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Johnny Bower to Again Lead Reds’ Cast of Reunion Stars
Providence, RI (6/29/2014): Johnny Bower, rated by hockey experts as the greatest goaltender in the game’s history before NHL expansion in 1967, will lead a parade of 30 former stars from the past when the R. I. Reds Heritage Society holds its 14th annual reunion at Goddard State Part in Warwick on Sunday, August 3.
Newcomers to the roster will be Alton White, the only black player in the 51-year Reds’ history comprised of 656 players, Brian Perry who helped the team in 1967-68 to its first playoff spot after four consecutive barren seasons, and Rhode Island native, Jack Ferreira, assistant to the general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, again Stanley Cup winners in 2014.
Among regular favorites returning will be: Ron Anderson, Stan Baliuk, Jim Bartlett, Bob Beckett, Serge Boudreault, Ross Brooks, Ray Clearwater, Bruce Cline, Gary Collins, Pete Demers, Buzzy Deschamps, Marty Gateman, Jean-Guy Gendron, Bruce Hood, Doug Keeler, Bob Leduc, Dan Lewicki, Yves Locas, Ed MacQueen, Don McKenney, Don Mellor, Tom Mellor, Howie Menard, Hartland Monahan, Wayne Muloin and Ray Ross.
Still in pursuit by the Society are about 12 more ex-Reds. “We are still working on others,” said Bill O’Connor, chairman of the reunions committee for 14-years. “It takes time and is never easy; but we never quit!”
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.
Nearly 200 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.