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EJEPL Conference Biography

The EJEPL is proud to name its Conferences and Playoff brackets after legends of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, USA Hockey and current NHL stars to show respect and gratitude for the impact they have had on the old EJHL and this great sport we love. Listed below are brief bios of these great legends and current NHL stars.

PHIL COLEMAN—Phil Coleman was a founding father of the old EJHL. He owned the old Boston Harbor Wolves based out of Charlestown, MA. Phil was always very vocal at League meetings and brought common sense to the discussions. You could always count on laughs from Phil and he was well respected in the hockey world.

GARY DINEEN--- Gary was a long time operator of the NE Coyotes, later the NE Falcons and was the Dean of owners in the old EJHL. Gary also coached the team for years and had the top organization for a long time in the League. The franchise based out of Enfield, CT sent 100’s of players onto great College and Professional careers. Gary also ran a hugely successful Hockey camp which still operates today. The old EJHL Championship trophy was named in his memory.

JIM PRIOR--- Jim Prior was the EJHL secretary for many years running the day to day business of the League.  Jim was always energetic at the meetings and really cared about all the teams being successful. Jim was also the Boston University Terriers public address announcer for many years and a Korean War vet. Jim is retired now and the EJHL owed a lot of its success to Jim’s hard work and dedication.

DAN ESDALE--- Dan was the founder of the EJHL was back in the 90’s. Dan ran the League with Jim Prior for years. Dan always treated everyone fairly and honestly. He brought pride to the EJHL which grew to 14 teams before dissolving last year. Dan left the EJHL around 2008-9 to become the USA Hockey VP of Juniors, a job he was fair to all in. Dan also runs his own 495 Stars Youth organization. Dan’s leadership was second to none.

PAUL GILMARTIN, SR.---Paul was the founder of the Valley Jr. Warriors in the old EJHL and the Valley Youth League. Paul was instrumental in the workings of the EJHL in it's early days back in the 90's. Paul and the Valley Associates built the Haverhill Forum and operated this complex along with rinks in Lawrence and Medford, MA. Paul's leadership was always very valuable at League meetings as the voice of reason.

MARK BAVIS AND GARNET "ACE" BAILEY--- Mark Bavis was a stellar left winger for Boston University and played professionally in the AHL for both the Providence Bruins and the South Carolina Stingrays. Following his playing days, he continued his career as a scout for the Los Angeles Kings. But on September 11th, 2001 his life came to a tragic ending on flight 175 when hijackers steered his plane into the World Trade Center. His twin brother and Boston University teammate continues Mark's legacy working with the Mark Bavis Foundation. This foundation accepts donations to help young men and women have better opportunities in education and extracurricular activities. Garnet "Ace" Bailey, a fellow Los Angeles scout, lost his life on that same flight. Ace played Junior hockey for the Edmonton Oil Kings and won the Memorial Cup his third year. Eventually he made his way to the NHL and was a great NHL player. Ace was on the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Championship teams of 1970 and 1972. He played with legends Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito on those teams. Ace went on to play with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals. He was head coach of the Wichita Wind (CHL affiliate of the Oilers) for the 1980-81 season then began his work as a scout for the Oilers the following year. He scouted from 1981 to 1994 and helped the Oilers bring in 5 Stanley Cups. 

"BADGER" BOB JOHNSON--- "Badger" Bob Johnson coached the Wisconsin Badgers for fifteen seasons where he led his team to the NCAA National Championship tournament seven times and won three times. He was also the bench boss for Team USA for eight competitions, including the Canada Cup, IIHF World Championships, and the Winter Olympics (twice – in 1976 and 192). He coached in the NHL for six seasons, five for the Calgary Flames in which he went to the Playoffs every season and appeared in the Stanley Cup finals once, and for the Pittsburgh Penguins for one glorious season in which he led the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1991, Superstar Mario Lemieux was a key player for Bob.. He also spent time in youth hockey as an executive director for USA Hockey and coached High School hockey for Roosevelt HS in Minneapolis where he also taught history. He was inducted to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and to the Hockey Hall of fame the following year in The Building Category. His famous catch phrase “It’s a Great Day for Hockey” reflects his great passion for the game of hockey and is a lasting legacy to his impact on the game is immortalized outside the Coral Center, home of the Penguins.

HERB BROOKS--- Herb Brooks tried out for the USA Olympic team in 1960 but didn't make the team. He watched the team win gold from home and afterwards went to the champion coach, Jack Riley, to congratulate him and tell him that he must have made the right decision. Brooks, ambitious to get his home country the gold medal, made the team the next two Olympics but fell short of earning a medal. He retired from playing and coached the Minnesota Golden Gophers for seven seasons, winning three NCAA championship titles. In 1980, continuing to chase his dream of winning the gold medal, he took the job as head coach of Team USA. He had a tremendously challenging job of beating the Soviet Union who had won the last four Olympics. Herb Brooks prepared his team for the challenge with extremely strenuous practices and highlighted teamwork and a fast European style of play to prepare for the Russians. His work paid off and as a coach he finally achieved his goal of winning the goal medal. He continued his career coaching in the NHL for seven seasons with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was inducted to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

GORDIE HOWE-- Gordie Howe, also known as Mr. Hockey, played in 26 NHL seasons recording the most seasons and games played ever by one player. Another record he still holds is as the oldest player to play in a game in the NHL (at 52 years old). Gordie is one of the top 3 players in Hockey history having a long career which spanned the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's when he played a few games with his sons. Most of his illustrious career was played with the Detroit Red Wings.

 Howe won the Stanley Cup four times in his long career. He held many other records before Wayne Gretzky's era in the '80s and was widely known as the best player ever to play the game of hockey prior to Gretzky’s emergence. Yet he is still top ten in the three of the most important statistics - he is second in the most goals ever scored, fourth in points and ninth assists. Not only did he score goals and assists but he also liked to drop the mitts. He was famous for often accumulating a goal, an assist and a fight all in one game, a feat which has been coined a 'Gordie Howe hat trick'. Howe still might be one of the most complete hockey players ever to play - he was fast, tough, a natural goal scorer, and played back when sticks had no curve. His ambidextrous ability allowed for great stick handling and powerful shooting with both hands. Mr. Hockey was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame the year after he retired in 1972, but ended up playing one more NHL season in from 1979-1980 for the Hartford Whalers, rather than with the Detroit Red Wings for whom he played his other season 25. Howe was also inducted to the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame in 2010 and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.

MARK MESSIER--- Mark Messier, like Gordie Howe, played a long career and made the top ten for most goals, assists, and points ever scored. He played 25 seasons in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks. He also won the Stanley Cup six times. His leadership abilities as a Captain (both on and off the ice), were so well known that the NHL named their leadership award after him; the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Off the ice, he is famous for his charitable work. For the past 15 years he has helped raise more than one million dollars for the Tomorrow's Children Fund. Messier was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

WAYNE GRETZKY---  Wayne is the best hockey player ever to tie the skates. Wayne hold too many scoring records to count. He helped lead Edmonton to 4 straight Stanley Cups in the 80's and when he went to LA, helped develop hockey in Ca to become a top sport in the State. Wayne played for the Rangers also and is considered the smartest player ever. His years with 200 points will probably never be matched again.

MARIO LEMIEUX---  Mario goes down in hockey history as one of the best players ever. He led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992, and had many great years. Mario was a Penguin his entire career and now owns the Penguins. He was dubbed "The Magnificent One".

JIM SALFI--- Jim, who is now retired and living in the Albany area was instrumental in developing 100's of players in the old EJHL for College and pro careers. Jim always put the League first and livened up meetings with his sense of humor. Jim also coached at the College level and is still active with Hockey Night in Boston.






These players are all NHL stars and the EJEPL is proud to name development divisions after these fine players.....