Five Somerville veterans who founded Somerville Youth Hockey and exemplify service to country and community will be honored when the new ice rink at 570 Somerville Ave., next to the Veterans Memorial Rink, is officially dedicated as the Founders Rink at a special event on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m.
The rink’s new sign will be unveiled at the event and the founders’ families will be presented with copies of the plaque that honors the five men who, after serving our nation in the Armed Forces, came home and created an integral piece of Somerville’s community: George Hughes (Army), John Doncaster (Army), Raymond Deeran (Navy), James Papaluca (Marine) and Joseph Guidi (Navy). A special guest who will be well-known to hockey fans will serve as the emcee for the event, and legendary Boston University ice hockey coach—and Somerville native—Jack Parker will also speak during the ceremony.
“These five men are role models for every person in Somerville,” Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said. “Everything we do in Somerville is based on the core value of building community and making our city an exceptional place to live, work, play and raise a family. Somerville Youth Hockey and its mission is directly tied into these values, and for that we must thank these five men who epitomize Somerville’s core values and service, to both their country and their community. We are humbled that we can call George Hughes, John Doncaster, Ray Deeran, Jim Papaluca and Joe Guidi as ours, as Somerville’s, and I look forward to this Saturday’s dedication that will permanently recognize their immeasurable contribution to our community.”
“From their time serving in the Armed Forces to their time running Somerville Youth Hockey, these five men have created a lasting legacy of teamwork and made an enduring positive impact on the City of Somerville,” said Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston. “Their hard work and commitment is the catalyst that led to a boom in kids becoming interested in hockey and, ultimately, the construction of this new rink. It’s only right that Founders Rink is dedicated in their names.”
In October 1964, Deeran and Hughes placed an advertisement in the Record American inviting anyone interested in forming a youth hockey program in Somerville to attend a meeting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars James A. Logan Post. Five men showed up at the meeting and by the end of the night, Somerville Youth Hockey had a board in place: Deeran as president, Guidi as vice president, Doncaster as secretary, Hughes as treasurer and Papaluca as players’ agent.
That fall, 30 kids signed up, forming four teams. One year later, enough kids had signed up that the program had already grown to four Peewee teams (under 13 years old) and four Bantam teams (under 15 years old), along with all-stars from each age group forming the association’s first traveling teams.
The soon-to-be-named Founders Rink opened in September 2012 next to the Veterans Memorial Rink. The City of Somerville assumed maintenance and daily operations of Veterans Memorial Rink from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in 2010.