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Heritage Association Announces Extended Two-day Reunion Plans
Providence, RI (7/3/2015): The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society will feature a “salute to the excellence of hockey in Rhode Island” at its 15th Annual Reunion on Aug. 1 and 2.
“Hockey is a big sport here since the old R. I. Reds first introduced the professional game back in 1926,” said Buster Clegg, president of the non-profit organization.
“Unfortunately, very few fans are aware of the impact that Rhode Island has made on the pro and college hockey levels. It’s time to call attention to the locals who have risen to great positions in hockey and honor them for their contributions.”
To do so properly, the Reds have scheduled two events this year instead of the usual one session.
On Sunday, August 2, Goddard State Park in Warwick will continue to host what is expected to be 20-30 former Reds and other distinguished hockey guests. Start time will be the usual 12 noon. Tickets are now on sale at $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12, and no charge for kids under age 6. Dinners are included. Reservation deadline is July 18 and no tickets will be sold at the gate.
Dave Goucher, a R. I. native, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. Goucher has served 15 years as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Boston Bruins. He will speak on today’s hockey and will field audience questions about the future of the Bruins.
The reunion segments that follow will include presentation of the 2015-16 Tops Award, named in honor of the great Zellio Toppazzini, the Reds’ “Player of the Century.” This year’s winner is the late Thomas E. Eccleston, Jr. He was considered dean of coaching high school titles at Burrillville, college hockey at Providence College and the Hill School in Pennsylvania. He was asked twice to coach the R. I. Reds in the 1960s but politely declined in order to continue with his career in academics.
Another award Sunday will be the Frank E. McCaffrey Fan of the Year Award. This will go to the late Ida Reniere, who for years accepted Reds players as tenants, served them with good hardy meals and kept them out of trouble with motherly discipline. They affectionally called her either “Mom” or “Ma.”
The Sunday program will also feature the retirement of Zellio Toppazzini’s #15 jersey, the number he wore for 12 seasons as a Reds’ player. The jersey will be unveiled in the rafters of the building.
Hockey luminaries expected to attend Sunday’s main event are Don McKenney, Danny Lewicki, Bruce Cline, Wayne Muloin, Ray Clearwater, Yves Locas, Ed MacQueen, George Ranieri, Bobby Leduc, Serge Boudreault, Ross Brooks, Jack Ferreira, Howie Menard, Hartland Monahan, Stan Baluik, Ron Anderson, Buzz Deschamps, Doug Keeler, John Hutton, Fleming Mackell and Pete Demers.
To accommodate the availability of special award winners, the Society has added Saturday, August 1, to kick off the weekend celebrations. Chelo’s restaurant on Post Road in Warwick will be the venue for a 7 PM dinner/dance and special award presentations.
All players and special guests will attend a special evening of awards. There are only 50 tickets remaining for the general public. Cost is $40 and reservation deadline is also July 18 and no tickets will be sold at the gate. Saturday night presentations are:
The R. I. Reds Directors’ Achievement Award will be awarded to Mike Bailey, creator of the organization’s website, R. I. Reds.org, and the four Reds kiosks displayed at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. The kiosks themselves were gifts from the society to the people of Rhode Island while the contents are on loan from the society and private collectors.
Receiving the Sage Family Foundation Awards will be Nate Leaman, coach of the 2015 NCAA champion Providence College Friars, and David Quinn of Cranston, RI, coach of the Boston University Terriers, who were edged by PC in the NCAA finals.
The R. I. Native-Born Hockey Achievement Awards this year will be Jack Capuano, also raised in Cranston, who is head coach of the NY Islanders of the NHL. Also being feted will be Ralph Warburton, another Cranston product who starred at Dartmouth College and was captain of the USA Olympic team that traveled to Great Britain in 1948.
He later played three seasons with the Boston Olympics of the Eastern Hockey League.
For further information call 401-230-5905 or e-mail RIREDS15@gmail.com.