WESTFIELD, NJ — Twelve-year-old Ben Handwerker is at it again. The Westfield boy who raised money for the Westfield PBA with “Ben’s Stops for Cops” last year is organizing a Westfield Fire Department vs. Westfield Police Department hockey game to benefit the family of Michael Lanza, a Westfield firefighter who died suddenly in February at the age of 35.
The 2017 Spring Classic is planned for June 3 at 5 p.m. at Union Sports Arena. Then it's on to an after party at Oh’ Brian’s on the Green in Clark, where will be a tricky tray and 10 percent of food and beverage sales will go to the Lanza family.
“This is an extremely important event for me and this is an event that I haven't seen done around here before,” Handwerker, an Edison Intermediate School sixth grader, said. “My mom and dad have always taught me how important it is to give back to others, and what better way to do it than with my favorite sport?”
Handwerker is the PeeWee A goalie for the Cranford Hockey Club and a New York Rangers fan.
“Ben had been talking to a few of the Westfield police officers about organizing a game for charity and after hearing about the untimely death of Michael Lanza they decided that would be a great way to raise money,” his mom, Gianine Handwerker said. “The men and women of both the Westfield Fire Department and Westfield Police Department have been giving a lot of their free time to make this happen — without them, it wouldn't have gotten its wings like it has. These men and women not only give so much while they work but give just as much off the clock.”