What fun we had at the Malden High School Golden Tornado Club 34th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony! The Moose Hall was rockin’ on Saturday, November 20 with, according to reliable sources, the biggest crowd in over 10 years crowding into the venerable banquet room. Thanks to the 1973 Malden High School hockey team (and the whole DeVincentis clan), not an extra seat in the house – the hockey team out in full force due to the extraordinary effort of Bobby McCarthy rounding up his old teammates. Coach (Bill) McCormack was on hand for the big event. He had his loving nephews Paul and Sean Gilligan by his side all night making sure “Uncle Bill” was well taken care of.
The night was a great success, in every measurable way. It helps sitting with some of the best and brightest minds in Malden: Malden Recreation Director, brother Joe; former girls’ hoops coach and MHS Principal Dana Brown, who kept us entertained all night with his running commentary; MHS Class of 1973 baseball standout Matt “Anthony’s Older Brother” Chiccuarelli; MHS Class of 1973 basketball standout Tommy Stein; Harvey “Nat the Cat” Nadler, who has more Malden sports knowledge in his little fingers than most of us have in our whole body. Saw Harvey and coach Exilhomme comparing notes earlier in the night (expect a Thanksgiving Day victory after that little talk). Joe’s daughter Dorothy gave us the inside scoop on a lot of the stats behind the stats with her vast knowledge of Malden High sports. Football Head Coach Witche Exilhomme and assistant coach Wiston Jeune as well as Wiston’s charming wife rounded out this fabulous table.
A few takeaways from the event before I publish a quote from the keyboard of the inimitable Dana Brown:
- We had two of the finest quarterbacks in the history of Malden in attendance, Johnny Salmon from the class of ’66 and John Stanasek from the class of ’76. Both should have their own wing in the Hall.
- Sad news relayed by Panama [Peter Carroll]; a Golden Tornado “titan” died this past August. Dickie Vaughan bled blue and gold and loved Malden and Malden athletics. He joins Hall of Famers Guy LoConte (1954), Billy Blais (1964) and Steve Carpenter (1975) passing away in 2021.
- Panama also announced that longtime Golden Tornado supporters Bobby Sager and Dave Slaine made sizable contributions to the Golden Tornado Club. Bobby, $10,000 and David, $2,500. Thank you, gentlemen. Mensches, both of you!
Great to see the whole DeVincentis family in attendance. Bobby’s daughter Kaitlyn was taking her rightful place in the Hall of Fame this night. My old friend Joe (DeVincentis) looked to be enjoying himself the most.
Took a moment for me recognize old friend Donny Roach (Hall of Fame 1976). I was very happy to hear both his parents are alive and well. Two very nice people raising four beautiful children. Donny, by the way, may be the best all-around athlete during my years at the high school. He could do it all and we were very proud that he lived on Malden Street in Edgeworth during his high school years (right next door to Mr. Adorn).
Steve Surette was accompanied by his little sister Paula; both looked great. He was the leader of that talented ’73 hockey team on the way to a GBL Most Valuable Player Award. His brother Dave was also on this team. Dave was no slouch either. By the way, Steve, thank you for the kind words about my column. Again, it means a lot coming from you.
Dave (Slaine) flew up from Florida for the event (and boy were his arms tired – that’s a joke, son). His good pal Mike Byrne was being inducted; he had to be there. His donation of $2,500 to the Golden Tornado Club in Mike’s name was just one of the many mitzvahs Dave has done for his beloved Malden over the years – most of his good deeds, under the radar. They don’t make them like Dave Slaine any longer. Oh yeah, and for those that don’t know him, Dave was a terror on the hoop court. With those long legs and deadly jumper, he always took it easy on me back in the old Y days. He always respected his elders. Thank you, Dave, for your generosity and love of Malden.
Yes, Bob Rotondi, you were missed.
Where would Malden High and Malden athletics be without Malden’s Loyal Order of Moose, Henry’s Catering and specifically the Dorazio family – without their generous support over the many years?! Yeah, we’d be hurting. Thank you from the bottom of Malden’s heart for the benevolence the Dorazios have shown over the decades.
Jeanne (Grasso) Marquardo is listed as the secretary of the Golden Tornado Club, but darn it, that isn’t even close to what she actually means to this organization. Thank you, Jeanne! Say hi to Joey and Marty for me.
Mike Byrne started his classy speech by thanking his “best friend” (his wife) and his (best friend) growing up, Russell Smith. Russell passed away a few years back, but Mike and Russell’s sister Maryanne make sure that we never forget the wonderful person Russ was. Maryanne (Smitty) is a Hall of Famer herself from the class of 1978.
Fun fact: Mike’s 1972 football squad were so close nine of his teammates were ushers in his wedding!
All roads lead back to Dave Slaine. Mike mentioned Dave also in his acceptance speech. Dave hasn’t called Malden home for many years, but the impact and the friendships he made growing up here are for life. That’s how Malden rolls! That’s how Dave Slaine rolled!
The ’73 hockey team looked genuinely happy to be there. A few are already in the Hall as individuals (Steve Surette, Steve Sideri, Joe Bogan, Bill McCormack), but for many others on the team this was their first time attending a Hall of Fame banquet. It was great to catch up with old friends like Richie Howard, the Surette brothers, Bobby McCarthy, Ray Porter, Jimmy McGonagle, Danny Boland, Joey Mayne and Bobby DiMeco. I even got to chat up Jimmy’s little brother Johnny “Mags” McGonagle for a while. Did I mention that most of the team was from Edgeworth?
Emcee and Golden Tornado Club Vice President Peter Carroll kept the night flowing as only Panama can. Brian’s big brother has been called a Malden treasure and an invaluable member of the community, mostly by his pal Terry Mathews, but that’s what friends are for! Of course, I kid, we love ya, Pete! Great job.
The inductees’ speeches were impressive – seriously – short and sweet deftly mixing in nostalgic memories with humility and reverence for those who mentored them through their formative years. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Mario (Fosco), Kaitlyn (DeVincentis), Rachel (Timmons Henderson), Anthony (Pappagallo) and Annie (Abber). Wonderful job, kids!
Speaking of mentoring…every inductee under the age of 35 I have ever heard speak name-checks Joe (Levine) and Dana (Brown) as their role models and mentors through their high school years. How great is that? To have had a positive impact on so many young lives. It don’t get much more gratifying. Thank you, gentlemen.
The Borsetti brothers, John and Mike, were sitting with 1976 Hall of Famer Johnny Stanasek. Where was Mario?!
Mike Byrne, he of that sweet right arm, you’re another story. To know you is to love you. One of the nicest people I have ever met. Fact. We played many games of hoop up the old Y, and you always wanted Mike on your team if you wanted to keep the court. Malden has always been very fortunate to have Mike Byrne as a member of the community. Congratulations, big guy.
Mayor Christenson was sitting front and center as he usually does at these events. Like a kid in a candy store, his passion and enthusiasm for Malden High School athletics is legendary. And no early exit for this guy. With G Man’s assistance I was able to get the money shot at the end of the night of that incredibly talented 1973 hockey team.
Heard something crazy that night: Tryouts for that 1973 hockey team attracted 150 Malden High students. Think that over for a second. One hundred fifty students tried out for this hockey team with only a handful making the squad. Amazing.
Did I mention that the dinner was excellent! The Moose gets better with age. And speaking of age, my two main men, Ralphie Kelly and Ronny Luke, were behind the stick this night. Like your favorite old pair of Chuck Taylor’s, these two have been in our lives serving us (responsibly of course) since time immemorial. Thank you, guys.
Oh yeah, almost forgot Freck! Golden Tornado Club President Steve Freker once again threw a great party. Smiles and happy faces throughout the Moose Hall prove Freck done good! See you at the next banquet, Steve!
“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end” – I sat with Dana (Brown) all night. Love listening to his insights whether it be sports, politics or just life in general. He isn’t shy, as the saying goes. The man got it going on! Dana, of course, took to Facebook after the ceremony and with heart in hand hit a buzzer-beater in Game 7:
“What a wave of emotions last night as worlds collided at the Malden High School Golden Tornado Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. With the affable Pete Carroll emceeing the night the 1973 Championship hockey team and the Class of 1972’s Mike Byrne, representing ‘our’ era were notably recognized and inducted.
“Inductee Mario Fusco represented throwback days when he reminisced about being named GBL MVP in soccer and then kicking a winning field goal against Everett football, all in the same week. He was introduced by H.O.F. Coach Steve Rubin.
“Inductees Rachel Timmons Henderson, Kaitlyn DeVincentis, Annie Abber, and Anthony Pappagallo were all highly regarded and awarded student-athletes at M.H.S. when I was Principal. The number of teammates, friends, and coaches in attendance to support these honorees speaks volumes about who they are.
“Distinguished Service winner Don Nally was honored for his heroic efforts in the community as the boys’ basketball coach. I had the pleasure of hiring Coach Nally, many, many years ago.
“Hall of Famers John ‘Cuddles’ Willcox, Don Roach, John Stanasek, John Salmon, John ‘Fergie’ Furlong among many others too numerous to mention, in the House.
“Renaissance men David Slaine, Bobby Sager….in the house!
“I had the pleasure of being a guest at the Joe Levine table and sitting between Joe and Peter and alongside MHS Head Football Coach Witche Exilhomme and Asst. Coach Wiston Jeune.
“What a night!
“Postscript: Everyone who was inducted mentioned one or more adults in their lives who served as guides/mentors. No one does it alone. We have to get back to this!”