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HOCKEY

Walsh a legend in his own time

Concord High coach gets nod for N.H. Hall of Fame

As a player he was a force for the parochial school that sat on the hill - less than a mile from one of the largest high schools in the state. A little over a decade later he took over the reins for that big, bad public school down the road and coached it into a 1990s Division I superpower.

On Sunday, Dunc Walsh will be inducted into the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame. He, along with six other inductees, will be honored at 11:30 a.m. at the Grappone Convention Center.

'It's a nice honor, but the first thing I asked was if this meant I couldn't coach anymore,' Walsh said. 'But seriously, I was surprised to get in where I'm still coaching, but it's an honor to be recognized.'

Walsh grew up on the frozen sheet at Everett Arena, playing through all levels within the Concord Youth Hockey Association. A playmaker with a keen eye for the net, Walsh took his talents to Bishop Brady High School in the fall of 1977, becoming an instant factor for the Green Giants.

As a sophomore, he played an integral part in leading the Green Giants to the Division I championship game against cross-town rival Concord High. The two teams had split their two meetings in the regular season, with Walsh scoring the winner in a 2-0 victory over the Crimson Tide in the second game. Unfortunately, 'we didn't play very well,' Walsh said, and Brady fell to Concord, 6-1, in what still stands as the only meeting the two teams have ever had in a state title game. It was just the second championship game appearance for Brady in its history.

'The atmosphere was unbelievable,' he said. 'The build-up for the whole city was incredible with all the newspaper articles and everything. There must have been 3,000 people at (Durham's) Snively Arena. It was just one of those games, they got up early on us and we didn't bring our best game. But that's an atmosphere and a game that I will never forget.'

Walsh and the Giants returned to the finals the following season, but were met by a strong Manchester Central team that beat them by the identical 6-1 score in what was the first of back-to-back championships for the Little Green.

After graduating from Brady in 1981, Walsh headed north to play for Plymouth State College (now Plymouth State University). He still ranks first in goals in a single season (29), assists in a single season (37) and points in a single season (66) - all of which came during his senior year (1985-86).

It was during his senior year that he guided the Panthers all the way to the ECAC North championship game. And while Plymouth State fell to Curry College, 5-2, the 19-6-0 record still stands as the best season in team history.

In four years at Plymouth State - the final two he served as its captain - Walsh racked up 62 goals, 75 assists and 137 points, ranking second on the all-time list. Walsh was inducted into the Panthers Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

It didn't take long for Walsh to find a job coaching in the sport he spent most of his life playing. After graduating Plymouth State, Walsh was named the assistant coach to Tom Walton at Concord for the 1986-87 season. He served as an assistant for the Crimson Tide for four years before taking over as head coach for the 1990-91 season.

About to begin his 22nd season behind the bench, Walsh has an overall record of 364-116-14. He's led the Crimson Tide to 14 semifinal appearances and six state championships, which puts him second on the all-time list among New Hampshire coaches.

Walsh won his first championship in only his second season as Concord's bench boss, beating St. Thomas, 3-2, in overtime. He made a return trip with the Tide in 1993 and 1995, falling short on each occasion to Hanover (in double overtime) and Manchester Memorial, respectively.

Walsh taking the Tide to the final became a regular occurrence for the rest of the decade. Concord won four straight state championships from 1996-99, then fell to archrival Bishop Guertin by a goal in 2000.

Two years ago he picked up his sixth plaque when Concord pulled off an upset of Exeter, 1-0.

'That was so unexpected and it was great,' Walsh said. 'All the championships are special, but 2010 and '92 are kind of similar because no one picked us to win then either. And where it had been so long since our last one, it was really special.'

The rest of the inductees:

Karl 'Red' Adams

A 1939 graduate of Concord High, Adams was a phenomenal goal scorer for the Crimson Tide, the University of New Hampshire and the Sacred Heart Hockey Club.

As a sophomore and junior at Concord, Adams helped the Tide to a pair of (unofficial) state championships, prior to the formation of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. Adams attended UNH beginning in September of 1940 and starred in both hockey and baseball. As a sophomore, he became the first Wildcat selected to the All-Tournament team in the Lake Placid Tournament. He finished fourth in league scoring with 19 goals and six assists and was selected unanimously to the Boston Globe All-New England first team.

Adams returned to Capital City after college and played for the legendary Sacred Heart Hockey Club, culminating with a game against the 1952 U.S. Olympic team on Pleasant Street.

Ryan Brandt

Brandt attended the University of New Hampshire in the fall of 1966, suiting up for the freshman squad. He played the next three seasons for the Wildcats' varsity team, posting records of 22-7-0 in 1967-68; 22-6-1 in 68-69 and 19-10-2 record.

Brandt played his two seasons for legendary bench boss Charlie Holt. During his senior year he served as the captain and also received All-Tournament recognition. Ryan played both forward and defense during his college career. After his time with the Wildcats he played four seasons for the Concord Eastern Olympics in the New England Hockey League and later for the Concord Budmen in the late 1980s. He continues to skate in a senior league in Concord and has played on a 60-and-over team that won the United States national championship in that age group for the past three years.

In addition to his playing career, he coached in the Concord Youth Hockey system and officiated high school, prep and college for five years.

Dana Barbin

Barbin played for four seasons at Exeter High and attended UNH in the fall of '77. He played four seasons for the Wildcats, finishing with 127 points in 125 games. Barbin is one of only three Granite State natives to score 100 or more points at UNH. He has coached the varsity hockey team at Philips Exeter Academy since 1992, where he won the New England prep school championship in 1999 with a 30-3-0 record.

Leonard 'Red' Brochu

At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Brochu utilized his imposing size as an official to always be in control of on-ice action. He officiated from 1962-79, usually between 90-120 games per season of youth, high school, college and senior hockey. He also helped former UNH coach Charlie Holt with re-writing the collegiate officiating hockey book.

Brochu died on June 18, 2007.

Sandy Sistare

Sistare was St. Paul's School first girls' hockey coach in 1979. In his eight seasons as girls' hockey coach, Sistare finished with a record of 59-29-3, including the Independent School League title in his final season.

Sistare died on Dec. 22, 2008

Sacred Heart Hockey Club

The Hearts played for 21 years between 1931-52, with the highlight coming on Jan. 8, 1952, when they played the U.S. Olympic Team in Concord.

(Gavin Faretra can be reached at 369-3340 or gfaretra@cmonitor.com.)

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