No doubt, Ron Peters is the only man in the room today who has safely guided 747 jets onto Logan Airport runways and then, after getting off work, hightailed it to a rink to make line changes while coaching a hockey game. Ron, for 37 years as an air traffic controller, worked first in Boston and later in southern New Hampshire. That move north was our good fortune and it was in Nashua he became revered as the local “Father of Hockey.”
His robust hockey life started long before he came to New Hampshire, though-back in the late 1930s, on Jamaica Pond outside of Boston. At first, he was a skater, a grade-schooler then, who later put on the pads and became a standout high school District League goaltender.
Ron, in 1963, arrived in Nashua via a job transfer and with his vast experience immediately immersed himself in hockey. His player resume included practice goaltender for the Boston Olympics (Eastern Hockey League); goaltender Boston Barons; stalwart in the Newspaper League whose players all worked at Boston dailies (Post, Herald, Globe); a regular in the Mayflower Hockey League; and starter for the Wetzell Hockey Club of Braintree. Also, he and a few friends in 1958 had inaugurated the first youth hockey program in Brockton, MA. So, he was well prepared to give southern New Hampshire hockey a needed boost.
First, he became coach of the Nashua Royals in the Granite State Hockey League and won the 1964 league championship. He later served as GSHL president. When he met Adrien Labrie, a local general contractor, they conspired to raise funds and build the Nashua Garden rink.
Ron organized the first youth hockey program in Nashua, calling it the Greater Nashua Youth Hockey Association. The program was open to all hockey players, no matter which town they were from. He had lots of help from other lovers of the game in this creation. Ron became the first GNYHA president and served more than 10 years. It is estimated that more than 6000 youngsters benefited from the program.
Ron also formed the Twin State Youth Hockey League and coached mite level through junior teams. Some of his other duties included setting schedules, hiring officials, keeping records and statistics, selling ice time and driving the Zamboni. He even became a news correspondent, writing youth hockey and NEHL game stories for the Nashua Telegraph.
Later, he formed the Nashua Maple Leafs, an entry in the New England Hockey League, and became general manager and eventual coach of the team. When the Nashua Garden was forced to close its doors and the Maple Leafs were disbanded, Ron was hired to coach the Manchester Monarchs.
As time wore on, Ron became a certified AHA referee and joined with Paul Fischer, George Marineau and Brother John Paul, as prime movers in inaugurating the Nashua High School and Bishop Guertin High School hockey programs. Marineau became the first hockey coach for Nashua HS. Brother John Paul became Bishop Guertin’s first head coach.
Ron Peters – Class of 2008.
Please welcome Ron Peters.