Karl ‘Red’ Adams
He learned how to skate on Long Pond, lacing up the skates for what was a six-mile roundtrip glide.
Red Adams grew up in Concord and fell in love with the game of hockey at the age of five. He played in the youth hockey leagues during the early 30s and later suited up as a forward for the Concord High School Crimson Tide from 1936-39, winning two – albeit unofficial – state championships.
Red took his talents a bit further north for the 1939-40 season, playing for Tilton School. In a memorable game against the Sacred Heart junior team from Concord, Red played the entire 45 minutes, potting a pair of goals and assisting on a third for the winners.
In the fall of 1940, Red enrolled at the University of New Hampshire, where he played freshman hockey and baseball. As a sophomore, Red made varsity, finishing fourth in the scoring race with 19 goals and 25 points for the 4-10-0 Wildcats. UNH’s next highest scorer was Ed Carlson, also of Concord, with eight points. The highlight of the season for Red came when he scored a hat trick against Boston College, the 1942 league champions. During that same season, Red was selected to the All-Tournament team at the Lake Placid tournament.
Said UNH Coach Tony Dougal following the tournament: “He is the most valuable player on this team, and even though he scored more points than any other man on this team, he’s a great team player.”
The subsequent two seasons were difficult for Red and UNH hockey. The ‘Cats played just two games in 1942-43 because the UNH athletic committee tried to abolish the sport before being persuaded otherwise by the student body and players. However, Red still led the team in scoring, potting four goals and five points in those two contests.
A bad lung kept Red away from the school for the next 18 months, however, upon his return there was no hockey played at UNH that season.
Red went on to play for Sacred Heart from 1944-1952. On January 8, 1952, his final year with the team, Red scored a pair of goals in a 19-second span to give the Hearts a 5-3 lead through two periods against the United States Olympic team. But the U.S. wouldn’t be denied, winning 8-6 in front of 600 fans at the old Pleasant Street rink.
Red was also an outstanding pitcher and bowler, playing in the Sunset League at the age of 13 and winning the city bowling championship in 1961 at the age of 40.
Red continued playing hockey in the industrial leagues in both Concord and Manchester until the age of 53 when he finally decided it was time to hang up his skates.