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Joyce Endee

Monarchs and Hockey Legends honor Berlin High School

Photo by Jonathan Benton The Berlin High School boy’s and girl’s hockey teams had the honor of the unraveling the American flag before the Monarch’s game at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Oct. 28. Photo by Jonathan Benton. (click for larger version)
November 07, 2012
CONCORD — It was a proud day to be a Mountie as the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey and the Manchester Monarchs honored Berlin High School's rich hockey heritage last week Sunday.

"I've known from the start that Berlin was a big hockey town, obviously "Hockey Town USA"," said current BHS varsity hockey player Christina Morin. "This means a lot to Berlin as a whole and it's important that the tradition is carried on. I've been ready to play hockey since cross-country started so I'm excited."

The BHS athletic program received donations to make it possible to have all the hockey players to attend the events at no cost to them. According to Berlin Native and Hockey Legends Hall of Fame member John Normand, it was the biggest induction dinner they have ever had.

"I actually came up with a definition of Mountaineer," said Normand. "A rugged individualist who seeks to conquer the highest peaks."

The Berlin athletes had the added honor of unraveling the America flag on the ice at the Verizon Center before the Monarch's game versus the Bingmanton Senators. The BHS band and choir were also present to fill the rink with the National and Canadian Anthems. The game was part of Canadian Heritage Day and the Monarch's themselves were donned in red BHS uniforms complete with the Mountie patch.

"This means a lot to me, there were a lot of very inspirational speeches that make me feel proud to be from Berlin and playing hockey," said BHS varsity hockey player Cody Fauteux. "I was ready to play a game right after some of those speeches, it was like locker room talk."

At the banquet the late Dicky Valliere (1938-1998) of Berlin was inducted into the Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame. Accepting on Dicky's behalf was his sister Lorraine Frenette. Despite being diagnosed with polio when he was 12 Dicky helped Notre Dame High School win four straight championships and co-captained the 1957 team that won the New England Title in 1957. He also played 10 seasons with the Berlin Maroons finishing his career with more than 400 points.

The induction ceremony was held at the Grappone Center and its entryway was rife with BHS hockey memorabilia. Walter Nadeau vice president of the historical society, helped put together the display of newspaper clippings, plaques and old hockey gear. The most notable item was the front page clipping from 1963 declaring the reign of a new state champion, Berlin. Coached by Dick Bradley the Mounties gained their first state hockey title after dethroning Notre Dame Academy.

"On every cold day at dawn before school the team would be found practicing at Green St. or ice holes located by Jericho Lake," said BHS Athletic Director Craig Melanson. "It was dedication determination and commitment to excel which led to our school's first NHIAA state championship…this was only the beginning of what was and still is to come."

Out of 1317 games played BHS hockey has enjoyed a record of 756-517-44 appearing in 28 finals and winning nine state titles.

"To the young Berlin athletes, embrace being a Mountaineer," said Normand. "The circumstances today are very different from the time that I grew up there, but never let those circumstances determine your fate because then you open yourself to being a victim of circumstance. Always strive to be the best athlete and the best person you can be and you will be successful and be supported every step of the way on your goal to reaching the top of that mountain."

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