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How "Our Game" Got Its Start in Rhode Island

In 1926-27, the first boys? high school ice hockey league in Rhode Island was formed containing Cranston, Hope, La Salle and Mount Saint Charles high schools. The league?s inaugural season coincided with the opening of the brand new R. I. Auditorium at 1111 North Main Street in Providence and the introduction of professional hockey to the state by the R. I. Reds of the Canadian-American Hockey League. 

A few years later, several other public schools joined to form an official league. Then in 1932-33, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League was officially organized with nine sports, including boys? hockey.

Over the next 73 years to date - 2005-06 - the R. I. Interscholastic League?s hockey program has grown tremendously and now embraces 32 boys? teams in four separate divisions, plus a girls' league of 8 teams introduced in 2002-03.

The common thread from high school hockey?s beginning in 1926-27 through 1971-72 was that nearly every high school hockey league game was played at the old 5, 500 seat R. I. Auditorium - home of the R. I. Reds - on Friday and Saturday nights. ?The Arena,? as it was sometimes called, was the ?home of high school hockey.? And it was for 46 years, before the Reds, then of the American Hockey League, moved over to the brand new Providence Civic Center.

Most hockey historians credit the old Rhode Island Reds and its home rink, the Auditorium, as being the genesis of early interest in the sport and the growth of the high school hockey program we now enjoy today. 

It was in the early 1960s that there also began a great proliferation of growth in college hockey and youth hockey organizations in Rhode Island. Today are nearly a dozen varsity and club teams at universities and thousands of youngsters participating in youth hockey programs throughout this state. 

And until new rinks were built in the mid-to-late 1960s, Brown University and Providence College, along with youth hockey action, took place at the home of the Reds.

We think it is important for you - as an avid fan and supporter of ice hockey - to know that the old R. I. Reds professional hockey team and the R. I. Auditorium are really the roots that have enabled you and many more of us to enjoy and participate in this great sport, both in the past and present. Please join in uniting all of us in ?Our game here in Rhode Island - Hockey!?

Though not first on the scene of Rhode Island hockey, Burrillville High, under the leadership of the legendary Coach Tom Eccleston, joined Cranston, Hope, LaSalle and Mount Saint Charles as a powerhouse beginning in the 1940s. In this 1954-55 team shot -- one of many years that Burrillville won the state title -- can you spot the young bucks who have now become members of the R.I. Reds Heritage Society?

R. I. Reds Heritage Society
1 Penrod Avenue, Suite 1111, Riverside, RI 02915
Telephone and Fax: 401-270-0035