It’s that time of the year again. Most of the youth hockey associations have wrapped it up for the season and parents are looking at the baseball and lacrosse leagues to keep their kids busy this summer. But wait; travel hockey leagues across WNY are just ramping up for next season with the start of the annual and anxiety ridden ?Try Outs?. Here is an inside look at one of the smaller and sometimes forgotten youth hockey leagues in WNY, the Bud Bakewell Bruins.

A Riverside legend Reuben “Bud” Bakewell was born in Glasgow, Scotland and had moved to Canada as a youngster where he learned to play hockey. His local involvement in hockey can be traced back to a rink he built in his backyard, complete with lights and music. His initial involvement with organized youth hockey began in 1958 when he signed his son up at a local rink. He quickly became a mainstay at the rink and the successful program was eventually named after him – The BUD BAKEWELL BRUINS – the only such honor bestowed on any individual in Western New York.

His efforts toward enclosing the rink in Riverside Park lead to another milestone in which the facility was named in his honor.

In 1960 Reuben “Bud” Bakewell received the General Motors Award for excellence in Community Activities, and the DeWitt Clinton Masonic Award for his community Service. In 1987 he became the second recipient of the William Thayer Tutt Award, presented by USA Hockey in Colorado Springs, Co. in recognition of his efforts to promote hockey at the grass roots level.

50 years ago, Reuben “Bud” Bakewell started a hockey program that promotes and encourages athleticism, physical fitness, sportsmanship, as well as developing the moral character of young boys and girls throughout WNY.

The ideals in which the organization was created, continues in his honor to this day.

Well, here we are 50+ years later and there has been thousands of local youths that have benefited from the efforts put forth by hundreds of volunteer coaches and parents in this organization.

Located in Buffalos Riverside park at 2607 Niagara Street is what some consider one of the areas better ice surfaces. The rink is used by many organizations such as Haseks Heros, area high school teams, the Skating Athletes Bold At Heart (SABAH) organization and our beloved Buffalo Sabres occasionally stop in for practices.

Unfortunately time has taken its toll on the building and a lack of funds for improvements has got some of those that use the facility concerned for the future of their organizations.

A reorganized board of directors for the Bud Bakewell Hockey Association is diligently working towards getting the help they need from the City of Buffalo and its volunteers to not only to address the building repairs but also to promote and grow the Bud Bakewell youth hockey program.

You will better understand the commitment to the organization with a little history of the current board members of Bud Bakewell Hockey Association. Newly appointed president William (Bill) Cline has been a youth hockey coach for 35 + years and has served on the board for the past 12 years. Bill has also held the position of head coach for the McKinley high school hockey program for 17 years as well as coaching and holding administrative positions in several other area hockey associations. Past President Alan Shubbuck has dedicated 8 years to the board, he coaches? high school hockey and continues as an active member. Vice President Jay Tagliarino, a Bud Bakewell alumnus, has been involved with youth hockey for 10 years, coaching for the past 6 years and a board member for 4 years. Treasurer Anissa Martin, a hockey mom and dedicated board member for the past 3 years, Registrar Tina Garrett, a 16 year board member is also a hockey mom with 20 years of service to Bud Bakewell. Tony Johnson a 3rd year board member has been involved in youth hockey for over 20 years and John Fracos has been a mainstay at the rink for almost 30 years as an employee, coach, referee and former booster club member.

The depth of the organization continues with other dedicated members, who include Rick Kindzia, Vince LoVallo, Scott Brennen, Mark Major and Ken Thomas; all who are involved as coaches, dedicated parents and supporters of the organization. This group is firmly committed to putting in the time and effort necessary for a successfully run and quality youth hockey club.

Some of the changes that are in the works for the organization includes a media room to assist coaches in game review and team training. Complete collaborations among coaches at all levels to teach and learn from one another, providing consistency and the best on ice experience and expectations for our players. A commitment to work with the much anticipated ?Academy of Hockey ?at Buffalos Harbor Center, and a new internet presence will help to keep everyone well informed of scheduling, events and allow for parents to share their comments and concerns. With the anticipated help from the City of Buffalo we also expect improvements to the rink to make for a better spectator experience.

It is this dedication starting right at the top that will set the Bud Bakewell Hockey Association apart from other area youth hockey programs. The commitment of the board, the coaches and assistant coaches, team managers, parents, volunteers and players. ?We want to create a synergy throughout the entire organization; you are not just part of a team but part of a legacy that is The Bud Bakewell Bruins? Stated by Thomas.

The organization is very excited about the planned changes and looking forward to working with the city, our other associates and volunteers to make Bud Bakewell Youth Hockey a premier hockey organization. Bud Bakewell prides itself on being one of the western New York?s most cost conscience hockey clubs. For try-out information please contact Registrar Tina Garrett at [email protected].