Reardon lifted Clippers, city 'Mr. Hockey' dies of heart failure at 73

February 16, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

He would nervously roam the Civic Center during Clippers games, chomping on his cheap cigar and thrusting his arm in the air when the team rallied.

"Yowsah!" Terry Reardon would yell in delight.

Reardon, the Clippers general manager and sometimes coach in the 1960s and '70s and once known as Baltimore's "Mr. Hockey," died Sunday of cardiac failure. He was 73.

"Terry did a lot of things for hockey in Baltimore," said Ray "Gump" Embro, the Clippers reserve goalie and trainer in those days. "Crowds averaged 7,000 to 9,000. We outdrew the Bullets. Yeah, we were minor league, but we were the best AHL franchise at the time. And it was all because of Terry."

Reardon was the Clippers general manager from 1962, when the team was formed and the Civic Center opened, until they disbanded in 1975. The New York Rangers had sent him to Baltimore to direct the new franchise. He coached the Clippers on several occasions, winning three AHL division championships.

He relieved Johnny Crawford in the 1965-66 season and coached the next two. For five seasons in the 1970s he shared the coaching job, first with Jim Morrison and then Kent Douglas.

"There was nothing fancy about Terry," Embro said. "Smoked nickel cigars. Shot and a beer. Tough Irishman.

"He was great at putting a team together, getting players with a year or two left, former NHL guys," Embro said, mentioning Douglas, Jimmy Bartlett and Gilles Boisvert. "He'd take eight or nine old guys like that, put them with some young guys and have a great team."

Boisvert, now a Baltimore businessman, was a 16-year-old schoolboy in Quebec when he first met Reardon in 1948. Reardon was coach and GM of the Providence Reds, who were training in Quebec.

"I was working part-time for Canadian Pacific, delivering telegrams," Boisvert said. "Well, I used to read the dispatches sent by the team's writer to his Providence newspaper. This one night, the writer wrote that the Reds' goalies were sick.

"I approached Terry and said, 'Mr. Reardon, I play goal. I heard you're short.' He said, 'You got equipment?' I said I did. He said, 'OK, report tomorrow.' "

With that invitation, Boisvert became a pro hockey player. He went on to play briefly with the Detroit Red Wings and was with Reardon's Clippers from 1963 to 1971.

Reardon, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, played seven seasons in the NHL and was a member of the 1940-41 Boston Bruins who beat Detroit for the Stanley Cup.

"Terry assisted on the winning goal in the final game," Embro said. "The Bruins never won the Stanley Cup again until Bobby Orr came along."

Reardon also played for the Montreal Canadiens. In his NHL career that ended in 1947, he had 47 goals and 53 assists for 100 points. His brother, Kenneth, also played seven years in the NHL, all for Montreal, and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

After the Clippers disbanded in 1975, Reardon spent a time with the World Hockey Association and worked in Massachusetts for a few years before returning to Baltimore. In recent years, he worked as a security guard. He was a press box visitor at a Skipjacks game this season.

Reardon is survived by two sons, Lance Reardon of Sparks and Michael C. Reardon of New Freedom, Pa.; a brother, Kenneth Reardon of Montreal; a sister, Patricia Jeffries of Vancouver, British Columbia; and six grandchildren: Heather, Tara, Kristen, Josh, Ashley and Matthew.

"How would he want to be remembered?" Lance Reardon said, repeating the question. "Being honest, more than anything. He was always working, always going. He had a heart attack in December, and he drove himself to the hospital."

Viewing will be tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road. Services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home chapel.

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