By Seth Daniel
In the 1970s, the world of Charlestown’s storied hockey history didn’t really include women or girls.
Save for one hard-nosed coach that many opposing teams of the time learned to respect and to fear, relatives and friends said.
That woman was Anne Considine, dubbed the “original hockey mom” during a banner unveiling ceremony at the Emmons Horrigan O’Neill Memorial Rink on Sunday – a ceremony put on by the Charlestown Youth Hockey Association (CYHA) and attended by scores of her relatives.
The tribute focused on Anne, who passed away in 2004, but also paid tribute to Pat Sr., who passed away in 2008 and worked for the Boston Bruins – establishing a connection between the team and the Town.
“My mom was involved in a lot of things like the Kennedy Center, the Bunker Hill Task Force and the Community School, but her passion was youth hockey,” said Stephen Considine. “It was important to her for all the children of Charlestown and not just her five children. Her office was the kitchen table, and two things I can remember being said so often. First was ‘I don’t care; it’s for the kids. Get it done.’ Second was ‘He’s not a bad kid; he made a bad choice.’ She was known in rinks all around New England and Canada. She would be seen fighting in the stands, the rink or even in the parking lot. She was known as ‘That woman from Charlestown.’ My mom was tough, but fair. Everyone got treated equally. Whether it was the A-team or the in-house team, they all got the same equipment.”
In addition to Stephen, her children included Pat Jr., Dan, Eddie, Anne Marie and Stephen.
Pat Considine Jr. gave an emotional speech and said his mother didn’t just drive the kids to the rink and let them off. She came in and she coached in a time when women didn’t do that. She was, indeed, a pioneer for Charlestown hockey and beyond.
He said his mother devoted 20 years to CYHA, and stayed on long after her kids had moved on.
CYHA’s Al Carrier said he remembered his first day at the rink. Being a Southie and Dorchester guy, he was a bit nervous when he went down to sign up his first son. However, Anne Considine was there to welcome him and initiate him into the Charlestown hockey experience.
Carrier presented the family with a plaque bearing a photo of Anne and Pat Sr. A similar plaque will also hang in the lobby of the rink.
State Rep. Dan Ryan said Anne Considine was his coach when he was a kid, and noted her devotion to the program.
“She was the first hockey mom – the original hockey mom 20 years before Sara Palin,” he joked. “I didn’t have a lot of great skaters in my family and Anne was my mentor and my hockey mom. I needed her help and she was there and she helped me out.”
Councilor Michael Flaherty remembered firsthand going up against teams coached by Anne Considine when he was a player in the South Boston program.
He said the first time his team played Charlestown, many of the boys on the team were laughing because a woman was coaching the Charlestown team.
“There was lot of snickering about Charlestown having a girl coach, but as soon as the game started, there she was arguing with the ref and throwing water bottles on the ice. There weren’t moms doing that in the 1970s and 1980s and she was a pioneer…There weren’t any like her. Here contribution to hockey and Charlestown is unprecedented…I would argue you have such a strong girls team because of Anne Considine.”
After the presentations, the siblings and 12 grandchildren and four great grandchildren unveiled the banner on the west wall of the rink.
The banner was designed and paid for by Gregg Nolan of The Nolan Group.