The Don Brown Fund was created by friends of Don Brown in his memory to provide a legacy that will live on for Medfield Youth Hockey and its membership. In 2004 a golf outing was held at the Charles River Country Club where Don’s friends raised over $70,000 to establish the fund. This large sum of money has been invested and the goal of Medfield Youth Hockey’s Board of Directors is to work with an appropriations committee on an annual basis to use earnings to fund special items. Early appropriations have been used to fund two scholarships for graduating seniors from Medfield High who have a connection to MYH. In addition, monies have been used to fund tuition for players in hardship situations where, if not for the aid from the fund, players would be unable to play the game they love. Money can also be made available to help upgrade much needed equipment and uniforms.
Medfield Youth Hockey is grateful to the Brown Family and Don’s friends for the opportunity to have this way to share Don’s memory with our membership. Don loved ice hockey and worked for years in our program as a Board member and coach. Don’s good friend Len Clarkin was kind enough to share the following information about Don. Our thanks to Len.
“Don was born in Parry Sound, Ontario in 1943. He sometimes described himself as’ the other number 4’ playing defense out of that town. His quip was accurate… only because any hockey player would pale in comparison to Bobby Orr.
Don played junior hockey in Ontario before attending Clarkson University where he was a star defenseman for his three varsity years. In his senior year, he was one of the team leaders of a fantastic team which lost the National Championship game to Michigan by one goal. Thereafter Don played semi pro hockey for a few years and then continued to play a high level of competitive hockey including ‘old timers’ hockey while working as a high ranking executive in the construction industry. Don continued to be a fabulous skater and very competitive hockey player until his unfortunate passing in March of 2004. Based on my personal experience, I can say that it was virtually impossible to spend any time with Don in any hockey rink in Massachusetts without meeting some hockey friend of Don’s who held him in the highest esteem as a player and a person.
Don’s substantial hockey skills were exceeded by his coaching ability and his knack for communicating with young players of all ages. Don coached in Medfield Youth Hockey for about fifteen years and served on the MYH Board including quite a few years as Director of Coaching. During his tenure, he was always considered to be the ‘go-to guy’ for technical hockey issues or any issues which occasionally arose between coaches and players or parents. It is fair to say that Don was as highly respected off the ice as he was on the ice; this is indeed respect of the highest order.
Don is survived by his wife, Jo-Anne… an ardent hockey fan… two daughters, Kim and Kari, two sons, Eric and Matt who played for MYH and Medfield High School and grandchildren. Matt was twice President of his class at Medfield High School and captain of the hockey team as a senior.
Medfield Youth Hockey has an extraordinary history of achievement due in large part to pioneers like Ron Flosier, J.D. Stevenson, Tony Ruzzo and Peter Panciocco. Don certainly deserves a place in that ‘MYH Hall of Fame’ and it is the hope of Don’s friends that all of these individuals will be remembered and honored for their contributions as the proud tradition continues under the guidance of the MYH Board of Directors.”
Again, thanks to Len Clarkin for this heartfelt write up on his friend. Additionally we would like to share a great note we received from one of the first recipients of the Don Brown Scholarship Award. Brian Iafolla was a player in the Medfield Youth Hockey organization and went on to play hockey at Medfield High School. In his note thanking MYH for the award of the Scholarship he shared the following…
"I cannot thank you enough for your generous scholarship award. The money is great but to receive this award in Don Brown's name is an even bigger thrill.
I am almost seven years younger than my oldest brother who played for Mr. Brown in the Medfield Youth Hockey program. I was a passenger in the car for many years to and from games and tournaments before it was actually my turn to play. I'd like to think I was indirectly coached by Mr. Brown in that I had the benefit of pick up hockey games with my brother and his friends who played for him. I know they thought the world of him which makes this award even more important to me and my family."
These notes are a great tribute to a man whose legacy we are proud to share with all members of our organization.