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Ernst to Receive 2014 R. I. Native-born Hockey Achievement Award
Providence, RI (6/11/2014): The Rhode Island Native-born Hockey Achievement Award for 2014 will be presented to Dick Ernst at the 14th annual reunion of the R. I. Reds Heritage Society to be held at Goddard State Park in Warwick on Sunday, August 3.
The award recognizes and honors Rhode Island-born hockey stars who have contributed significantly toward the advancement and public image of “our sport,” not only here in our own state but nationally and worldwide. Three previous recipients have been Sara DeCosta (2011), Lou Lamoriello (2012) and the father-son duo of Don and Tom Mellor (2013).
Ernst is a veteran of 60 years in hockey. He played for Cranston High School in 1954 where he captained and won all-state honors in 1958. He then moved on to play for the Providence College team from 1958-61. In 1962 he began coaching high school where he has become a legend in Rhode Island hockey. It was the first of 52 teams he led; seven as an assistant and 45 as head coach.
Ernst holds the distinction of having won 628 games in his coaching career, second only to Mt. St. Charles’ great mentor, Bill Besile. He is the only coach to win titles at four different high schools – boy’s hockey at North Providence, Cranston East, North Smithfield, and girl’s hockey at LaSalle.
“Dick has earned his stripes as a great high school coach,” says Buster Clegg, president of the R. I. Reds Heritage Society. “He knows the game and teaches hockey, plus builds confidence and drive into his players, bringing them to new levels of competitive performance.
“He is pragmatic and in some ways philosophical, using metaphors to underscore the essence of his message. Occasionally he also is strangely innovative.” Clegg points out the following example with a laugh:
Ernst once used two goalies in his net to form a barrier against a much stronger opponent. That sent everyone in the R. I. Interscholastic League (RIIL) scurrying to clarify the rules. It was one of the few rule ploys in which he was defeated.
On as a side passion outside of high school, Ernst also coached youth hockey at the peewee and bantam levels. It was there that he helped his three sons and others develop skills that brought them to competitive steps needed for high school and later college hockey. He is a member of the RIIL hall of fame.
His teams won five R. I. Officials' sportsmanship awards, two Providence Journal’s Dick Reynolds sportsmanship awards, and in 1985 Ernst received the Words Unlimited Frank Lanning Award for contributions to Rhode Island sports.
Over 150 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 401-230-5905 or e-mail RIREDS15@gmail.com.