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R. I. Reds 14th Annual Reunion Slated for August 3
Providence, RI (5/16/2014): It’s been nearly 60 years since the last American League Calder Cup championship was celebrated by the old Rhode Island Reds. But the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society will soon continue its salute to that marvelously historic season of 1955-56.
When the 700-member non-profit society celebrates its 14th annual reunion at Goddard State Park on Sunday, August 3, three men who were instrumental in that team’s success will be honored as recipients of the “Tops Award,” named in honor of the late Zellio Toppazzini, voted the Reds “Player of the Century.” The award is given annually to former Reds players and/or employees who have exemplified a love of hockey, public service and a dedication to the Rhode Island Reds.
This year the award winners are Terry Reardon, the longtime coach and general manager of the Reds, and Paul Larivee, the great center iceman of the ’50s and ’60. Reardon and Larivee will be honored posthumously. Jim Bartlett, the flashy, high scoring fan favorite, will accept the third award and be represented by 10 family members.
Reardon was the heart-and-soul leader of the Reds from 1947 to the early ’60s, and was architect in building the 1955-56 Reds’ Calder Cup team. He served in World War II as a major in the Queen’s Own Cameroon Highlanders, which landed on Sword Beach in the Normandy Invasion. Before the war, he had played with the New York Rovers and Boston Bruins and later teamed with his brother Ken on the Montreal Canadiens. He joined the Reds in 1947 and as player-coach led the team to a Calder Cup title in 1948-49.
Larivee came to the Reds in 1953 and immediately took a dominant role as a clever center and great scorer. Paul’s best year was in 1955-56, centering Toppazzini and Camille Henry. In retirement he was a partner in an insurance business and, for 20 years, served as color commentator on the French radio and television broadcasts of the Montreal Canadiens.
Bartlett was one of the most popular of all Reds players after joining the club for the 1955-56 season. Jim became the Reds’ all-time penalty leader and also was one of the leading scorers in the league. In retirement, Jim was active with a variety of groups, especially as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of greater Tampa. He was a full-time assistant as an adviser and driver for George Steinbrenner, former owner of the New York Yankees.
Over 100 tickets of the 300 capacity already have been sold for the reunion at Goddard State Park, August 3. Prices are $35 for adults; $15 for children ages 6 - 15; and no charge for children under age six. Reservation deadline is July 15. Tickets will not be sold at the gate. Festivities will begin at 12 noon and no one will be admitted earlier.
For further information call 401-247-2666 or e-mail UNH1959@aol.com.