Reds to honor Ross Brooks

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The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society has announced that former Rhode Island Reds and Boston Bruins goaltender Ross Brooks will receive the Ray Ross Perseverance Award on Sunday, August 4 as part of its 19th annual reunion weekend.

The award is named after forward Ray Ross, a Reds fan favorite from the 50’s and 60s, who steadfastly toiled for 14 seasons (9 with the Reds) in minor league hockey but unfortunately never got a call to the NHL. On the other hand, Ross Brooks’ diligence and persistence paid off after spending 9 seasons as backup goalie for the Reds and other minor league teams when he was finally given that elusive roster spot in the NHL with the Boston Bruins at age 36. He became one of the oldest rookies in NHL history after paying his minor league dues.

His long career as a professional hockey goaltender took him to six leagues and 14 teams before getting his call to the NHL. Among his career highlights, Brooks shared the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for lowest goals against average in the AHL with teammate Dan Bouchard in 1972. In the 72-73 NHL season, Brooks matched an NHL record at the time, set by Bruins’ goaltender Tiny Thompson way back in the 20’s for the longest consecutive winning streak by a goaltender, 14 games.

Brooks played for the Bruins from 1972 until 1975 and then a single season with the Rochester Americans before retiring. Playing for a powerhouse team that regularly finished around the top of the league standings, he compiled a career record of 37 wins with just seven losses and six ties with a goals-against average of 2.63. His career winning percentage is one of the highest recorded for goalies with 50 or more decisions.

“Ross is truly a most deserving person to receive the Perseverance Award. He worked very long and very hard during his career to perfect his game and get to the top,” said Buster Clegg, the Heritage Society’s founding president and former Reds’ general manager for parts of Brooks tenure with the Reds.

Today Brooks, a resident of Lincoln, remains active and regularly attends Reds reunion weekends. Since retiring he has coached high school hockey, worked with the Providence Bruins and served as a manager of operations at Providence College’s Schneider Arena.

The annual Goddard State Park event August 4th will feature onstage introductions of former Reds and other ex-pro hockey players, presentations of special awards, a delicious buffet luncheon and memorable music from the good old days from Reds games at the Rhode Island Auditorium. Last year’s event drew 253 guests that included 30 former Reds and other ex-pros.

Admission to the event at Goddard Park is $40 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12 and no charge for ages 6 and under. For additional ticket or event information, please contact Mal Goldenberg at mal@rmcri.com or call 401-864-6191. No tickets will be sold at the gate.

On August 3rd, the night preceding, the Reds will also host its annual dinner-dance at the 12 Acres banquet facility in Smithfield. Guest speaker will be Greg Bouris, former communications director for the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers and the MLB Players Association. Tickets are $50 each and can also be reserved by contacting Mr. Goldenberg at the above. None will be sold at the gate.

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