Autograph seekers beware: if you’re planning to attend this Sunday’s Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society Reunion, you’d better have plenty of pens and extra paper.
Fact is, the highly-acclaimed non-profits 18th Annual Reunion, which will begin at noon inside the famed former carousel building at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, will feature the largest collection of hockey legends in the group’s storied history.
The headliners are many, like Bryan Berard, Ray Clearwater, Willie Marshall, Pete Demers, Rick Middleton and Tom Mellor, just to name a few.
In short, the interest in Sunday’s reunion, which will also include a number of award presentations to high school standouts to two women who Society President Sylvester ”Buster” Clegg this week referred to as the “Grand Dames” of Reds Hockey.
“People are coming from everywhere,” said Clegg, who was once served as general manager of the former Rhode Island Reds professional hockey franchise. “Just last week we received notice that Ron Garwasiuk and his wife will be coming from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada.”
Clegg, whose group continues to serve as a model organization for former American Hockey League franchises, went on: “Ron and his wife will be traveling over 2,000 miles to attend this year’s reunion; that’s the furthest of any out-of-town guest.”
Garwasiuk, a diminutive 5-8 left winger, became an immediate favorite with the Reds’ fans. He joined the Reds as an AHL rookie in 1970-71 and scored 31 goals. He also played in Providence in 1971-72, the team’s last season at the famed RI Auditorium at 111 North Main Street.
He was on the Reds first team that moved to the Providence Civic center in 1972-73 cut played only 42 games due to an injury. He later played in the WHA’s Los Angeles Sharks and AHL’s Rochester Americans.
So, what promises to be the Society’s all-time best reunion will include tomorrow night’s Meet and Greet of old-time stars, Saturday’s Dinner-Dance then the reunion Sunday.
In all, 27 former pros, the “Grand Dames” of Reds Hockey, six schoolboys and other honors will be highlighted by presentation of the Tops Award, the Society’s leadership honor that is named in memory of all-time leading scoring and Player of the Century Zellio Toppazzini.
The families of two deceased Reds, namely Dave Creighton and George Army will accept the Tops Award Sunday.
Clearwater was a clever play-making center who played for the Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, NY Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs during his career while Army who became a legendary trainer.
The Reds Heritage Society will also present its Frank E. McCaffrey Memorial “Fan of the Year” honor to Helen Duffy, wife of former “Voice of the Reds” George Patrick Duffy. Marielle Mayer, wife of the late Gilles Mayer, the Reds incomparable goalie, and Toppazzini’s wife Shirley will receive the Grande Dame honors.
Tickets for Sunday’s reunion are $35 and that includes a super buffet. For tickets, please call Mal Goldenberg, at (401) 782-6623 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.