The town of Melrose has long been an incubator for Massachusetts hockey talent, a quiet hamlet where a deep love for the game has always burned brightly.
So, it’s easy to understand why Seaver Peters, being a product of that place, has been able to make major and lasting impacts on hockey in and around Hanover, New Hampshire.
He landed in the heart of the Upper Valley 60 years ago, fresh out of Melrose HS (Class of 1950), to enroll at Dartmouth College.
Among the things he brought with him that day were the hockey skills he had been honing since the 7th grade, playing for the Green Street Reds youth team. Later, at Melrose HS, as a sophomore he was a first-line left wing for coach Charlie Holt, who later became UNH’s legendary coach. Holt was succeeded by Henry Hughes, a Massachusetts coaching legend. By the 1949-50 season, Melrose was at its mightiest, in the end winning every title in sight: Champions of the GBI League; of Massachusetts; of New England!
At Dartmouth, Seaver played for an undefeated freshman team, followed by three varsity seasons under famed coach, Eddie Jeremiah. As a junior and a senior, Seaver was a first-line center. He also was team captain as a senior. His greatest hockey accomplishments were still ahead, to be off ice.
He graduated from Dartmouth in 1954 and then, via the ROTC program, served two years at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod.
By 1959, he was back in Hanover for good, becoming an integral part of Dartmouth’s administrative team. Initially, he worked as assistant comptroller and assistant athletic director.
He worked, too, in the local community, organizing what in 1962 became the Hanover Youth Hockey Association, collaborating as co-founder with Dartmouth hockey alum, Ab Oakes. Seaver then served the Association as president for 17 consecutive years.
In 1964, he briefly took over as freshman hockey coach in the absence of Eddie Jeremiah, who was on leave to coach the US Olympic hockey team at the Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
Then came 1967 and Seaver ascended as Dartmouth’s athletic director. Over the next 16 years, he was a major administrative force, on campus and in Hanover, making many hockey things possible.
Perhaps the largest nugget of his tenure was the building of the Rupert Thompson Arena, which replaced Davis Rink, opened in 1930, as the venue for Dartmouth hockey. Seaver, among others, helped guide the project from its inception and he smiled broadly when construction began in 1973. The first hockey game was in November of 1975: Dartmouth and the US Olympic team skated to a 3-3 draw.
In October of 1976, The Friends of Dartmouth College Hockey was created. Needless to say, the Peters’ administrative thumb was in the pie. The group today remains a vibrant supportive varsity adjunct. Also during the 1970s, he served a few years as chairman of the ECAC Playoff Selection Committee.
Next came the creation and development of the Dartmouth Women’s Hockey Program. The roots reach back to 1977, three years after Dartmouth ceased being an all-male institution. In the ensuing 33 years, the program has enjoyed great success, producing 8 Olympians, 38 1st-team All Ivy League skaters, 27 winning seasons, 8 NCAA appearances, and 4 ECAC titles.
In February of 1983, Seaver stepped down as Dartmouth athletic director and moved into the investment world full time. His sense of community hockey development never dimmed, though, and in 1988 he saw the James W. Campion Rink open. As you might suspect, he was involved with the planning and development. Located in contiguous West Lebanon, the rink gave the community a facility to replace Dartmouth’s old on-campus Davis Rink, which has been razed. Campion Rink serves and supports both local youth hockey and high school programs, as well as community recreational programs.
Today, Seaver and his wife, Sally, live in White River Junction, VT. They have six children and eight grandchildren.