John James O’hare Jr. maintained a sense of community through active engagement in alumni functions and public service. Born on 6 July, 1897, J.J. O’hare was one of the youngest members on the First Naval District hockey team. Like Raymie Skilton and other teammates, J.J. O’hare played multiple high school sports, including football (quarterback), baseball (1st base), and hockey (defense). During his time at English High School, J.J. earned the nicknames “Brick” (football) and “Red” (hockey), but, it was by “Brick” that he was known.
Brick graduated high school in April, 1917 and joined the Navy Reserves in September, 1917. He answered George Brown’s “call to sticks”. Ralph Winsor selected him for the team. This fortuitous event would lead to the formation of Boston University’s official hockey team.
Student movements tried twice between 1917 and 1922 to create a B.U. hockey team. The 1917-18 team played one game. Unfortunately, the war probably doomed this first attempt. The war absorbed much of the available sports talent. As a result, many colleges and amateur leagues decided against hosting an official team or championship series. East coast based hockey paused for the 1918-20 season. B.U. attempted a 1919-20 team but it only played two games. As a club team, it was likely hindered in securing games.
In 1920, B.U. reorganized its athletic association to include student leadership. Brick became its first vice president. Ever since taking the post, Brick attempted to get B.U. president Daniel Marsh to authorize an official hockey team. When Brick graduated B.U. in 1922, the seemingly ever-present George V. Brown also directed B.U.’s athletic association. With Brown’s backing, B.U. finally got an official hockey team for the 1922-23, and Brick would be its first coach.
Despite playing hockey since high school, Brick was not a good a coach. He got progressively worse over the course of his two years. His first season ended with 2 wins and 6 losses. Brick was known to “play the man”. He recounted the first time he played the MLB Hall of Fame Catcher Mickey Cochrane. He directed Cochrane to knock down George Owen every time [Owens] was on the ice. Several close games against skilled coaches like Ralph Winsor earned him a second season. Unfortunately, Brick finished with 1 win and 8 losses. “Chippie” Gaw replaced Brick for the 1924-25 season. For his effort, B.U. inducted John J. O’hare as an inaugural Hall of Fame member in 1959.
Brick graduated B.U. with a law degree. Bouncing around a few different law firms in the Boston area, Brick found his career in the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) as a trial lawyer. In the public’s eye, his legal activities remained second to alumni support.
Brick played in alumni games and presided over alumni activities well into the 1960s. He participated in the English High School annual football and hockey games until the mid-30s. The Globe noted his alumni activities and charity work for B.U. until the 60s.
Brick remained a local man all his life. He lived in Jamaica Plain. He worked and schooled in Boston. He died in Framingham. A dedicated man with a strong sense of community.
charlestown navy yard hockey team Tue, Feb 26, 1918 – 7 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comSources:
1. Boston University Hall of Fame.
2. Boston Terrier Hockey 1922-23, College Hockey News.
3. Boston Terrier Hockey 1923-24, College Hockey News.
4. J.J. O’hare Obituary. The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts. 21 Nov 1981
5. Mickey Cochrane Obituary. The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, 10 Jan 1962
6. Other Boston Globe papers, courtesy of Newspapers.com.