Leonard ‘Red’ Brochu
He had enough. After pinning one player under his knee, taking another off his back and throwing a third over the boards, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder glided over to the Montreal Police bench and in so many words told them if they didn’t clean it up, the game wouldn’t continue and they could settle their issues off the ice.
After he removed his officiating shirt, that is. One of eight children, Red Brochu learned his English in the basement of the Sacred Heart Church in Concord, where he attended Concord High School in 1946. Red skated for the hockey team through his senior year in 1950, playing an influential role in guiding the Crimson Tide to the semifinals as a senior, where it fell to Berlin, 2-1, in double overtime.
Red continued his career, playing for Sacred Heart in the team’s final year of existence. He moved on to play for the Shamrocks, who played at White Park, in the 60s. It was during this time that he also helped assist Concord High Coach Paul Dupont in 1961.
Red’s brother, Robert Brochu, was the superintendent of the construction company that built Everett Arena.
Red was also a part of starting the Concord Youth Hockey Association. Red and John Healy were amongst a group that helped founder Russ Martin start the youth hockey program in 1959-60. And it was at this time that Red began officiating.
Sometimes four to five games a day, Red officiated youth hockey games on weekends, donating his time and energy to the game he loved. In the evenings he would officiate high school, college or senior games.
Known to always carry two pairs of skates with him, so he’d always have a dry pair, Red officiated somewhere between 90 to 120 high school, college and senior games per year.
Red also officiated league games for the Eastern Olympics, Blackhawks, Maroons and Budmen. It was during one of these games that he had his run-in with the Montreal Police, who were in town for a game against the Eastern Olympics.
After a third back surgery in 1979, Red retired from coaching. And when Charlie Holt was re-writing the collegiate hockey officiating book he called upon Red for his input.
Red returned to coaching during the 70s, following the birth of this son, Len, in 1966. He coached Len from clinic all the way through peewees. Bishop Brady Coach Bud Luckern coached Len for one year before retiring, thus handing over the reins to Red, who took over the helm and coached Bishop Brady from 1981-86.
Red passed away in June of 2007 at the age of 73 while he building a stone wall for his business, Brochu Nurseries. He did get a chance to see most of his grandchildren play hockey; Ryan, DJ and Greg Proulx, and Hannah and Lenny Brochu III. His youngest grandsons William and Henry Brochu were only one year old when he passed away.
One of his greatest joys was watching how his love of hockey transferred down to his children and grandchildren.