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Honouring the Legacy of Peter Boyd

By Matt Thompson
This past weekend brought familiar sounds back to the Pat Burns Arena. Not only were pucks bouncing around the ice, and bodies hitting the glass, but for the first time since last spring the cheers of the Spartans faithful could be heard. After a summer of seemingly grey skies more often than not, on this particularly beautiful fall weekend many fans packed into the Pat Burns Arena to watch both the Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls teams start their seasons.
The excitement for the games was clearly building up, but before we were to play on Saturday we had some important business to take care of.

Many places around campus are named after key individuals or families who have helped Stanstead College become the school that it is today. Honouring the dedication of past teachers and coaches is an extremely important tradition at a school that truly is a lifestyle or sometimes even a vocation for faculty. This past Saturday was a chance to honour Peter Boyd for his 21-year career as a teacher and coach at Stanstead College.

Mr. Boyd coached senior boys hockey here at Stanstead from 1962 to 1975. Beyond that, he also coached cross-country running, track-and-field and was of course, a teacher. Prior to arriving at Stanstead College, Mr. Boyd’s personal athletic accomplishments were quite impressive, as he was an Iowa State champion runner in both track and cross-country while at Dubuque University. In 1991 he was inducted in the Dubuque University Sports Hall of Fame, and at that time his records in the 1,500m and 800m still stood.  

Despite Saturday being an exciting day for the current Spartans to play their first game, it was a wonderful day as both a hockey and school community to see so many former students and colleagues back on campus to celebrate the career of Mr. Boyd. As the current coach of the team and in many ways the caretaker of the dressing room, I thought it was important to listen to what others were sharing about the career that Mr. Boyd had as a hockey coach. The afternoon began with a welcome address from Head of School, Joanne Carruthers, followed by the presentation of a replica 1970s Stanstead hockey jersey to honorary coach for the day “COACH BOYD.”

Director of Advancement Jesse McRae, Class of 2002, read off countless notes from many not able to attend  that all spoke to the incredible coach, teacher and overall educator that Peter is. There was even a special note from the Director of Alumni Engagement at Dubuque to recognize this special day of commemoration. We also had the opportunity to listen to a number of other speakers, including alums Steve Mitchell ’71, Andre Hardwick ’69, Nigel Lester ’68, and former faculty member Brian Denney ’64. Lastly, Peter’s daughter Cynthia rocked the room with colourful commentary about her father’s time here at Stanstead College.

It was a real walk down memory lane for the nearly one hundred in attendance who made the pilgrimage back to campus from as far as South Florida, and despite being from years gone by, it was clear that the lasting effect of Peter’s coaching was felt among those in the room. The heartfelt tributes were not about wins and losses but about experience and education. The stories spoke to what had been both taught and learned, and they all culminated in a clear and ever-present respect for a wonderful coach turned lifelong friend and mentor.

Prior to our game, Peter was also able to address our current team, in the newly named Peter Boyd Varsity Boys Locker Room. To sum up his message, I would use the word “opportunity.” He looked around the room and spoke to the idea of the opportunity each and every member of our group has here at Stanstead College. A wonderful message to begin another hockey season, and a grounding principle to remember at all times.

Clearly Peter’s message was heard loud and clear as the team went on to win both games against Hill Academy by scores of 6-1 and 9-2.

This was only the second time I have met Peter, with the first time being last spring at the 150th celebration on campus, but it is clear to see how many lives he impacted during his time here at Stanstead. Teaching and coaching are jobs that carry with them big responsibility as both positions help to shape our youth to be leaders of tomorrow. I look forward to working with our team this year and feeling at home in a locker room that now holds even more meaning for the generations of young student-athletes that will come through it.

- Coach Thompson