Jeanne took me to the New Jersey Devils game last night. She was the guests of the wife of one of the players. Three thoughts came to mind. It amazes me that such a magnificent arena now stands in downtown Newark. I enjoyed the "Beers Of Newark" concession stand the most. if you have not been there, you got to see it. The circus comes to down next month.
My earliest memory of Newark Hockey was watching games from a semi-pro league at the arena in Branch Brook Park 1959-1960. Remember it was an open air arena.
The man who really introduced hockey to the kids of Newark was Mister Crowley. I recall coming home late from a night out with Mike Torluccio and seeing guys walking down Orange
Street at 3 am wearing hockey gear. We thought we were hallucinating. His legacy lives today at the Pru Center.
The early games at the rink were "The Garden State
Hockey League". Teams came from all over. West New
Yorks Vics, Cherry Hill Cyclones, New York Greenleafs,
South Mountain Rockets, Paterson etc etc. A lot of great
memories and players from that time.
Newark's first semi-pro team was the 1972 Newark Brewers,
who played out of the brand new (That year) Ironbound arena.
I was the only player from Newark. Marc Ozga was closest
from Maplewood via Ottawa. The team lasted in Newark for
2 seasons before moving to a new arena at The Bergen Mall,
and then to the arena I built in Monsey New York and changed
the name to the Rockland Colonials.
It was Mr C who would call up my mom and say "I need to pick up your son to play hockey at 3 AM". She'll be 99 in a couple of weeks, God willing, and even though she might not remember
what she had for breakfast, she will ask every now and then:
"Who was that guy that would call and ask if you could go
play hockey in the middle of the night?"
I remember watching West New York play in the Garden State Hockey League for free by standing on the top of the reservoir overlooking the arena. 1959 with Fred HERCULES Thomson star Newark Tech basketball player 1961-1963. Last night the prices were 95 dollars to sit downstairs. My wife got free tickets from one of the players' wives (BG) and we sat with the wife of last night's goal keeper (SC). Parking was $25. JIm, I did not know you were such a talented hockey player. Wow! I played softball for years in West Orange with Billy Monahan who also played about 50 hockey games a year in and around Essex County.in the 70's and 80's.
I played softball in Livingston with and against Billy Monaghan for years. He was a bartender at The Landmark Tavern in Livingston. A big Softball and Hockey League place that I patronized for over 30 years. Billy is no longer with us but many are still there. Jimmy knows them! John Ozwald, the current owner of the Landmark. Tony Del Tufo, from Branch Brook and South Mountain Arenas. The Deresky Brothers, one of the best hockey families ever. And many others, all old friends from the good old days. If you are ever in the area, stop by and check out the pictures on the walls, I'm in most of them. Many Ranger and Devil players came there. Including Ron Greshener and his wife Carol Alt and many others. I haven't been there in years. That would be a great Road Trip! BD
Played softball in West Orange with Billy from 1981 to 1985. A great hitter. Bernie Mooney of Fairmount Avenue and Barringer '63 ran the team. Billy was a great hitter My wife's good friend Janie Buehlmaier is close friends's with billy's widow Gwen. Very sad. A good guy.
last semester had a student from matawan who didn't believe that the pru arena was NOT the first real ice sheet in newark... had to email him a pic of branch brook to prove it... he said the arena was really gorgeous... wish I had seen it on my whirlwind visit home for the christmas party...
what I remember best was figure skating and our hockey team skating after us... you hockey players swept the ice with your hockey sticks looking for the lost skate screws that fell off our skates... thanks guys, never think we ever said thanks... :)
ironically, my ortho surgeon here in ohio was all american baseball from west patterson and think he said he played hockey too at our rink on the patterson(?) team... frank mannarino, he has an identical twin but nor sure of his name, late 60's probably... (think he's getting tired of putting my body back together because I'm not ready to hang up the figure skates)
There are windows looking in on the practice rink facing Lafayette Street. Pedestrians can watch the Devils practice and go through drills. I wish the NJ Nets would join the Devils and Seton Hall by moving to Newark. As Jimmy pointed out there was another ice rink in the Ironbound in the 1970's. Is it still there?
That's what Moy Bing would say.
Ironbound is still there. JFK isn't.
The city of Newark opened two rinks that year.
One in East side the other in the Central ward.
What dumps they became. The locals in Ironbound
did their best and kept the rink running, but it is
very wise to have your tetanus shot updated.
The "County" Ivory tower decided to close Branch Brook
to build a "Veladrome". Now there's some genius'. (People
were taking a lot of acid back then, man.) The old rink
burned down. (They couldn't start a flood in an old
resevoir?) The County built a second surface at South
Mountain years later.
I opened Sport-a-rama in 73. Rinks have come and gone, like
Totawa Ice World, Danny Michaels in Florham Park, Brick forum
etc. There are rinks now all over the place. I think it's
great, if it keeps kids that were like me, off the streets.
Came across some treasures of my youth. One of which was a Newark Brewers Hockey puck complete with mug of brew on it. I saw a bunch of Brewers game at Ironbound. I played on a club team coached by Mr. S whose son Sam Sabalaskus played for the brewers. Our games were played mostly at Ironbound, Warinanko, and sometimes South Mountain. Good memories, would enjoy reading more about some of the players.
I just read the posting by Jim Egan who played for me on the Newark Brewers semi-pro hockey team which I created in the early 70's at Ironbound Arena in Newark after moving from Ocean Ice Palace in Bricktown where we played in the Jersey State Hockey League. Are their any players who played for me out there or perhaps fans who watched the Brewers at Ironbound Arena? Would love to hear from you.
The man is a legend. Remember the TV show that opened
"There are a thousand stories in the Naked City", well,
there's 25,769 regarding Tom and The Brewers. Tom there's
not a month goes by we don't bring your name up. I see or
keep in touch with Mull, Ralphie, Johnny Zeevalk, Ozga and a lot of Rockets. Most are on facebook. I'll e-mail you.
When you're at "The Rock" next time. There's a "tribute" to Newark's "First" Hockey Team at the very top of the escalator
(Broad St. side). The Newark Brewers. Ya gotta love the jersey
hanging in the frame.