In Memory of Paul Gilmartin, Sr.
|Paul Gilmartin, Sr.|
Jan. 7, 1943 -
Feb. 25, 2014
By Mike Lynch
If you grew up on the North Shore or the
Merrimack Valley and played youth hockey at any time over the past
thirty years, you had a connection with Paul Gilmartin. Mites, Squirts,
Pee Wees, Bantams, Midgets and Juniors were all part of Paul's extended
As one friend wrote me today, "my greatest memory of
Paul was of him sneaking into the rink on weekends. He wouldn't tell
anyone he was there. He watched from his office and loved seeing kids
play. He seemed to get as much joy from watching those kids play as if
they were his own."
Paul Gilmartin passed away on February 25th
in the middle of hockey season, his favorite season. Three decades ago
Paul founded Valley Associates and eventually built a number of rinks.
He scheduled games, formed leagues and filled those rinks with thousands
of young boys and girls who had the opportunity to enjoy hockey,
improve their skills, meet new friends and learn the value of teamwork
and fair play.
Paul was especially proud of his Valley Jr
Warriors and the litany of names that moved on from that team to play
major college hockey, the NHL and even the Olympics. Paul was a quiet,
humble man who rarely boasted about his past or any of his achievements
and it wasn't until the day after he died that I learned he led Malden
Catholic to a state title (no small feat) in 1960 and captained the Blue
Blades in 1961.
When Paul asked me to write in this space a
couple of times each month he wanted me to focus on sportsmanship and
some of the core values he feared were eroding from sports. Paul
recognized the importance of a pat on the back after a tough loss or how
a simple trip McDonalds, or a couple of cups of hot chocolate with mom
or dad helped melt the anguish of defeat and reinvigorated that Squirt
or Mite to head home with a smile and "go get 'em next time."
may have taken his last breath on February 25th but he breathed endless
life into anyone who ever laced them up in the Valley Hockey Leagues.
Click here to read Paul's obituary.