Every time Ray Beaudoin walks into a hockey rink, he remembers.

There were the dozens and dozens of goals he scored, the teams on which he played and the championships those teams won.

But just being in the rink, he said, was enough. The rest was a bonus.

“Every time I walk into an arena, I smell the ammonia,” Beaudoin said. “It’s like when I used to walk into the arena before everybody else was in there, before a game and just smell that fresh ice. I love that.”

The smell — and the feel — of a hockey rink should be familiar to Beaudoin. Along with Ronnie St. Onge and Bob Labbe, Beaudoin was a part of one of the more feared lines in all of New England in the 1950s and 60s, playing first for St. Dom’s and then for the L/A Twins, a pair of organization that prided themselves on winning.

“(At St. Dom’s), we did lose in the New England championships, but that’s about it,” Beaudoin said. “At that time, of course, we had the arena, so the other schools didn’t have the access like they have today.”

For his accomplishments as a hockey player, Beaudoin on Sunday will receive the ultimate local athletic honor when he is inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame along with three other area athletes in the Class of 2011.

“I knew I had been nominated before, and I wasn’t chosen,” Beaudoin said. “I was very, very excited to hear that I got in this year. It’s a great honor for me.”

The defining moment of his career, Beaudoin recalled, was that which essentially ended his competitive playing days. After playing at St. Dom’s and serving in the military, Beaudoin returned home to play for the Country Kitchen team out of Lewiston. He then joined the Twins, one of the premier teams in New England, for which he played until 1965.

That was the year the Twins won the New England title, earning a berth in the American Hockey Association national championships in Rochester, Minn.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Beaudoin said. “Winning the New Englands here and going out to that tournament was something else.”

The team left early, hoping to catch a day’s worth of practice at the rink in Rochester.

“We had left the day before, because the ice rink, they’d made an artificial ice rink on a basketball court, and it was substantially smaller,” he recalled. “So we left a day earlier, to practice on it, and we ended up stuck in Detroit in a big snow storm. We were stuck there for over a day, and by the time we got to the tournament, we had to play right away. Every time we turned around, we were smacking into something or someone, because it was so confined out there. It was quite a tournament.”

Beaudoin played well enough there to earn the ultimate individual honor from the AHA, leaving the tourney as an All-American.

“I was fortunate enough to have a couple of linemates, a centerman and a winger (St. Onge and Labbe). They were the wind beneath my wings,” Beaudoin said. “These weren’t selfish hockey players, we were out there together, we played together and we scored together. You play together; you win together.”

Beaudoin had made a promise to his former wife that he would stop playing so much if he achieved All-America status. Shortly thereafter, the Twins faded, and gave way to the L/A Wings.

“They did away with the Twins and started up the L/A Wings,” Beaudoin said. “Most of us that played on the Twins. We started up a senior league and we played in Canada, we played against the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins old-timers to raise some money for the area kids, the little leagues and things like that. Three or four years after that, I stopped playing.”

Beaudoin went on to work for the Small Business Administration in the Federal government. His grandchildren are now active in sports, and he continues to visit hockey rinks on a regular basis.

“I stay connected to hockey,” Beaudoin said. “I may not go as often as I want to, but the hockey caliber we have in Lewiston right now, they’re great. Those kids are good skaters.”

As chance has it, Beaudoin spends one month every year in Florida, and in the past he’s missed many of the hall of fame induction days because of that schedule. This year, he’s scheduled to make it — just in time.

“Usually, they do it in April and April is the month I’m always in Florida,” Beaudoin said. “When I found out it was going to be in May, I thought, ‘Well, it’s meant to be.’ I’m very excited I will be able to be there.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.