R.I. Hockey Hall of Fame recognizes Clegg’s career

Renowned East Bay resident named 2020 Malcolm Greene Chace Award recipient

Posted 3/5/20

The Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame announced Sylvester “Buster” Clegg, former general manager of the Rhode Island Reds and founder/president of the Reds Heritage Society, has been …

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R.I. Hockey Hall of Fame recognizes Clegg’s career

Renowned East Bay resident named 2020 Malcolm Greene Chace Award recipient

Posted

The Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame announced Sylvester “Buster” Clegg, former general manager of the Rhode Island Reds and founder/president of the Reds Heritage Society, has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Malcolm Greene Chace Memorial Trophy recognizing “Achievement and Outstanding Service by a Rhode Islander to the Game of Hockey.”

His selection follows that of East Providence’s Larry Reid, the 2019 recipient. The award is named after the Central Falls, native and Hall of Fame tennis player, financier and textile industrialist who in the winter of 1894-95 brought ice hockey from Canada and is widely considered the “father” of the game in the United States.

The award, generously donated by the Chace family, will be presented by family members during the Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Celebration & Dinner on Friday, Aug. 28, at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln. The 2020 class of seven R.I. hockey greats, including East Providence’s Tim Army, will also be formally inducted that evening. Tickets for the event are available now at RIHHOF.com.

Clegg, a Barrington resident, has had a connection to the game of hockey in Rhode Island for most of his life and it has touched all levels of the sport. Few in Rhode Island history have served the game of hockey in so many ways.

Raised in rural Burrillville, he became an All-State defenseman on the Broncos’ 1955 state championship team coached by the legendary Tom Eccleston. An exceptional student, he also was named to the National Athletic Honor Society for achievement in sports and in academics.

He next attended the University of New Hampshire where he played hockey for four years. The stalwart defenseman and co-captain was named team co-MVP as a senior in 1959.

After graduation, Clegg impressed R.I Reds owner Lou Pieri with his hockey resume and enthusiasm. He was hired as publicity director for both the American Hockey League team and the Rhode Island Auditorium. Clegg would serve in several other administrative capacities over his tenure before being named the team's general manager in 1966. At that time, he was one of the youngest GM in pro hockey. Most importantly, he was one of the very first hockey executives to focus on U.S. collegiate hockey as a source of professional talent.

For close to four decades, Clegg was also active as a youth hockey coach, while serving in several other capacities in the development of hockey programs throughout Rhode Island.

A long-time coach of East Providence youth hockey, he became a founder of the Barrington Youth Hockey Association in the early 70’s during which time he occasionally served as a between-periods analyst for televised Boston Bruins games. Meanwhile, he continued to play on several amateur hockey teams, among them the R.I. Scarlets and the R.I. Oldies.

In 1999, Clegg became the founding president of the R.I. Reds Heritage Society and the catalyst for the tremendous growth of that non-profit organization. One of the first of its kind and a model for others nationally, the Reds Heritage Society has kept alive both the memories of the Reds’ storied 51-season existence and the significance of the game of hockey in the sports annals of our state.

Along the way, he has championed the Society's development of skills, sportsmanship and safety programs focused on young players and the fans of the game. In 2016, Clegg continued that path as one of the founding board members of the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

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