Rich “Commander” Blight
Builders’ Category ~ Class of 2017
In the late 50’s, hockey was on TV Saturdays at noon. It was always the Rangers versus one of the other five teams in the NHL. Rich played with six other youngsters on the outdoor ice in Chicago and a couple times at Rainbow Arena on Clark Street. He still has his original goalie stick that cost $7.50 at Mike’s Sporting Goods.
Rich’s son played for the Park Ridge Hornets from the Learn-to-Skate years all the way up through Midgets and High School at Maine South. His very first team didn’t have a coach so Al Kalina asked Rich to help out which he gladly did. He then coached, or was an assistant coach, for several Mite through Midget teams over two decades. Rich was also an assistant coach for Maine South Junior Varsity Hockey and Notre Dame Hockey. Rich served on the Park Ridge Hornets Hockey Association Board of Directors for 16 years, and was one of the founders of the North Shore Youth Hockey League.
Rich’s next great adventure began in 2003 when he became a coach for the Chicago Hornets Sled Hockey Organization. For Rich, coaching sled hockey was vastly different than able-bodied hockey. It has been an unexpected great pleasure for him to be part of this amazing program. Sled Hockey has taken Rich to a far greater level as a volunteer than he ever thought possible. As in the past, Rich was asked to be a coach for disabled athletes at Hockey Development Camps up until 2015.
Rich has often said, “Hockey has changed lives from the Olympian, the parent who has tears in their eyes watching and saying “I didn’t know he/she could play hockey” and the player that has to be pushed because of being handicapped. Everyone is just having fun.”
The IHHF Induction Dinner will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall located at 1170 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. Tickets are available by contacting Norm Spiegel at 847/269-2922 or e-mail Norm at firstname.lastname@example.org.