On February 22nd, more than 7,500 were on hand at the Dunkin Donuts Center when the names and official portraits of the RI Hockey Hall of Fame’s “Class of 2019” were unveiled between periods of the game between the Providence Bruins and Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The 10 honorees include players, executives, educators and coaches, many of whom played pivotal roles in the growth and continuing popularity of the game here in Rhode Island. They were elected from a list of 30 finalists culled from a pool of over 175 qualified candidates, which the Hall has diligently researched and profiled.
“This is a diverse group that spans the entire history of the game in Rhode Island,” noted Vin Cimini, chairman of the RI Hockey Hall of Fame. “They range from Malcolm Greene Chace, who brought ice hockey here from Canada in the 1890s, to Brian Boucher, a first round draft pick and NHL record-holder who now analyzes the league’s games for a national TV audience.”
The class is highlighted by the election of the three ‘fathers’ of the game here in Rhode Island: Malcolm Greene Chace of Central Falls, father of collegiate play in the USA; Brother Adelard Beaudet of Mount St. Charles, father of our interscholastic game; and Johnston sports entrepreneur, Judge James E. Dooley, founder of the Providence Reds, our first professional team.
In alphabetical order, the 10 new inductees are:
BROTHER ADELARD BEAUDET, S.C.
A founder and coach of the iconic Mount St. Charles Academy team, Brother Adelard helped organize and nurture high school hockey in Rhode Island after emigrating from Quebec in 1911.
MALCOLM GREENE CHACE
A world class tennis and ice polo player in the 1890s, Chace eventually switched to ice hockey and introduced and promoted the game in New England and the Northeast.
Selected in the first round of NHL Draft in 1995 by the Philadelphia Flyers, the Woonsocket native and former Mount St. Charles goalie played 13 seasons in the NHL. He holds the league record with five straight shutouts and 332 consecutive scoreless minutes during the 2003-04 season.
Born in Providence, Burke grew up in Minnesota. He returned to Rhode Island to attend Providence College, where he was captain of the hockey team. He has had a three-decade career as an NHL executive, building a Stanley Cup winner with the Anaheim Ducks in 2004.
An All-American defenseman at Maine, the Cranston native turned to coaching after playing for three NHL teams. He coached the New York Islanders for seven seasons and is now the associate coach of the Florida Panthers.
After starting out with the Providence Reds, Providence native Demers went on to spend 34 seasons as trainer for the Los Angeles Kings. He has a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
JUDGE JAMES E. DOOLEY
A leading sports figure in Rhode Island, Dooley was the founder and owner of the Providence Reds, as well as a founder of the Canadian-American (Can-Am) Hockey League, which later evolved into the American Hockey League.
Regarded as one of the game’s great teachers and motivators in Rhode Island, Eccleston won multiple state championships as the coach at Burrillville High School. He coached for eight seasons at Providence College and led the Friars to their first ECAC title and the NCAA final four in 1964.
A three-time All-Stater at Bishop Hendricken and two-time All-American at Boston College, Emma won the Hobey Baker Award in 1991, the only Rhode Islander to do so. The pride of Cranston played for the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics.
MARGARET DEGIDIO ‘DIGIT’ MURPHY
After a great career as a player at Cornell, the Cranston native won 318 games as Brown’s women’s coach. She has been a tireless advocate for women’s hockey and women’s sports for two decades on the national and international stage.
The formal Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner will be held on Friday, September 6th at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI.
Tickets are on sale here: http://www.rihhof.com/2019-induction/