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A Red Letter Day in Providence

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

I got a nice note the other day from a good friend down in Providence who attended the February 9th P-Bruins game.

That night the P-B’s celebrated an earlier version of the Providence AHL entry -- the legendary Providence Reds.

"Not often we get to see the likes of Milt Schmidt on the ice," noted John Smith, who works the games in the Dunkin Donuts Center. "I had our PA announcer David Zebelli who was the MC last night give me his notes."

"As for the game, it was probably the most exciting game we have seen this season," said Smitty. "Providence and Worcester played cat-and-mouse throughout the entire contest as Providence scored first, and Worcester second.

"They then traded (nine!) goals until the Bruins won the game at the 2:09 mark of overtime.

"What a game"

And what a night! I wish I could have been there.

Smith reports on the festivities:

The Bruins sported the 1966 home version of the Providence Reds uniforms, which were white with red sleeves and black trim with the word -- REDS -- spelled diagonally down the front. They were similar to the New York Rangers classic uniform. Obviously, they were pretty cool looking sweaters.

The introductions and the raising of the banner lasted approximately 10 minutes.

Buster Clegg was introduced first. He was the Public Relations director for the Reds, who started in1959 before becoming their General Manager in 1966.

The Next man, Tom Army, was with the Reds organization for ten seasons and is a Providence hockey legend. He also represented his father George, who was the trainer for the Reds from 1934 to 1969.

Louis Pieri was then announced. He was the owner of the Reds for two seasons, taking over for his father, who owned the Reds from 1939 to 1967.

George Patrick Duffy was also introduced. He served as the teams publicist and broadcaster from 1955 to 1973.

And then the Reds players and AHL dignitaries…

Serge Boudreault -- a left wing that skated seven seasons for the Reds tallying 144 points and 228 penalty minutes in 299 games.

Marty Gateman -- a defenseman skated that four seasons for the Reds recording 38 points and 285 penalty minutes in 157 games.

Bob Leduc -- this player is sixth all-time in games played in a Reds uniform with 496. He amassed 314 points and 429 penalty minutes in eight seasons with Providence.

Dan Polizani -- Right wing who skated five seasons with the Reds. Tallied 244 points and 255 penalty minutes in 289 games

Chuck Scherza -- Center, second all-time in games played with 649 and fourth all-time in points with 436. Member of the 1948-1949 Calder Cup team and spent 10 seasons with the Reds.

David Andrews President of the American Hockey league was then introduced, followed by Jeff Fear, the CEO of the Providence Bruins.

And the Reds legends…

Gil Mayer -- a goaltender, inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame this season. He spent two seasons with Providence from 1961-1963 winning 32 games. In his AHL career he is one of only three players to record over 300 victories in net. AHL outstanding Goalie five times and a member of four Calder Cup Championship teams

Fern Flaman -- Inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1990. Spent 17 seasons in the NHL as a d-man totaling 1,370 penalty minutes. Following his Hall of Fame NHL career he joined the Providence Reds as a player/coach for four seasons earning 126 victories and is currently a scout for the NJ Devils.

Milt Schmidt -- the final player introduced. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1961. He played 16 NHL seasons from 1936 to 1955 recording 575 points in 776 games He was a member of two Stanley Cup Championship teams in Boston and went on to coach the Boston Bruins when he finished playing. He began his career with the Providence Reds playing one season in a Reds uniform in 1936-1937.

Fittingly, Milt received a standing ovation from the crowd and as the rest of the players and dignitaries left the ice, all 8796 in attendance were on their feet. Soon after, the crowd’s attention was called to the rafters for the unveiling of the Reds Championship banner.

The gorgeous banner represents 50 seasons of Providence Reds Hockey from 1926-1977. It also represents three Fontaine Cup Championships in 1930, 1932 and 1934, and four Calder Cup Championships in 1938, 1940, 1949 and 1956.

The banner will be a permanent fixture at the Dunkin Donuts Center, displayed to honor the Reds and the start of professional hockey in Providence.

It was placed just to the left of the Providence Bruins 1998-1999 Calder Cup Championship Banner.

Congrats to the Providence Bruins for hosting such a fabulous night. Congrats also to the members of the Reds organization who were honored for their important contribution to hockey in New England.

Finally, thanks to Smitty for the report!
The Bruins did not practice yesterday and as soon as I hear anything about Andrew Alberts, Patrice Bergeron or Glen Murray I will report. So, keep your browser here.
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