• Nick Abramo

These 3 combined for 4 Stanley Cups and an Olympic silver medal AND they used to skate at Navin Rink

Hockey players who went to stick time to play pickup games at Marlboro's Navin Rink in the 1980s may recall seeing some of the budding best players in the world out on the ice with the rest of the regular crowd.

I remember it.

Before I tell you about those players who went on to hockey stardom, I would like to mention that the first time I can ever recall feeling what I know now as endorphins was at stick time. I am a lifelong hockey player, but these stick time moments I'm recalling are when I was a young adult and already in the working world and not playing sports as much as I had as a kid. It was amazing. I would go for the two hours and skate and come back home feeling so super refreshed. Those endorphins are something I feel pretty much in the aftermath of playing adult league games now. Sometimes that extra positive vibe with a feeling of breathing fully and blood flowing last what seems like a full 24 hours.

Such are the benefits of exercise. I am definitely lucky that I can get my exercise by skating. That other kind of exercise, like running around a track or on the road or going to the gym, has never thrilled me.

Well, anyway, now that I've got that boring story out of the way, I can write about those guys who would show up at Navin for stick time and who were also destined for glory. I am referring to Greg Brown, Doug Brown and Scott Young. They are from St. Mark's in neighboring Southboro, a private prep school.

Hockey cards are courtesy of "Papa" Bill Hedin.

Actually, the Browns lived near the St. Mark's campus with their parents who worked at the school. Young is originally from Clinton.

Recently, I wrote a loopback story about these three for the Community Advocate: St. Mark's Hockey Trio Brought Stanley Cups And Gold Medals To Region.

My biggest memory about playing on the same ice with and against Greg Brown is that he was Mr. Smooth. His skating and other innate abilities appeared effortless, with no choppiness whatsoever. Also, he was a great passer, looking to make that tape to tape play every time.

I only saw Doug at stick time a few times, so my memory of him is more foggy. I never skated with Scott Young that I know of, but was told by others that he was there often. And nowadays? Greg Brown is the new head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League. His job the last three years? Assistant coach with the New York Rangers. And Scott Young's job for the last few years? Player development director for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Doug Brown, these days, is in the business world.

And their past hockey accomplishments? SCOTT YOUNG >> Won the Stanley Cup with the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins >> Won the Stanley Cup with the 1996 Colorado Avalanche

>> 342 goals, 414 assists in NHL career from 1987-88 to 2005-06 >> Member of the 1988, 1992 and 2002 U.S. Olympic teams >> Won the silver medal in 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games under coach Herb Brooks >> Won the gold medal at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey >> Played collegiately at Boston University

DOUG BROWN >> Won the Stanley Cup with the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings >> 160 goals, 214 assists in NHL career from 1986-87 to 2000-01 >> Played collegiately at Boston College

GREG BROWN >> Member of the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams >> 4 goals, 14 assists in parts of four NHL seasons, most notably with the Buffalo Sabres

>> Played collegiately at Boston College Chris Williams, a former Hudson High and Worcester State player and the son of former NHL veteran Tommy Williams, remembers playing pickup hockey at stick time with and against this trio.

One time, when Williams and Greg Brown were on the bench, Williams remarked that the Russian national team was really tough. Greg Brown, who had just played against the Russians in the Olympics, asked, "How do you know?" "My father told me," was Williams' answer. Brown was curious. "Who's your father?" he asked. Little did Brown know he was talking to the son of Tommy Williams, who won Olympic Gold with the U.S. team in 1960 at Squaw Valley and then went on to a long NHL career, including a stint with the Boston Bruins where he was.not only a fan favorite but also an icon in the Hudson/Marlboro area because he set up his home in Hudson and was a pillar of the community in many ways. But the coincidences don't end there.

It turns out the reason Scott Young started playing hockey was on a suggestion from Tommy Williams to Scott dad's while they were having a chance conversation at a Hudson bar. Scott was a little kid at the time, but he did receive the hockey torch that Williams sent him.

Scott Young, pictured playing for Team USA en route to an Olympic silver medal in 2002.

Yeah, coincidences. This story is going to come full circle with Tommy Williams at the forefront!!!!!! I remember the day, when I was 8 years old and my dad came to my home at 129 Grace Circle with Johnny Bucyk's hockey stick. It was cracked, but it was also signed by all of the Bruins. My dad, who passed away later that year, got it from Peter and Charlie Anderson from Anderson Furniture, where he was working at the time. And how did they get what ended up being MY first hockey stick? From Tommy Williams, no less. It kind of feels like yesterday when my dad said to me while I saw the printed "Bucyk" in dark letters down the side of it: "This is how a lefty hockey player holds the stick." He knew. He was a defenseman for Waltham High in the early 1940s. By the way, that stick is long gone. It was severely weathered and used up by the time I "lost" it. By that time, all the autographs were long gone, washed away by rain. It was spring of the 1967-68 season, two short years before many of those players who signed it would be bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston for the first time in 29 years. That particular stick did not stand the test of time. But what that stick meant did. I got Tommy Williams' nonverbal message loud and clear and still believe in the magic of it fully: "Let's go play some hockey." ---

RELATED stories by BedrockSportsMarboro's Nick Abramo: >> Tommy Williams Lived Brilliant Hockey Life, Weathered Tragedy >> Part 2: Talking Story With The Fine Sports People Of The Boroughs ---

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