BERLIN — Berlin High graduate (Class of 1967), old friend and sport historian Ben Napert was recently asked by an old friend, Bobby Rodrique, if he could write something up for Ronald Villeneuve who tended goal for Berlin High School around 1963 to 1967. Ben was a good friend of Ron's for over 55 years, until Ron's passing away last year from cancer, and he responded with the following information.
"Ron, known as the "The Hawk" by his friends, started playing goalkeeper for the Angel Guardian School, which was part of the grammar school league. Upon graduation from eighth grade, he attended Berlin High. He was mentored by none other than Richard Bradley, who at the turn of the 1960s was turning the future of the hockey team in Berlin around.
Ron did not have a long career as a goaltender but the years at Berlin High were outstanding. His junior year, he led his first team to a very successful season, eventually losing to a very good St. Dom's team out of Lewiston, Maine, who went on to be crowned New England Champions.
His senior year, however, was his greatest success. That was the year BHS won the state championship with Ron in the net and then Berlin High got some payback by beating St. Dom's in overtime 3-2, to bring home the only New England High School Hockey Championship in the history of Berlin High School.
He has the distinction of being only one of two goaltenders from Berlin to win the New England Championships. The other person was the outstanding Rod Blackburn, who was in goal for Notre Dame High School in 1957 when they won the New England High School Hockey Championship.
We know that Rod went on to have a great four years at the University of New Hampshire as well as other successful endeavors as a goalie.
Ron liked to play tricks in school on his friends, but when it was game time he was all business. He got the nickname “Hawk” because his eyesight and reflexes were sharp. If you were in an important game, you felt confident that you had a chance to win with him in the net.
He left his mark at Berlin High School. He wasn't the best to ever play goalie in Berlin but I would say he was one of the five best.
I was proud to have him as a friend (like a brother) and I will never forget our years together.”
Thanks, Ben for that information and thanks to Rita Dube for typing up the information and forwarding it to me.