RI Hockey Legacy

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In The Army Now

Who knew what a small world hockey could be when you join the Army during the Cold War.  Back in 1962 Lee Hathaway, former Cranston East All-Stater, found out.  Stationed in Germany for almost three years, Hathaway was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and tapped for duty on the hockey team called the USAREUR that traveled extensively thoughout Europe playing Olympic competition.  His older brother Len, another former Cranston High puckster, would join him on the team soon after.  Len, a 2nd lieutenent via a R.O.T.C. commission gained at URI, was called to active duty and ended up in the same division stationed with a unit 30 miles from Lee.   The team trained in Bad Tolz, Germany.  The starting goalie was former three time All-Stater Mike Sears (Hope High School).  The team almost made it five Rhode Islanders as Ed Woodcock (Hope High School) worked out with the team but was unable to get a release from his unit and Russ McCurdy (La Salle Academy and US National Team) was wanted by the squad but military duties also prevented.  The opportunity awarded the Rhode Islanders to see a lot of Europe, but quickly.  The club went off on a tour which saw them cover 2300 miles through Southern Europe in eight days while playing five games.  Lee was one of the few Americans in the early 1960s to play for a European team.  He was selected to play for the German local travel team that played Olympic European team competition.  After his discharge Lee opted to play semi-pro hockey for a year with the Providence Chicks before heading to Michigan State helping his team reach the Fozen Four in the 1967-68 season.  Len would eventually became on off-ice official for the National Hockey League.