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 Don Spotswood-  (Norwood-Norfolk 1936-1952)

Hockey first began in Norfolk when Don Spotswood came to a small Norfolk High-School in 1936.  He and Earl Drew of Norwood began to promote hockey in the early 1940’s with little interest in Norfolk.  A Potsdam club team often played the Norwood Fireman’s team, Earl being on the Norwood team and Don being on the Potsdam Club team.

            During 1943-44 Mr. Spotswood began to hold hockey, “practices” in Norwood at the bottom of the hill where the Lobster House now stands.  Every winter the area would flood into a very large playing surface.  Mr. Spotswood had gathered over his career 19 hockey sticks which he passed out to the players.  Practices were held after school until well past the dinner hour.

            By 1945-46 Mr. Spotswood lobbied to the Norfolk School Board to allow the area behind the school, now a playground, to be flooded for an ice rink.  The ice was kept up by the players.  Snow banks were used as boards that first winter season.

            The following year Mr. Spotswood persuaded the School Board again to purchase lumber for the construction of boards to enclose the rink. The ice was kept up by the players.  A caterpillar was also rented to clear the area and smooth the ground.  The players and their friends would flood late into the night.  Mr. Spotswood would stay till 1am, get a few hours of sleep, then arrive at 4am to flood again with help from the “next shift” of players.  During the year a meeting was set for all interested schools in forming a hockey league.  Only four representatives met: Frank Besio of Massena, Stewart Parks of Saranac Lake, Charlie Turcotte of Potsdam and Mr. Spotswood.  At the time Section X did not want to support a hockey league sighting expense and the lack of popularity due to the strong interest in local Basketball.

            In the 1948 season the boards were replaced with better ones, enlarging the rink to100’ by 65’ and the home team began to take shape.  All that was needed now was a team to play.  Thus, as a result of the first meeting, the Northern New York Scholastic Hockey League was formed (Northern League). The league was made up of 4 teams: Potsdam, Massena, Saranac Lake and Norfolk.  The team was made up of Norfolk players until 1950 when the Village of Norwood and part of the town of Potsdam became a centralized school district with the town of Norfolk, which includes the Hamlet of Raymondville.  After 1953 when the new Norwood-Norfolk Central School building was opened, home games were then played at Clarkson’s Walker Arena until the new Community Center was completed by 1976 in the town of Norfolk.

            Mr. Spotswood also was responsible for organizing the first Hockey Officials Association in September of 1952.  Many of these officials were students of Clarkson or St. Lawrence at the time.  Some notable officials included; Stan Moore, Bill Sloan, Bill Monroe and Lionel Hewitson.  This association has since become affiliated with the NCAA and many of the officials now work college games in the area.

            It has been said that Mr. Spotswood is the father of NNCS hockey, but it should also be mentioned that he spent 14 years as the Chairman for New York State Hockey, organized the leagues first officials, was President of the Section X Athletic Council and founder, along with Jack McGinnis, of the Norfolk Minor Hockey Association.

            Mr. Spotswood is also an elected member of the New York State High-School Hall of Fame.

            In the making of the second volume of NNCS hockey history I decided to again explore all of the available scorebooks and score sheets to see if I had made any recording errors.  I was able to collect video of games in the late 1980’s thanks in part to Dan DeFranco, whose father had done a great job recording Dan’s games.  I have had help from area high-school coaches who have provided me with copies of score sheets from years past.

            I can only hope that you enjoy the photos and statistics that have been compiled in this book.  I can honestly say that this is something that I work on weekly, more so in the winter, as I attempt to keep up with the hockey history that is made in each and every game.    Phil Jenner June 2006


·                     NNCS playing in its 1000th game Jan 17th 2001. Founding Father, Mr. Don Spotswood, was there to drop the ceremonial 1st puck. 


Don was inducted into the New York State High School Hockey- Hall of Fame, March 2002, for his dedication to the sport as a truly great coach who has contributed noteworthy service to New York State high school hockey.

The New York State High School Hockey- Hall of Fame, located in the Lake Placid Olympic Center's '80 Rink hallway,  recognizes former outstanding Players, Coaches and Teams that have contributed noteworthy service to New York State high school hockey.

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