Legends to Induct Seven into Hall of Fame

May 23, 2015 - Manchester, NH
Contact: Jim Hayes at (603) 731-4168

For the past 13 years, the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey has recognized various individuals for their outstanding contributions to the sport of ice hockey. 

Today, the Legends are proud to announce the new inductees as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015. Please welcome the newest members of the Hall of Fame, listed by category.

Player Category:  Russ Bartlett of Windham, NH; Taylor Chace of Hampton Falls, NH; the late Paul Colgan of Concord, NH; CJ Ficek of Bedford, NH; and Ryan Weston of San Diego, CA. Builder Category:  Ron DeGregorio of Salem, NH and the late James D. Houston of Exeter, NH.

The 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Tickets will be available to the general public on Sept. 1.

Shown below is Maurice Couture and Coach Paul Colgan with US Olympic team coach/manager, John "Connie" Pleban and Captain, Allen Alfred "Al" Van.

Here's a closer look at the inductees:

The all-time leading scorer in Phillips Exeter Academy history, the Windham native went on to play at Boston University and St. Lawrence, and played a season in the ECHL after being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bartlett scored 102 goals and 173 assists for 275 points at Exeter Academy where he was recruited an coached by Dana Barbin Hall of Fame '11 and Bill Dennehy Hall of Fame '14.  He is by a good distance the school's all-time leading scorer and led the Big Red to the New England tournament in three straight years, including the semifinals in his senior year of 1996-97.  He played two seasons at BU, managing 51 points in 73 games, before transferring to St. Lawrence, where he collected 65 points in 71 games as a junior and senior. As a junior he served as alternate captain for a St. Lawrence team that won the ECAC Hockey team and played in the NCAA tournament.

He finished his college career playing in 144 games, with 42 goals and 74 assists for 116 points.

After getting drafted in the eighth round by the Maple Leafs in 1997, he played one season with the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL, managing seven goals and 24 points.

At this year's Induction Ceremony, the Legends will also recognize the Nashua Royals senior amateur team.  The Royals began play in 1948 originally with boys, ages 16 to 21.  Shortly after, they became a men's team and in 1952 they beat the Rye Seahawks for the New Hampshire Amateur Class B title.  They were instrumental for some of the success of the Granite State Hockey League whose League Commissioner was our own Ken McKinnon, Hall of Fame '05.  In the 60's they were coached by Ron Peters, Hall of Fame '08.  They played in three straight GSHL Championships, winning in the 1965-66 season over the Tam O'Shanters of Manchester.  Two of their top scorers were Buzz Littell, Hall of Fame '06 and Pete Merrill in addition to Leo Gould, Hall of Fame '06.  In addition, a young kid, just 16 years old was playing for them, Bobby Sheehan.  Sheehan of course went on to play for the Canadiens and several other professional teams during his 14 year career.  This team concluded play after the 1966-67 season.

In the 13 years since suffering a spinal cord injury, the Hampton Falls native has left his mark as one of the most accomplished players in U.S. Sled Hockey Team history, winning back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in 2010 and '14.

On Oct. 6, 2002, at age 16, in a charity game with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in Cannington, Ontario, Chace was checked, back first, into the dasher behind the net, suffering an incomplete spinal cord injury and changing his world forever.

In the winter of 2003, Taylor was introduced to Northeast Passage at the University of New Hampshire and the sport of sled hockey. In June 2005, he was invited to try out for the U.S. team and made it at the age of 19.

After playing on a bronze medal-winning U.S. team in Torino, Italy, in 2006, he was named Paralympic Sportsman of the Year for 2010 after leading Team USA to the gold at the Paralympic Games in Vancouver as a defenseman. He helped the Americans repeat the gold feat in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

Chace serves as the Director of Public and Community Relations for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, and continues as the head coach for adult sled hockey at Northeast Passage/UNH, where he also speaks to groups promoting awareness of recreation and competitive opportunities for youth and adult athletes with disabilities.

A Concord native, the late Paul Colgan was one of the first members of the Sacred Heart Club, scoring during the church team's very first game against a team from Nashua on Jan. 21, 1931, and going on to play in the majority of the team's games for the next 11 years.  Colgan was an athletic youth, playing football for Concord High School, which did not yet have a hockey team, and graduating in 1932. His father, Philip Colgan, designed and built the Sacred Heart ice rink on Pleasant Street in Concord, along with Elphege Couture, in 1930.

Between 1931 and 1942, Colgan was Sacred Heart's most notable player 20 times in 113 games, during which time he was the team's leading scorer with 73 goals, 34 assists and 107 points. The team posted a record of 82-26-5 during that time. Colgan also set the team record for most goals (seven) scored in a game, a mark he set in 1933 and one that stood alone for 15 years.

He retired as a player in 1949 after 15 seasons, for nine of which he was the captain of the team, a career that was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army (Pacific Theatre) during World War II. He became the manager of the team and coached the Sacred Heart team during the famous January 1952 game against the U.S. Olympic team at the Pleasant Street Rink; Sacred Heart actually leading after two periods, before succumbing to the American team. That would be the last season for Sacred Heart as they played their
last game in March of 1952.

On the ice, Colgan was known as a fleet skater, keen playmaker, great passer, and a stick-handler with a hard shot. Off the ice, he is remembered for his great sense of humor, quick wit, gentlemanly manner and high moral character.

Ron DeGregorio's leadership is a major reason why USA Hockey has evolved into arguably a leading hockey federation in the world since his election on June 14, 2003.

A Salem resident for the past three decades, DeGregorio was elected to a fourth term as president in 2012. Under his tenure, the organization launched the American Development Model in 2009, which provides associations nationwide with a blueprint for optimal athlete development.

DeGregorio's first appointment with USA Hockey came in 1973 when he was named registrar for the New England District. He was first elected to the USA Hockey Board of Directors in 1975 and was the organization's first vice president of youth hockey.

He has represented the U.S. at countless events in various positions during his tenure with USA Hockey, including the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" at the Lake Placid Olympics. He served as team leader for the 1994 U.S. Olympic team that competed in Lillehammer, Norway.

The former Middlebury (Vt.) College goaltender was honored with the NHL's Lester Patrick Trophy in 2002 in recognition of his outstanding service to ice hockey in the United States.

A Bedford native, Ficek was a standout player at Manchester Memorial High School, St. Paulís School and the University of New Hampshire, who went on to play three seasons professionally in Germany.

Playing three seasons for Hall of Fame coach Wally Tafe at Memorial, Ficek led the Crusaders to the Division I championship as a junior in 1995, scoring all four of his team's goals in a 4-2 win over Concord. He was named New Hampshire Player of the Year and finished his high school career with 72 goals.

After his junior year of high school he transferred to St. Paul's School, playing two seasons for another legendary coach, Bill Matthews, Hall of Fame '06.  He put up 49-39-88 totals, twice getting named All-League in the Independent School League.

At UNH, he played 128 games over four years, playing on teams that reached the Frozen Four in 1998 and '99. He was named the team's Most Improved Player Award in 1999 and earned the Warren R. Brown Memorial Award for Best Defensive Forward in 2001.

Ficek went on to play professionally for the ERSC Amberg, Wild Lions and the Stuttgart, Wizards in Germany for three successful seasons.

In 1955, New York native James "Jim" Houston moved to Exeter with his young family to take over the Curtain Shop from his father-in-law. The impact he'd make over the next 15 years in the community, in hockey, education and government, was an enormous one.

Houston was instrumental in the formation of a team at Exeter High School in the late 1960s. But it was progression of the Exeter Youth Hockey Association that was his lasting legacy. From its one-team start in 1961, the EYHA developed a successful house league program and All-Star system, embracing opportunity, participation and a level playing field for children of all skill levels to grow, advance and improve. 
Houston served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and, afterward, attended Nichols (MA.) College, where he played football and baseball and was later inducted into the Nichols College Athletic Hall of Fame.
A year after his death in 1970, then-Phillips Exeter Academy coach George Crowe, Hall of Fame '04, started the Jim Houston Tournament, which was originally made up of eight top-tier Bantam teams from the region and still exists, in a different format, today.

A standout at Tilton School and Boston University, the Henniker native played five years of professional hockey, four of them in the AHL.

After one year attending John Stark Regional High School, Weston spent his sophomore through senior years at the Tilton School, where he was a standout four-sport athlete athlete in soccer, hockey, lacrosse and golf. His hockey teams at Tilton won New England championships in all three years.

After a season playing for the New England Jr. Coyotes in the EJHL, where he amassed 39 points in 37 games. Weston went on to play four years at Boston University. He played on three Beanpot championship teams and a Hockey East championship team in 2006, and served as alternate captain his senior year.

After BU, Weston played professionally the Albany River Rats and the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL, and the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.

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