2024 Ring of Honor Inductee Phil Bronner
DANBURY — The Danbury Hat Tricks are proud to announce the second member of this year’s Ring of Honor class, Phil Bronner.
Along with three other members, Bronner will be inducted into the Ring of Honor on Alumni Night (March 9) when the Hat Tricks take on the Binghamton Black Bears at the Danbury Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. with all honorees and alumni introduced on the ice after the first period.
Bronner was a crucial part of the leadership group during the inaugural seasons for the Danbury Titans in 2015-16 and Hat Tricks in 2019-20. He symbolized what it means to play Danbury hockey: physical, smart and tough to play against.
“I am super excited to be inducted into the Ring of Honor for Danbury Hockey,” Bronner said. “Even prior to playing for Danbury, I knew of the Whalers and Trashers and what the environment and culture was like. Being of the power forward mold, I thought it definitely fit my style of being a big, physical body who wanted to win. The most difficult thing about getting expansion teams off the ground and being successful is establishing a winning culture and the city already had that. We were able to tap into it right away.”
“Phil was with us from year 1,” Hat Tricks General Manager and Head Coach Billy McCreary said. “He was really committed to growing the game. He understood the goals and what we were trying to accomplish. He brought leadership and a lot of values in different ways. He was a part of our power play unit and top line. He was depended on in every way. He defines Danbury hockey and represents the way hockey should be played.”
“Phil was my first captain,” Danbury Hat Tricks Player/Coach Kyle Gonzalez commented. “He means words that can’t be described to this organization. Just how he carried himself on and off the ice and the professionalism he had really made him special. There wasn’t a day that you couldn’t look up to him. He was always doing the right things as a player, husband, and teammate. He was always looking out for everyone before himself and that’s what a true leader does.”
Over the course of three seasons with the Titans (2015-16) and Hat Tricks (2019-20 & 2021-22), Bronner accumulated 52 goals, 66 assists and 128 penalty minutes in 102 games.
“I have fewer game-specific memories now of certain goals, hits, fights, or wins, although there were plenty," Bronner said. "I remember more the memories of being in the room with the guys before and after games or practices, going to the diner for a pre-game meal or to hibachi for post practice lunch, or getting everyone together to watch The Bachelor and have some cheese and way too much wine which we would sweat out the next day,”
“Phil was a true pro for us, " Danbury Titans Owner Bruce Bennett said. “The first day I met him, he was coming off the ice with a lip that needed stitches. Right away, I knew this guy was going to be the heart and soul of our team. Congratulations Phil! A well- deserved honor.”
“Danbury is a hard hat, lunch pail, blue collar city with a passionate group of fans and a tradition of hockey," Bronner said. "I think every visiting team coming in gets that pit in their stomach and knows that, at minimum, physically they are going to feel it the next day and on a lot of occasions they are going to get beaten up.”
Bronner’s career started in 2013 and wrapped up in 2022. Along with his stints in Danbury, the 6-foot-two-inch forward played for the Knoxville Ice Bears (SPHL), Mississippi RiverKings (SPHL), Watertown Wolves (FHL), Elmira Jackals (ECHL), Adirondack Thunder (ECHL), Evansville Thunderbolts (SPHL), Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs (SPHL), and Quad City Storm (SPHL).
Bronner grew up in Wilbraham, MA and studied English Language and Literature/Letters at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He started his career at Five College Movers in Northampton, MA where he was an Office Manager in 2013 and by 2020 moved up to Vice President of Client Services and Business Development.
"My message to the fans would just be thank you," Bronner said. “Everyone who plays at this level loves the game of hockey and it isn’t really about how much money you make each week, but about quality of life. What's the living situation like? How’s the rink? How's the town? How's the fan support? Is the team any good? Having a passionate and supportive fan base is a WEAPON and a key to continue to get the type of players we need in this building to win championships. So keep being loud and filling the stands because there's nothing better than playing in front of a full barn. It was an honor to play in front of all of you.”
On Alumni Night, the Danbury Hat Tricks will induct four members into the Danbury Hockey Ring of Honor. A banner featuring the names of the honorees will hang alongside the team banners, the previous Ring of Honor members, and Corey Fulton’s (Whalers) retired number 15.
The previous honorees include, Jim Galante (Trashers), AJ Galante (Trashers), Corey Fulton (Whalers), Dave MacIssac (Trashers, Mad Hatters, & Hat Tricks), Nick Niedert (Whalers, Titans, & Hat Tricks), Matt Caranci (Whalers & Titans), Ed Campbell (Trashers & Whalers), Steve Brown (Whalers, Titans & Hat Tricks), and Alan Friedman (Whalers).
As part of the weekend, all Danbury hockey alumni will be invited to participate in an afternoon Alumni Game prior to the Hat Tricks game against Binghamton. There will be a pre-game reception in the Axe Tricks Lounge and all alumni will be honored at the first intermission of the game. All alumni (players, management, staff, ownership, etc.) of the Danbury hockey family are invited to RSVP.
The Hat Tricks are more than midway through their regular season Cup defense and we still want you to be a part of it! Season and single-game tickets are still available for purchase. Partial season packages can save fans up to 30% and include benefits such as FREE parking and season passes to the Danbury NAHL/NA3HL Hat Tricks games. Call Herm Sorcher at (973) 713-7547 to secure yours today or press here to learn more. To buy single-game tickets press here.