Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Friends Union String Band at the Shaker Heritage Site in Albany

18 June 2013 - By

Please consider joining the Friends Union String Band for an epic Music At The Meeting House Concert with some Shaker Wit and Wisdom at the Historic 1848 Shaker Meeting House, 25 Meeting House Road (next to Albany International Airport), Albany on Saturday, June 22nd, 7:30 P.M. The suggested donation is $15. Please call (518) 456-7890 for more information.

The Friends Union String Band features renowned Adirondack hammer dulcimer, 6 and 12 string guitar and vocalist, Rod Driscoll, along with Melbourne, Florida based master guitarist and bhodran player, Norma Rodham and fiddle master Steve Iachetta. Friends Union String Band will perform innovative and traditional dance music in a coffee-house setting at the Shaker first settlement special performance place.

The Shaker Heritage Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Remembering

24 April 2013 - By

Over 30 years ago the United States Information Agency (USIA) worked with private partners to produce a TV film, “Let Poland Be Poland” to show support for the Solidarity movement and the Polish people following the imposition of martial law. The film features Frank Sinatra singing the Polish folk song “Wolne Serce” in Polish and English as well as Max von Sydow, Romuald Spasowski, Ronald Reagan, Tip O’Neill, Bob Hope, John Fraser, Glenda Jackson, Zdzislaw Rurarz, Charlton Heston and Orson Welles echoing the title, “Let Poland be Poland.”

On the varieties of Catholicism

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24 April 2013 - By

From The Christian Century: Catholics without popes by Julie Byrne

On February 11, comedian Stephen Colbert asked historian Garry Wills if he was in favor of the next pope being not John Paul III or Benedict XVII but “Nobody the First.” Wills smiled and said, “Ah, very good idea.”

For some Catholics, this idea is more than a joke. For them, the question is not who should be the next pope. It’s whether there is or should be a pope at all.

With the retirement of Benedict XVI, the seat of Peter is empty—sede vacante. But for Catholics past and present, the papacy is only one possible center of faith. A wider look at Catholic history—wider than media obsessions during the conclave—shows that the pope’s centrality has long been a highly contested topic.

Official papal theology about itself has long put the pope at the center.

As the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and the 18th-century French Revolution unfolded, popes theorized that the strongest church was the most centralized church. Protestant denominations proliferated, and ancient monarchies toppled. But if one pope stood above all nation-states, Roman Catholicism would thrive.

The 1870-71 council of Vatican I made papal infallibility a doctrine, but voting was a hotly contested matter:

A straw poll showed that approximately 10 percent of the bishops opposed papal infallibility.

Before the final vote, about 60 prelates left Rome rather than defy the Vatican.
Not all local priests and parishes were ready to give in. In Germany and Austria, a new body arose called the Old Catholic Church. It patterned itself on another Catholicism—eastern Orthodoxy—and established leadership by a council of bishops. Almost immediately it celebrated mass in the vernacular. Within several decades, its priests could marry.

Eminent Catholic theologian Hans Küng—who recently hoped in the pages of the New York Times for a “Vatican Spring”—writes that Old Catholicism “continues to be Catholic but is Rome-free.” Doctrinally ancient but also modern, Küng says, “this little bold and ecumenically open Old Catholic Church from the beginning anticipated reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

Today, Old Catholicism has churches in ten countries from the Netherlands to Croatia. It ordains women and is in communion with Anglicanism.

Old Catholicism has also generated several hundred small independent Catholic churches in the U.S., including the historic Polish National Catholic Church and the African Orthodox Church. Some, such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, the Church of Antioch and Ascension Alliance, open the sacraments to all comers, including marriage and ordination. The list also includes formerly Roman parishes, such as St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis and Spiritus Christi in Rochester, New York.

But even among those who stayed with Rome, there exist hugely differing views on the papacy. These Catholics take sides not on Vatican I but on Vatican II, the 1960s council that gave the church a modern makeover.

On the strong right of the U.S. church are opponents of Vatican II, who say the council’s documents are so out of step with tradition that its leadership must have been hijacked. John XXIII, the convener of Vatican II, was no true pope. Starting with him, the Roman popes have been impostors.

On the strong left are progressive Roman Catholics like Wills, whose pursuit of “the spirit of Vatican II” goes so far as to question the need for priests and popes at all.

The disagreements expose a wide and diverse Catholicism, in which overall affirmation of Vatican authority has declined. According to one recent survey fewer than three out of ten U.S. Roman Catholics says that the “teaching authority claimed by the Vatican” is “very important” to them.

U.S. Roman Catholicism is now fully one-third Latino, and this is another group that does not simply accede to papal centrality.

The vitality of devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the mother of Jesus manifested at Guadalupe, often far surpasses concerns for the pope. Especially among Mexican-Americans, who make up more than 60 percent of U.S. Hispanics, she is the living center of faith. Only half jokingly, some Latino Catholics say they are not Romans, but Guadalupeans. Among Guadalupeans, this beloved Mary with brown skin and a golden aura wins any popularity contest with the pope.

The election of the next pope is a fascinating spectacle on Vatican Hill. But if we look closely, the roil of Catholic opinion on the ground is the real show.

The author, Julie Byrne, is the Hartman Chair of Catholic Studies at Hofstra University. She is the author of O God of Players (Columbia University Press, 2003) and The Other Catholics (forthcoming from Columbia).



Between 1972 and 1974, the Mighty Macs of Immaculata College -- a small Catholic women's school outside Philadelphia -- made history by winning the first three women's national college basketball championships ever played. A true Cinderella team, this unlikely fifteenth-seeded squad triumphed against enormous odds and four powerhouse state teams to secure the championship title and capture the imaginations of fans and sportswriters across the country. But while they were making a significant contribution to legitimizing women's sports in America, the Mighty Macs were also challenging the traditional roles and obligations that circumscribed their Catholic schoolgirl lives. In this vivid account of Immaculata basketball, Julie Byrne goes beyond the fame to explore these young women's unusual lives, their rare opportunities and pleasures, their religious culture, and the broader ideas of womanhood they inspired and helped redefine.

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A generally good article that touches very lightly on the issues of Catholic Churches that are not Roman Catholic. Of course there is great divergence from what is considered “Catholic” and in line with the traditions of the entire Church from the first millennium. On one side are the Roman Church, Orthodoxy, the PNCC, and certain smaller “Old Catholic” Churches not recognized by Utrecht (but who maintain solid adherence to principals and doctrine). On the other Old Catholicism, certain portions of the Anglican Church, and some of the other smaller Churches that label themselves “Old Catholic” but are not recognized by Utrecht. They have veered in various degrees.

Good points on Rome’s self view of the Bishop of Rome (thankfully Francis uses this term) and its use of “infallibility” as a defense against the breakdown of other authority structures — to which at least a portion of the representatives at Vatican I did not agree. Also on the general view among (the majority I believe) of Roman Catholics who either think Rome has fallen to pieces (note the bubbling revolt among traditionalists against Francis), or pay little heed to anything coming out of Rome. Those who pay little heed like their local parish and ignore what doesn’t matter to them, whether it comes from their pastor, bishop or from Rome.

New York Folklore Society presents The Art of Community Workshop

24 April 2013 - By

The New York Folklore Society, Building Cultural Bridges, The American Folklore Society, and New York State Council on the Arts presents the Art of Community Workshop: Building and Arts and Culture Support Network for Newcomer Artists in New York State workshop on Friday, May 17th from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Utica Public Library, one block east of the Ithaca Commons at 401 E. State/MLK Jr. Street, 303 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501. You are invited to attend this workshop that will explore merging the arts with social services to better serve these newcomer communities and to enliven our community at large.

Upstate New York has become home to an ever-expanding community of refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Layering upon an already rich infrastructure of arts organizations, there is a great potential for an increasingly varied cultural landscape. Yet many of the artists from these communities struggle to maintain their expressive and cultural heritage traditions in the face of overwhelming and immediate needs as they adapt to their new environment.

Anybody concerned with the well-being of immigrant/refugee communities is welcome to attend, including but not limited to: refugee or immigrant artists, staff from cultural and community-based organizations and local art organizations, educators, funders, folklorists, staff from shops and galleries that market immigrant/refugee arts, refugee and immigrant service providers, and library staff.

The day-long workshop will present both national and local models of successful arts and social service collaborations which serve the focus communities. Also, newcomer artists will perform, demonstrate and talk about the importance of maintaining their cultural traditions in their new homeland. Drawing on personal experience and ideas generated by the presentations, participants will work together to explore possibilities for collaboration and to establish a local network for resource sharing. Spaces will be made available for participants to share information about their art forms or programs through printed materials. Interpretation services will be available.

You can register online at the New York Folklore Society.

Take the 2013 Polish American Survey

19 April 2013 - By

I encourage everyone, and especially PNCC members, to take the Piast Institute’s 2013 Polish American Survey. The survey thankfully includes a question on the religious affiliation of Polish-American and includes the Polish National Catholic Church as a choice among many others. Our inclusion as PNCC members in the Polish-American demographic is important.

This survey follows up on two earlier national studies in 2009 and 2010 that the Institute did of 900 and 1,400 Polish Americans respectively. The new study probes some of the key social, political and economic questions asked on the earlier studies and adds a few additional issues that have aroused public concern since. It also probes the attitudes of Polish Americans on matters of concern to the community and their ideas about its future.

The study is being conducted as a “rolling survey” over a span of three months. Polish Americans and Poles living in America are encouraged to participate. Dominik Stecula, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia who coauthored the original study urged as wide a participation as possible to give the study a broad statistical sample for analysis. “I hope all Polish Americans who have a concern about our community take the time to respond to the survey,” he said. Mr. Stecula noted that “The original study demonstrated to us that Polonia is a unique community which shows distinctive opinions and attitudes on public and community issues. We need broad national participation to allow us to confirm our earlier findings and to deepen our analysis. These will be invaluable as we seek to create Polonia anew in the 21st century.” The survey, he pointed out, which can be completed in 25 to 60 minutes, can be accessed here (NOTE: the survey did not really take that long).

The 2010 study published as Polish Americans Today by the Piast Institute has gone through three printings. Its findings have been a key item of discussion at several national conferences. The chancery of the President of Poland ordered copies for its staff as have several Polish Ministries as well as the offices of the Marshalls of the Sejm and Senate. “The Piast Institute undertook the original study because we found a dearth of information about the Polish American Community as major Research Centers such as NORC at the University of Chicago and the national election exit polls have stopped asking about European American ethnic groups.” Says Dr. Radzilowski. “Poles and other European groups were lumped into a new default category called “White” which makes no historical, cultural or demographic sense. It is a new version of the melting pot.”

The new study will be published by E. Mellen Press, a major Social Science and Humanities publisher.

Thank you for your participation. You can access the survey HERE.

New York Folklore Society Annual Conference

24 February 2013 - By

The New York Folklore Society’s Annual Conference will be held at ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY on Saturday, March 2nd. The day will begin at 11 a.m. with a preview of the Society’s newly designed website followed by the Society’s annual meeting. An optional lunch will be available (advanced reservations and a small fee required). Speakers and panel discussions begin at 1 p.m. on the theme Occupational Folklore: A conference to accompany the exhibit From Shore to Shore: Boat Builders and Boat Yards of Westchester and Long Island.

Admission is $15, $10 for NYFS Members, Students are Free. Attendees may register and RSVP online. More information on the event is available by calling (518) 346-7008.

Event Sponsors include ArtsWestchester, Long Island Traditions, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

One Story Summer Writer’s Workshop

24 February 2013 - By

This summer, One Story will again be offering a six-day fiction workshop for writers. With just two workshops of ten students each, this summer workshop is designed to help each student take the next step in their writing career in a supportive environment.

The week will include morning workshops, afternoon craft lectures, and evening panels with authors, agents, MFA faculty, and editors. The workshop will be held from July 14 – 19, 2013, at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan. Former Associate Editor Marie-Helene Bertino and Contributing Editor Will Allison will be returning as workshop leaders. Both bring their unique experience as editors and writers to the table.

Editor-in-Chief Hannah Tinti, as well as other established writers chosen for their ability to teach the craft of writing in engaging ways, will lead focused afternoon craft classes on topics like character, dialogue, and plot.

Every night, there will be a wine and cheese reception and panel discussion with industry professionals. Last year’s lecturers and panelists included Myla Goldberg, Victor LaValle, Simon Van Booy, editors from Granta, Bellevue Literary Review, Gigantic, literary agents, and MFA directors.

Applications for the One Story Workshop for Writers are being accepted now until April 30, 2013.

Prior attendees have said:

“The One Story Summer Writers Workshop was the first time I’ve felt that what I do is important. For a solitary writer, the experience of meeting, connecting with, and learning from others in the field is priceless. I’m inspired.” — Adam Sturtevant, Summer Workshop Participant 2011

“I feel much more confident about pursuing a writing career after the workshop. The thing I wasn’t necessarily expecting was the thing that I’ve come to appreciate the most: an overwhelming feeling of community and camaraderie, and I absolutely believe the relationships developed at the workshop will carry on long into our careers.” — Eric Fershtman, Summer Workshop Participant 2010

“I loved spending a week with the people at One Story. The spirit and energy was infectious and encouraging. Everyone is excited to talk about writing.” — Patty Forgie, Summer Workshop Participant 2012

Polish American Historical Association Call for Papers

24 February 2013 - By

Please see the official Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) call for papers for its January 2-4, 2014 Annual Meeting below and consider submitting a proposal.

The PAHA 2014 Annual Meeting will be held in Washington D.C. from January 2-4, 2014 as part of the American Historical Association’s Annual Conference. Abstracts for papers and panel proposals are now being accepted and should be submitted to the Chair of the Program Committee:

Grazyna Kozaczka, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Cazenovia College
22 Sullivan St.
Cazenovia, NY 13035

Electronic proposals in email and word format are strongly preferred. E-mail proposals directly to Dr. Kozaczka. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2013.

Individuals and panel organizers should include the following information when submitting a proposal:

  • Paper/Session title(s) (of no more than 20 words)
  • Paper/Session abstract(s) (up to 300/500 words, respectively)
  • Biographical paragraph or c.v. summary (up to 250 words) for each participant
  • Correct mailing and e-mail address for each participant
  • Chair (required) and commentator (optional) for the session
  • Audiovisual needs, if any.

Please be advised that it is unlikely that PAHA will be able to use PowerPoint in its sessions, due to the high cost of rental, or that presenters will be permitted by the hosting conference hotel to bring their own. You may wish to consider distribution of paper handouts as an alternative.

The Polish American Historical Association holds its Annual Conference in conjunction with the American Historical Association (AHA). The full information about the AHA conference can be found at at their website. PAHA members who plan to attend PAHA conference only do not need to register for the AHA conference, but are required to register for the PAHA conference by November 1, 2013. Registration may be done on-line or by sending the $20.00 registration fee to:

PAHA Headquarters
c/o Magda Jacques
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050

On the Bishop of Rome and a democratic Conciliar model that works

24 February 2013 - By

Our Holy Church does not believe that the Bishop of Rome holds any special office or power, and we categorically deny the various “dogmas” these men have proclaimed over the past several centuries (Infallibility as well as the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the B.V.M.). The word “pope” is not part of our vocabulary. Of course in charity we wish Bishop Ratzinger, a brother in Christ, well in his retirement. We also take this opportunity to pray that the Roman Church’s leadership takes this chance to recant of its dogmatic errors and in doing so work toward a unity among Churches based on model of the Church as it existed in the first millennium, a Church that is unified and Conciliar

Our denomination began on the second Sunday of March, 1897 – nearly 126 years ago. We celebrate the gift of our Holy Church every year on the Solemnity of the Institution of the PNCC, which the Third General Synod of 1914 declared to fall on the second Sunday of March. On this Sunday the parishes of our Church remove the Lenten purple from their sanctuaries and replace them with flowers. The Gloria is again recited and the vestments are white or gold. On this special feast day we celebrate our religious freedom and our Catholic democracy.

It is important to consider some history in light of recent events. As the Bishop of Rome nears retirement, the Roman Church will meet to elect a successor. Such a resignation has not occurred for six centuries. That previous resignation was to bring an end to a period of men competing for the office who were ensconced in and supported by the powers of those days: France and Rome. What we do not see discussed in the media are the politics, bribery, and military force that played a deciding factor in this extended period of intrigue. The intrigue rose to such an extent that the office of the Bishop of Rome was deemed compromised.

A nascent democratic movement, referred to as the Conciliar Movement, arose in opposition to this corruption. The supporters of the Conciliar Movement insisted that ecumenical councils be held regularly and independently, and that they function as the highest Church body. The Council of Pisa in 1409 attempted to limit the authority of the Bishop of Rome’s office, and also elected a third contender for the office in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the factions in France and Rome. The principle of the supremacy of the Council over the Bishop of Rome was affirmed by the Council of Constance in 1414-1418, which actually voided the authority of the sitting Bishop of Rome and elected a single replacement. The Conciliar Movement continued through the Council of Basel less than 20 years later. Unfortunately, the Bishop of Rome once again seized absolute power and tried to destroy the Conciliar movement in a competing and more successful Council in Florence.

Bishop Hodur knew this history. He immortalized Jan Hus (who was condemned at the Council of Constance and was killed despite a pledge of indemnity) in a stained glass window of our Cathedral in Scranton. It was Hus who argued against the assumed power of the Bishop of Rome and called for a return to “gospel poverty.” He spoke of the true Church as opposed to the hierarchical one, championing ecclesiastical democracy, all of which led to his being burned at the stake for heresy.

In celebrating the founding of our democratic Catholic church, we celebrate the continuation of the Conciliar Movement. The PNCC Constitution of 1922 stated:

“The task of the Synod is to: 1. Interpret authoritatively the bases of faith and morals; … In matters concerning religion and morals, the Synod decides unanimously; in national and social matters, as well as administrative ones [it decides] by a simple majority of votes.”

According to the report of the 1935 Synod, Bishop Grochowski was not anxious about this democratic authority, but rather extolled it as truly Christian:

“Bishop Grochowski announced the order of the Synod and informed the Synod that the Synod is the most important authority in the church. It was so from the very beginning of Christianity, but with the passage of time the clergy took away from the faithful those rights which the National Church returns to those belonging to it.” (Minutes, p. 190)

With an eye to the Conciliar Movement, Bishop Hodur wrote in the 1931 catechism:

“These priests, especially of the higher rank, cultivate under the guise of the religion of Jesus Christ, Moses, Buddha, and Mohammed worldly politics, personal business, and very often stand in complete contradiction to divine principles of pure religion, democratic issues, general enlightenment, the welfare of the masses, freedom of conscience, brotherhood, and social justice.”

Reflecting on these words we see the prophecy contained therein. In recent days, Roman Catholic Bishop, Keith Cardinal O’Brien of Scotland, spoke out publicly to urge an end to required celibacy for clergy (the PNCC has allowed its clergy to marry since 1921). Within a day making such a declaration he was publicly accused by other clergy of inappropriate behavior. Odd how the struggle to maintain the status quo and to stifle voices for reform rears its head. The politics of such a process cannot be hidden away as it once was.

Our Church’s remedy to inordinate power and corruption is a democratic model of Church consistent with the ideals of the Conciliar Movement and more importantly earliest Christianity. It is time that Roman Catholics consider whether the voice of the Bishop of Rome is preeminent or whether they should find a home which is modeled on Church of the first millennium, one that is at once fully Catholic and free, democratic, and Conciliar.


My thanks to Fr. Randolph Calvo of Holy Name of Jesus in South Deerfield, Massachusetts for his words, which I have significantly borrowed, and which inspired this writing

Polish hockey highlighted

24 February 2013 - By

Polish Hockey Connects to Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium

By Lars Hjelmroth

WESTLAND— Polish ice hockey is currently in the news. The U-20 National Team earned a spot in next year’s top division IIHF Championships with a 3-2 victory over Italy. Top prospect Kasper Guzik scored all three goals in the come from behind win. You could say it was a collaboration victory, as just like the senior National Team, the U-20’s are led by Russian coaches.

Another skater on the scouting radar is Filip Strarzynski, who had a strong tournament. He is also playing Jr. hockey for the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Junior Hockey League.

Polish-American hockey was celebrated at the ‘Hockey Weekend Across America’ event in Westland, Michigan. Besides the rich hockey history that was showcased, there was a Sports and Entertainment Law component. The Hockey Day in Michigan section was sponsored by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the publication MiHockeyNow.

Tom Mustonen was well received as a presenter. He is a primary source. He has lived and become part of the fabric of the hockey history in the State of Michigan and beyond. It was 50 years ago when he and a mostly inexperienced U.S. National Team embarked on Sabena Airlines flight #548 from New York Idlewild Airport to Brussels. They were starting their International Ice Hockey Federation quest towards the World Championship. At the time, Boston hockey legend, Walter Brown, owner of the Boston Bruins and then Vice-President of the American Hockey Association of the United States said in the Christian Science Monitor, “I don’t see any team with the strength of the Russians or Czech Republic. Our boys may have a rough time of it.”

Tom Mustonen played on the first official Big Ten Ice Hockey Champions, the 1959 Michigan State Spartans.  He discussed playing hockey in Poland in 1963 as a member of the U.S. National Team during the Hockey Weekend Across America celebration.    Photo courtesy of Nick Vista

Tom Mustonen played on the first official Big Ten Ice Hockey Champions, the 1959 Michigan State Spartans. He discussed playing hockey in Poland in 1963 as a member of the U.S. National Team during the Hockey Weekend Across America celebration. Photo courtesy of Nick Vista

That was a correct prediction as the U.S. Nationals started their 14 country tour with a group of ex-collegians. USA coach Harry Cleverly of Boston University fame set his first line with Marshall Tschida of Providence College on the right. Cleverly had John Poole who was in the Army, in the center spot and the left-winger Tom Mustonen of Michigan State. The top defensive pair was Frank Silka also of MSU and John Warchol of East Orange, New Jersey.

Throughout the daylong event, the timeline of hockey in Poland was also showcased. Americans of Polish decent and immigrants who used hockey as an advancement platform were highlighted.

Raymond Rolak and Tom Mustonen were featured at the Hockey Day Across America Sports and Entertainment Law presentation which also celebrated the rich history of hockey in the State of Michigan.  Here they showcase a jersey of the famed McGraw Avenue hockey teams sponsored by Stan's "Whip-N-Whirl".  Stan Stankiewicz was a longtime ambassador and supporter for youth hockey in the Detroit area.  Photo by Lars Hjelmroth

Raymond Rolak and Tom Mustonen were featured at the Hockey Day Across America Sports and Entertainment Law presentation which also celebrated the rich history of hockey in the State of Michigan. Here they showcase a jersey of the famed McGraw Avenue hockey teams sponsored by Stan’s “Whip-N-Whirl”. Stan Stankiewicz was a longtime ambassador and supporter for youth hockey in the Detroit area. Photo by Lars Hjelmroth

The multi-media presentation moderated by veteran sports broadcaster, Raymond Rolak, highlighted the robust rivalry of the Michigan State and the University of Michigan programs. The unique storyline of the now resurrected University of Detroit collegiate ice hockey team stood out. The U. of D. Titans played their home games at the Olympia in 1967-71 before sparse crowds. An interesting storyline was that attorney Jimmy Williams concluded his collegiate career as the acting player-coach. This was because the head coach, James Kirwen, walked away in disgust. The U. of D. college administration cancelled the major funding for the program with only two weeks to go before the finish of the season. Longtime 3rd Circuit Court Judge, James R. Chylinski was a teammate along with Jim Schlenski and James Bednarski. Pete Mateja was one of the up-and-coming goalies along with pro prospect Pete Donnelly.

The 1932 Polish Olympic Hockey Team in Lake Placid, New York.  Aleksander Kowalski was a member of that fourth place team and scored two goals for Poland in the tournament.  He was murdered in 1940 during the Russian Katyn massacre. Photo courtesy of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum

The 1932 Polish Olympic Hockey Team in Lake Placid, New York. Aleksander Kowalski was a member of that fourth place team and scored two goals for Poland in the tournament. He was murdered in 1940 during the Russian Katyn massacre. Photo courtesy of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Rolak, who has a long hockey pedigree, just completed work in Hawaii as the associate producer for the full length motion picture comedy, “Get A Job.” He told of how Detroit defense attorney Robert Plumpe along with Dave Bentley revamped youth hockey by instituting a skill level classification for the 1970 State Championships. Rolak said, “The action revolutionized hockey in America, brought forth a classification system and promoted the growth we have today.” He also presented timelines regarding women’s hockey development, noting the efforts of attorney Walter Bush and Minnesota editor Patti Riha. Bush was the longtime administrator of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States, the governing body of hockey in this country.

Rolak dissected the 1971 Detroit Common Pleas case allowing the Detroit Catholic Central High School freshman team sponsored by the Detroit Safe-Rai Company to play and be eligible for the City of Detroit Recreation Department (Bantam age-group) Championship. As a 19 year old college freshman, playing baseball at Wayne State University, Rolak wrote an Amicus Brief outlining the merits of school location and the amount of time spent in Detroit as a factor for recreation residency eligibility. The brief turned the tide.

From that modest house league hockey squad, three of many outstanding teammates stood out. Mike Brown and Steve Banonis went on to play collegiate hockey in the C.C.H.A. and both had brief pro careers. Bryan Gruley, while playing high school hockey, went on to became an All-State defenseman. Gruley, now of Chicago, won a Pulitzer Prize while writing for the Wall Street Journal.

Current metro Detroit area lawyers Walter Piszczatowski and Charles Clos also worked as part time recreation hockey instructors and were appropriate to the action. Clos, now a specialist in youth sports defense litigation said, “We were all Detroit hockey ambassadors. The programs also developed coaches and coaching protocols still in use today.”

Mustonen went on in his segment talking about being global ambassadors, “We ate a lot of sausages from the street vendors in Germany and got to experience Fasching (German Mardi-Gras). We enjoyed the cultural sights also. Frank (Silka) and I both felt fortunate to be able to experience that enrichment. We went to Red Square and were treated very V.I.P. We got invited to the front of the line to see Lenin’s tomb. It was cold and we had our long wool USA parkas on and presented ourselves with grace and diplomacy. We looked sharp as a group.”

After touring with games in Europe, Team USA struggled at the World Championships losing all but two games, defeating West Germany 8-4 and tying East Germany 3-3. The heavy 17-2 loss to Sweden on March 12, prompted a telephone call to the team from President John Kennedy. He wanted to see what he could do to help improve the U.S. hockey program. Kennedy loved hockey, especially Harvard hockey. Mustonen added, “Jack Kirrane who was the USA captain for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Gold medal winners was a Massachusetts friend of President Kennedy.”

Lufthansa, Aeroflot, LOT, KLM, CSA and Aer Lingus were new airline names to seek out in theses transcontinental airports and even stranger were some of the airplanes. “We became experienced international travelers very quickly,” added Mustonen, now a retired educator. “We were immersed in international law and regulations, along with the Cold War and Iron Curtain bureaucrats.”

In that era, players who tried out for the National and Olympic hockey teams paid their own way to training camp. The amateur rules were very strict and making the team required a four-month commitment. Some of the players were already in the military and were subsidized with a small stipend. Others got just $50 a month for expenses. “There was so much talent in Michigan back in the day, Jimmy Siebert, Paul Coppo, goalie Patrick Rupp and of course Jack Roberts, they and many more were capable of NHL careers. Denny Ribant and Al Moran, who both played Major League Baseball, would have had great hockey futures also,” he said.

The ‘63 Worlds were coming off with the awkwardness of the 1962 IIHF Championships held in Colorado Springs. The U.S. got bronze, but neither the Soviet Union nor Czechoslovakia was present in Colorado Springs/Denver in ’62. The two Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the event due to the United States’ refusal to give entry visas to communist-ally East Germany (in protest of the erection of the Berlin Wall just seven months earlier).

Mustonen went on, “Coach Cleverly was an anxious flyer and so on the long flight home from Dublin we sent our two complimentary scotch whiskeys to him. Needless to say, he was very glowing when it was time to deplane. There was a team parade before the tournament and we were presented a small but beautiful crystal drinking vessel with the three Swedish gold crowns on it. Sweden, the spectators and the supporters were gracious hosts.”

“When we played in Poland, it was at an outdoor stadium rink and we had a fierce snowstorm. There was a giant crowd and everyone stayed until the end. The match continued after short intermissions to shovel the ice. We became very popular, as we gave ball point pens to the Polish National Team members. It was a scarce item at the time in the Soviet bloc countries. Needless to say, we ran out of them. You could see that the people were not happy with the Russian interference intruding on their lives. It permeated everywhere, it was very noticeable,” Mustonen added.

Of great interest was the documentation of the 1959 Michigan State ice hockey team which was officially declared as the first Big Ten Conference Hockey Champions. This allowed them to go to the NCAA finals in Troy, New York, hosted by RPI. This history will be vital to the pedigree of the new Big Ten Hockey Conference which is to have six schools next year. The branding and scheduling will be a valuable property for the Big Ten Network (television).

This May, USA Hockey will send N.H.L. players to represent America in the top group of countries participating in the IIHF Worlds. USA will play its first game versus Austria on Saturday May 4. There will be 16 countries competing in the top division. Team Russia is the defending World Champions.

Rolak concluded with humorous reminiscing regarding Red Berenson and Mel Wakabayashi and the special relationships among the college coaches, John Mariucci, Al Renfrew, Len Ceglarski and Amo Bessone. He also highlighted the many National Championship teams from the metro Detroit area. Mustonen smiled and added, “Berenson was fast-tracked for the U. of M. Law School after his All-America season with the Wolverines. Pro hockey got in the way. He has been a compliment and the benchmark as the University of Michigan head coach.”

Afterward, description and clips were shown regarding the making of the 1987 award-winning docu-drama, “The Hobey Baker Story” which had been narrated by Rolak and produced in Minneapolis.

EDITORS NOTE: Hockey inductees into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame include Len Ceglarski, Turk Broda, Tom Lysiak, Ed Olczyk and Pete Stemkowski.

Szymon Szember contributed

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