By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Sports Hall of Fame will be inducting its Class of 2013 from the Doubletree Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 22 from Bristol.
This season’s class – it’s 17th overall – will see another eight members joins its ranks and the 2013 edition is certainly a worthy bunch to enter the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame.
Here’s a special look at three of the newest members of the BSHOF:
Bristol Sports Hall Of Fame Inductees for 2013: Maryellen Holden – Maryelle Holden is another special member of the Bristol sports community that has baseball running in her blood.
And for over 25 years, Holden has been a big part of baseball in the Mum City.
Since 1988, she’s been a volunteer in both Little League baseball and softball and was also a team mom for Forestville Little League.
For 13 years, she was the Connecticut District 5 Little League assistant district administrator and was also on the Little League Baseball and Softball President’s International Advisory Board.
Currently, Holden is on the Ed Beardsley Challenger Little League Fun Day Committee, a member of the Eastern Regional Little League Baseball Tournament Committee, Eastern Regional Softball Tournament Committee, and a Connecticut 5 District Administrator.
She’s also earned numerous awards for her work in baseball including the Eastern Region Little League Director’s Volunteer Award in 1996 and 2012, the Lydia Jabs Bailey Award from the Bristol Tramps Sports Reunion Committee in 2001 and earned the Humanitarian Service Award from the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol and Family Center in 2007.
And, of course, she’s the mother of St. Paul boys varsity baseball coach and the assistant Eastern Regional Director, Pat Holden.
She’s one of the many great volunteers that Bristol has enjoyed over the years in the ranks of Little League.
Paul LaFleur – There’s three people you can easily associate with the Bristol American Legion baseball team: Dr. James “Doc” Gilhuly, Fran Mullins, and Paul LaFleur.
Two were already in the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame and now, LaFleur earned his slot as well.
The long time member of the Post 2 squad – which includes nearly 40 years of service now – has watched the team win over 1,000 games and has been part of 28 Zone 1 champions, seven state titles, and three New England Championships.
The program he has helped build and grow has been to the American Legion World Series three times under his watch.
In 2001, he earned the American Legion State Contributor Award and also serves as the treasurer on the Legion Baseball Committee chair.
While he enjoys seeing the boys go through the program and succeed at the highest level, LaFleur also does so many things behind the scenes for the Bristol Legion program that no one sees.
Truly, he’s the driving force of the squad.
On top of all his managerial duties, he’s also the team’s baseball statistician and the voice of Bristol Legion baseball when Post 2 takes the field down at Muzzy.
Rick O’Brien – Rick O’Brien was a pretty good basketball player for the boys team at Bristol Eastern High School during the 1960’s.
And off a stellar scholastic career, O’Brien went on to play ball Assumption College after his standout career for the Lancers.
He was also a valuable member of the soccer and track and field teams for Eastern.
But he was one heck of a player on the hardwood under then Eastern coach Vin Punzo.
During his senior campaign in 1965-66, O’Brien easily compiled his best statistics in an Eastern uniform.
With junior Bobby Jones in tow, Eastern went a sparkling 18-3 overall and the Lancers won the CCIL championship behind a 14-2 ledger.
O’Brien led the team in scoring in 10 of those 21 contests and averaged a healthy 16.3 points-per-game – scoring over 20 points in a game six times that year.
On Dec. 30, 1965, he pumped in a career best 28 points – behind an incredible 12-of-15 shooting performance – as Eastern slammed Hall, 97-78.
Two days previous, O’Brien zipped in 26 points and dished out three assists in a 81-54 win over Windham.
At Assumption, he averaged 10 points-per-game as a senior and overall, he pumped 488 total points in his career.
O’Brien also coached on the local level including at the Park Department, Forestville Little LEague, and on the AAU level.