Tomorrow something very special is happening to. I'm being inducted into the AAHA's Hall of Fame. I'm already the youngest ever Director Emeritus since 1988 and now will become the youngest ever Hall of Fame inductee....but given how early I started, well, this should be no surprise.
Thirty years ago I "retired" from the Philadelphia Flyers after almost 13 years of running what was first known as Hockey Central for the Philadelphia Flyers, and what later became the Flyers Office of Amateur Hockey Affairs. As I look back so much was done in the 12 1/2 years of my time in the AAHA and with the Flyers that it seems like what many hope to accomplish in their lifetime.
Hockey Central was the brainchild of Aaron Siegel, Ken Gesner and Jim Shute, and I was hired in 1976 along with my very first mentor, Sy "The Wiley Old Veteran" Roseman, someone Larry Lloyd had the great fortune to see in action...he was the best. What I learned from Sy, Aaron, Ken and the late John Gardner during my days in Philadelphia set the BAR high in every walk of life. While Sy may go down as the best mentor, Ed Tepper hired me at age 14 so he gets the credit, while Aaron was the person who molded me, while Ken gets the credit for schooling me all those years. John is who transformed me.....so to all THANK YOU for tomorrow's honor never would have come without any of you shaping me and guiding me.
Given I started in my senior year of HIGH SCHOOL as I look back I am a bit in awe of my own accomplishments before I even graduated college.
Here are just a few of my accomplishments from that era:
Tied for first -Employee of Hockey Central as Communications Officer (1976) age 17
Hockey Central was the model, the archetype of a professional sports team getting involved with their "community." We started as a media dissemination organization, but quickly evolved into the hub of all things amateur hockey in the Delaware Valley as I expanded the focus into community events, youth hockey clinics, promotional programs, public affairs, broadcasting and eventually large scale spectator events.
Placing the First Hockey Player ever to be named Athlete of the Week in Philadelphia Inquirer (1977)-Gump Whiteside (age 17)
Co-Publisher of the College Hockey Guide (1977) age 18
Helped launch expanded Coaching Achievement Program (1977) age 18 with 400 person coaching clinic with Flyers Coaches Fred Shero, Barry Ashbee and Mike Nykoluk
Named as the second ever Executive Director of Hockey Central (1978) age 18
Color Commentator of Suburban High School Hockey on WBUX (1978-1980) age 19-21)
Starting The Pepsi Shootout TV Series (1979) age 19/20
Named Commissioner Mid Atlantic Womens' Hockey League (1977)
Named Commissioner Delaware Valley Hockey League (1978) age 19
Creating the Philadelphia Inquirer Hockey Top Ten Poll with High School Sports Editor, Don McKee (winter of 1978/79) age 19
Published Delaware Valley Ice Rink, Youth Hockey and Officiating Guides (1979) age 20
Established first Flyers Sponsored On Ice Official Clinic (1979) age 20 with Vin Godleski, John Shetzline, Mike Condon, Brad Murphy
Placing Scott Chamness in Sports Illustrated's Faces in The Crowd-first Philadelphia area hockey player ever to receive national recognition. (1979) age 20
Named USA Hockey Registrar (1980) age 20
Launched The Flyers Cup High School Hockey Championship (1980) age 20
Placed Scott Chamness to be Named HighSchool Athlete of the Year by Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine (1980) age 20
Named Chief Counselor USA Hockey Midget Development Camp 1981 (age 21) taking Mike Richter went on to play in the Olympics and with New York Rangers (NHL) repeated in 1982
Launched High School and Youth Hockey at the Spectrum (1981) age 22
Co-founder Pennsylvania Cup High School Hockey Championship (1981)
Led effort along with Frank Black to put hockey into the Keystone State Games (1982) age 23
Launched Mites on Ice at Flyers Game (1982) age 23
Restructured and expanded Flyers Youth Hockey Clinic Program (1983) age 24 with help from many players
Named Office Manager, Philadelphia Flyers, 1984 (age 25)
Produced Bobby Clarke's retirement night (November 15 1984) Age 25
Created Flyers Learned to Skate Program at City of Philadelphia Ice Rinks with Jay Snider. First sponsorship was Medford Meats at Cobbs Creek Ice Rink (1984) Age 25
Named President, Hockey Central, (1985) by Jay Snider Age 26
Staged sold out Celebrity All Star Hockey Challenge vs. Flyers Alumni including return of Bobby Clarke February 1988) age 28 raising over $200,000 for youth hockey programs.
General Manager Celebrity All Star Hockey Team 1989-1998 raising 6 million dollars for charity across North America with the leadership and support of many great people starting with Tony Loiacono, Jerry Houser. John Perry and more.
Thank you all who served, played, managed or officiated as you all made this happen....including Jim Doyle, Pat D'Puzzo, Vin Godleski, Joan Schofield, Paul Saylor, Max Putter, Don Anderson, Jim Plunkett, Bruce Craig, Joe Moderski, Andy Richards, Jim Cunningham, Ken Reddy, Iris Jewel, Bob Gastwirth, Albert Natelli, Mike Fore, Tommy Capaccio, The Murph, Barbara Cornwell, Linda Sorens, Elenor Seeds, Delores McDermott, Donn Patton, Rob Grossman, Carl Hirch, Ed Golden, Tom Gorence, Joe and Jim Watson and my idol Bobby Clarke...