Just mention Gerry Grassie’s name in any New Hampshire Seacoast rink and high praise sopped with reverence will follow. His hockey achievements were many, all of them etched in granite, as durable as the man himself and the legacy he left us.
Ironically, he didn’t play organized hockey as a youngster. At Holy Rosary High School in Rochester (Class of ’61), Gerry was prominent on the basketball court and baseball diamond. By the time he was 30 years old, though, the hockey bug had landed on his shoulder. The bite was a hard one and he became celebrated for his work coaching, refereeing, organizing, promoting and fund raising, all in the name of youngsters playing the sport.
His first affiliation was with the Dover Youth Hockey Association, beginning in 1973. During his five-year tenure, he did his usual job: coach, referee, chair the fundraising committee and serve as a distinguished board member and president.
In 1978, he shifted his attention to the fledgling Somersworth Youth Hockey Program in the town where he lived his entire life. For the next four years, his energies flowed like the neighboring Salmon Falls River as he recruited players and organized teams. He also set up fund-raising programs, spending time, too, as a coach and referee.
Also in 1978, Gerry volunteered to become the director of the Seacoast Hockey League and for twenty-four years oversaw the healthy growth of youth hockey in the area. The original league was comprised of just four local Associations. By the winter of 2002, the SHL had 16 Association members. It wasn’t easy and took a lot of hard, steady work. During his 24 years of Seacoast Hockey League service, Gerry was the SHL director and also director of the annual post-season tournament. Early in his tenure, he introduced a tournament format that paired teams in divisions according to how they finished the regular season. This allowed each team to be competitive in the tournament instead of having to compete in a division where their chances of losing were greater than winning.
He also developed special hockey software for the Seacoast Hockey League, and saw to it that it was made available at no cost to the New Hampshire Amateur Hockey Association.
In 1989, Gerry became a delegate to the NHAHA, serving until his untimely death in 2002 at age 59.
Perhaps the nugget in the Grassie hockey crown was the formation of the Seacoast Spartans. He and friend Bob Brown of Rochester, in 1988, co-founded the Spartans, which is an elite youth hockey program offering true skill development at all of the different age levels. In recent years, each of the teams has had high competitive success. He is greatly missed by all who knew him.
Gerry Grassie – Class of 2008.
Please welcome Chris Grassie accepting for his father, the late Gerry Grassie.