Clarence T. Lessard
As a successful businessman in Berlin, the late Clarence T. Lessard provided integral moral and financial support to the Berlin Maroons until his death in 1971, and was heavily vested in other aspects of hockey in town.
Whether it was buying hockey sticks or getting doctors to attend games, or encouraging young players to see a life beyond hockey by setting goals and furthering their education, he was a key behind-the-scenes influence to the team’s extended success.
“He never looked for public acclaim for his moral support and financial assistance; he just did what needed to be done,” said his son, Pierre. “My father saw the value of the Berlin Maroons as an extension of the community spirit that held Berlin together.”
From 1937 to their disbandment in 1972, the Maroons were one of the most successful amateur hockey teams in New England. They won seven New England titles and were national Amateur Hockey Association champions in 1953-54, 1966-67 and 1967-68.
Lessard was involved with the team as early as the 1953-54 season, and was elected its first and only president when the organization was incorporated in November of 1959.
From 1959 until his death in January of 1971, Lessard attended all director’s meetings, except one, when he was hospitalized, and attended all home games and most of the away games.
He negotiated with the local radio stations to broadcast the games and was involved in signing players. He successfully lobbied for Berlin to host the New England Amateur Hockey Association championships, a strong revenue source, and would give or lend money to purchase equipment like sticks and pucks. He created jobs for players associated with the team. Hired for summer work on construction projects, these opportunities sometimes grew into year-round employment.
Beyond the Maroons, Lessard served as a director of the Berlin Athletic Booster Club and the Notre Dame Arena Corporation, and served as a mentor to many young players, encouraging them to develop career plans and life goals.
He also had an impact at the New England level, serving as a director for the New England Amateur Hockey Association, and later as a lifetime director of the NEAHA.
Lessard passed away in 1971 at the age of 61. In 1974, three years after his death, his friend and colleague, Al Adams, wanted to ensure that his contributions were recognized with a plaque dedication at Notre Dame Arena.