Ray Berens was born on October 13, 1943, the last of eight children. He was very active is sports throughout his life. Ray participated in football, basketball, wrestling and track in High School. He played football and wrestled at North Park College. Ray transferred down state to attend University of Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering. He also completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration at the University of Loyola in Chicago.
After College, Ray worked for The Trane Co. in engineering sales for 23 years. In 1992 he opened his own company, R J Berens Sales Co., as Manufactures Rep of HVAC Equipment which he still operates today.
Ray married Joan Kempton on June 25, 1966 in Skokie, Illinois. They had three children, Rick, Kendra and Sean who all still live in the Chicago area. Ray and Joan have two grandchildren, Quentin and Mitchell, who play hockey and live in the Chicago area. Sports played an important role in their family’s life. Rick played High School hockey, club hockey, baseball, football and soccer in High School; Kendra played soccer, baseball and was a cheerleader in High School; Sean played High School hockey (winning 3 State Titles), club hockey, football, baseball and soccer.
In 1974 Ray became involved with youth activities by helping Coach Rick’s “T-ball” baseball team. He has been involved with youth activities his whole life working with baseball, football, soccer and hockey. Ray’s true love was hockey. He started by coaching the Palatine Norsemen and was on the first Hockey Board of the new Northwest Chargers Hockey Club; a merger of the Palatine Norsemen and the Rolling Meadows Warriors. Through his 39 years of hockey he coached and helped the following organizations: Palatine Norseman, Northwest Chargers, Addison Arcs, The Flames, The Huskies, The Chicago Mission, Team Illinois Boys, Team Illinois Girls, Fremd High School and was a Hockey Director for Bensenville. Ray has won numerous League Championships and State Championships with his teams.
Ray coached his two sons Rick and Sean’s teams and his girlfriend’s, Karen Geiger, son Seanie from the mite level up. Rick played at the University of Denver and is still their leading goal scorer; Sean played for Michigan State and led the Nation in goal scoring his senior year along with being selected to the All American Team. Sean also played in the IHL and in Europe; Seanie played for St Mary’s College in Minnesota and was a go-to player for their team.
When Ray was asked what moments through his hockey experience he was most proud of, he replied that it was the fact that his three sons all have given something back to the game of hockey. Rick has coached at the Northwest Chargers, The Flames, The Huskies, The Hawks and The Chicago Young Americans; Sean has coached at Team Illinois (where Ray has assisted him the last 6 years) and Seanie has coached at Team Illinois and The Chicago Young Americans.
Categories: Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame