flemming, the late David Romanoff, Roland Depew, Gennaro “Jerry” Gambardella Sr., the late Gennaro “Jerry” Gambardella Jr., and the Keyes brothers as a group - Michael, Ted, Ed, and the late Steven Keyes.
The night will also see long-time announcer and forever Westie Brian Dinneen receiving the first ever Tinker Blake Community Service Award.
With five members, a father and son combination, a quartet of siblings, and a community service selection, there will now be 186 inductees in the prestigious club since the start two decades ago.
Pereira was a 3-year varsity hockey player, doing most of his damage on the ice during his sophomore and junior campaigns. The prolific scorer finished with 98 career points before departing prior to his senior year to play at South Kent School.
After leading the team with 47 points as a sophomore, 2005 was a dynamic year for Pereira as he was an All-Area and All-State selection. Pereira was also voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates with 51 points on 22 goals and 29 assists.
Pereira played two years at South Kent, where he was the team’s top scorer in 2006-2007, was the team captain, and led the Cardinals to their first appearance in the Division I New England Prep playoffs. Receiving South Kent’s William P. Gillette Award as the top all-round athlete, Pereira was later inducted into the South Kent Hockey Hall of Fame.
Pereira went on to play collegiately at Boston University, where he was part of the 2009 Hockey East, Beanpot and National Championship team. Pereira is currently the associate head hockey coach at the University of Connecticut.
The late Gambardella Jr. graduated in 2000 as a 3-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. A captain for all three teams, Gambardella Jr. was named to the All-SCC and All-State teams in baseball following his senior campaign.
During his senior campaign in which he played for Hall of Fame coach Michael Anquillare, he had 31 hits, including five home runs, and finished with a .420 batting average. Gambardella, Jr. is the all-time hits leader at West Haven with 114. Gambardella Jr. went on to play baseball at Hofstra University on a baseball scholarship, where he started before his sudden passing.
Gambardella Sr. graduated in 1984 as a star outfielder in baseball and a bruising runner in football. Playing for Hall of Fame coaches George Hanchette and Jon Capone on the diamond, and Tom Hunt and Ed McCarthy on the gridiron, Gambardella Sr. was captain on both teams his senior year.
As a senior, Gambardella Sr. was a key piece to the state championship baseball team, finishing with 10 home runs and 40 runs batted in, while being named to the All-District team. Gambardella Sr. was also an All-District selection in football his senior year as he finished with 11 touchdowns.
Ted Keyes Jr. is a 1976 graduate who was a 3-year versatile starter in football, playing running back and special teams. Ted was a Second-Team All-District selection in 1975 and First-Team All-District selection in 1976, He was an Honorable Mention All-State selection in both 1975 and 1976.
Ed Keyes is a 1983 graduate who starred on the football field. Captain of the 1982 squad, Ed Keyes was a 3-year starter, playing running back and fullback on offense, outside linebacker on defense, and also playing special teams.
A Second-Team All-District selection in 1982 and the Steve Raucci Award winner for Academic Achievement and Sportsmanship in 1982, Ed Keyes went on to play football at Western Connecticut State University.
Ed Keyes returned to West Haven as an assistant coach from 1990-1992.
Michael Keyes is a 2014 West Haven Hall of Fame inductee who is a 1978 graduate starring in football and lacrosse. Michael Keyes made his mark right from the start as he was the freshman football captain in 1974, playing fullback and middle linebacker.
Michael Keyes moved on to his sophomore year where he started at middle linebacker on defense and full back on goal line offense in football.
Michael Keyes stood out in 1977 as he started varsity lacrosse at crease defense under legendary coach Joseph McHugh and was the tri-captain of the football team from his middle linebacker position. He was named All-District and All-State in football as well as Honorable Mention Prep All-America Football Squad, sponsored by National High School Athletics Coaching Association.
During the spring season of his senior campaign, Michael Keyes was the co-captain of the lacrosse team, making the All-State Second Team for defense.
The late Steven Keyes is a 1983 graduate and 1982 team captain. Steven Keyes started five games as a running back, gaining over 500 yards and scoring five touchdowns as a sophomore. Unfortunately for Steven Keyes, injuries played a major part in his final two years as he had a knee injury as a junior and bone chips as a senior.
Flemming is a 2004 graduate who starred on the softball diamond and basketball court, finishing her career on the hardwood, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Softball was where Flemming left her mark as she was an All-SCC catcher her sophomore, junior, and senior years, and an All-State selection her senior campaign. Flemming finished with a .340 career batting average and was the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2002 and 2003.
Flemming was given the Cheryl Johnson Award for career excellence in both offensive and defensive categories following her 2004 campaign. She went on to play college softball at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Depew is a 1968 graduate who was a member of the 1967 undefeated state championship baseball team and starting goaltender on the Blue Devils hockey team.
A 3-year starter under legendary coach Art Crouse on the ice, Depew was a second-team All-County selection following the 1968 season. Depew was named to the CIAC All-Tournament team in 1968.
Depew went on to American International College where he earned an athletic scholarship and was the starting goaltender for three years. He graduated in 1972 with a BS in Business Administration, later earning his master’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Udaya is a 2009 graduate who went on to have a prolific track and field career at the University of New Haven.
Udaya was a four-year member of the cross country and track and field teams, a three-time champion in the 55 meter dash, and two-time champion in the 100 meter dash. The track star was the 2010 Southern Connecticut Conference champion in the 200 meter dash and holds the conference 55 meter dash record. She also played volleyball and was a National Honor Society member and honor roll student.
As a senior captain, Udaya was named All-SCC Indoor Track, All-Conference in the 55 meters and SCC Girls Outdoor Track All- Conference in the 100 meters and 200 meters. As a junior, Udaya was an SCC Girls Indoor Track All-Conference selection in the 55 meters and SCC Girls Outdoor Track All-Conference selection in the 100 meters.
Romanoff, who passed away in 2019, was a 1956 graduate starring on the track team, and also playing on the football and bowling teams. Romanoff went on to play track at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated in 1960 from the School of Pharmacy.
At 5 feet-8 inches tall and 150 pounds, Romanoff played for Hall of Fame coach Billy Irons. He had the overall javelin win record from 1953-1956 with a 30-0 record. Romanoff was a Gold Medal winner in the javelin in 1956 at the Greater New Haven Regional Track and Field meet. He was also chosen to represent West Haven High at the CIAC Track and Field Championships in 1956.
Romanoff set the javelin record as a freshman at the University of Connecticut in 1956 with a throw of 191 feet – 6 inches.
The late Dinneen is being honored for his years of dedication to the youth and high school sports community in West Haven.
Dinneen was a staple in the West Haven community before his sudden passing in 2020. His voice was heard all year long in youth and high school sports as the public address announcer for baseball, hockey and other sports.
He was the long-time announcer for all boys high school hockey games for Amity, Notre Dame and West Haven at the Edward L. Bennett Rink. His voice could also be heard during the spring and summer seasons, where he was the public address announcer at Piurek Field for high school baseball and West Haven American Legion baseball.
His sign-off was easy to remember and a staple of his work. “Thanks for coming out. Drive safely aaaaaand good night.”
West Haven Hall of Fame. Class of 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.