-By The Charlestown Youth Hockey Alumni
For over two decades at the Charlestown Rink on Sunday at noon during the hockey season, there is a fraternity of former Charlestown youth hockey players huffing and puffing up and down the ice, reliving their youth for that one special hour each week.
This fraternity of players known as the “Alumni” are from different age groups as well as a wide range of professions, but share one common goal and one common bond; to skate for that one hour, have some laughs, some hacks, give each other grief and thank God they survived another week. The common bond that each player shares is that they are all from the same family, the Charlestown Youth Hockey family. Each player grew up in the CYHA program, played high school, with many playing in college as well as a few who played professionally. The other bond that exists is that each player gives back to youth hockey more than what they received. Whether in Charlestown, or any other community in eastern Massachusetts, there is not a rink that you will not see a former member of the Charlestown Youth Hockey Association on the bench coaching and teaching youth hockey players in the communities they now reside. At home here in Charlestown, they continue to give back financially which has allowed many to play who may not have been able. This is where Tommy Bryson stood tall and made his biggest save!
Each year at the end of the season, Tommy always broke the house rule which states that everyone pays except goalies. Goalies always skated free in exchange for receiving errant slap-shots off the head, breakaways, dekes and fun loving abuse that made any goalie look foolish. In exchange for this abuse, forwards and defensemen covered the weekly fee to skate each week for expenses associated to ice costs, and the season ending “break-up” party, which may be a story for another day. The remaining funds were then donated to the Charlestown Youth Hockey program. Tommy always was more than generous and his financial contributions exceeded the bumps, welts and bruises he received every Sunday morning. Quietly without fanfare, Tommy would make his annual generous donation to help a program so near and dear to him.
Tommy Bryson, a very important member of our beloved fraternity, passed away 10 years ago playing the sport he loved. In memory of Tommy Bryson, each year the “Alumni” awards a scholarship to a goalie in the Charlestown Youth Hockey Association who exemplifies the many wonderful qualities we miss dearly of our friend and his drive to succeed on the ice as a goaltender. Each recipient receives a replica of the Tommy Bryson Award and their name is added to the trophy on display at the rink. All scholarship winners receive tuition assistance as well as scholarship to a local goalie camp for one week during the summer. A new member of our fraternity who recently moved to Charlestown is associated to a local goalie school and graciously donated the scholarship in Tommy Bryson’s name. Past winners of the Tommy Bryson award are Jenelle Tucker, Michael Newhall, Sean O’Halloran, Pat Owens, John Richard, Brennan Carrier and Isiah Emma.
As we remember on this 10th anniversary of the passing of our friend Tommy Bryson, the Charlestown Youth Hockey Alumni is proud to announce this year’s recipient of the Tommy Bryson Award for the 2010 and 2011 season which is presented to Nolan Rossi of the Bantam hockey team.
Every Sunday at noon when the sun peaks through the old barn on Union Street, Tommy Bryson is looking down upon his many friends who keep his memory alive!
Congratulations Nolan Rossi and thank you Tommy Bryson.