Communicator Link: The true pioneers of AA hockey were a group of boys that loved the game


Eight-year-old Howdy Holmes threw the door open as his mother slowed the car down on Baldwin Avenue adjacent to Burns Park Elementary School. On his way out, he reached back and grabbed his hockey equipment, two ham sandwiches and a thermos of hot chocolate. The crisp December air hit his face as his boots hit the snow in full stride. Holmes ran toward the frosted tennis courts that had been converted into two side-by-side ice rinks for the winter.

Holmes laced up his skates and stood at the end of the line hoping he would be chosen by one of the two older ‘captains’ for the day’s 10-hour match.

The year was 1955, and every Saturday from Thanksgiving until the ice melted, dozens of boys from across Ann Arbor would gather on the east end of Burns Park at 7 a.m. to play hockey. These humble pick-up games may not seem momentous — at the time they did not even seem like much to the players — but it was from these modest beginnings that the rich tradition of high school hockey in Ann Arbor was born.

Read the rest of Ava Millman’s excellent story:


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