Appreciation: Remembering Revere Youth Hockey Icon Joe DeSantis

They were synonymous for close to three decades: Joe DeSantis and Revere’s youth hockey program.

DeSantis’ leadership was so highly regarded by his colleagues in the organization that some, including longtime coach Jamie Branzell said simply but reverentially of President Joe DeSantis, “Joe was The Man.”

Joseph DeSantis, who served 27 years as an officer and president of Revere Youth Hockey and the newly formed East Coast Junior Patriots Hockey, passed away on June 2, 2023. He was 67.

Joe DeSantis.

Mr. DeSantis administered a superbly run youth hockey program in which hundreds of youths were introduced to ice skating and the rules and techniques of hockey at the famed Cronin Rink in Revere. Revere’s participation in an annual exchange program with Chambly in Quebec, Canada, was an accomplishment in which Mr. DeSantis took well-deserved pride, creating international friendships between the players from Revere and Chambly.

When the enrollment numbers in the Revere Youth Hockey program began to dwindle, Mr. DeSantis remained undaunted in his quest to ensure that those athletes in Revere who wanted to play youth hockey would have that opportunity. At the right time, Mr. DeSantis engineered a merger with Everett and then with East Boston and Malden, becoming the East Coast Junior Patriots Hockey organization.

Mr. DeSantis, whose two sons, Jack and Joey are Youth Hockey graduates, personally made sure that every young player in the area that wanted to play hockey could do so, even if there were a financial hurdle for a family.

The season-ending awards banquets were well-executed and festive, with Mr. DeSantis particularly enjoying the sight of the happy faces of the trophy recipients.

Jamie Branzell, a coach in the organization whose two sons, Cooper and Chase, participated in youth hockey, said he appreciated how Mr. DeSantis made every player feel welcomed and respected in the program.

“Joe did whatever was needed to make sure that kids could play hockey – he was selfless,” said Branzell. “He was just an amazing person. Joe did right for all the kids, from the on-ice activities to the banquets at the end of the year.”

Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti, whose sons, Gerry Jr. and Joseph, have played in the Revere youth hockey program, requested a moment of silence for Mr. DeSantis at Monday’s Council meeting.

Said Visconti about his friend and fellow Revere youth hockey officer, “The City of Revere lost a great community person. Joe Desantis was a dedicated father and cherished friend to so many people in our city.  But most of all, he was family to everyone in the youth hockey community in Revere. When you thought of Revere Youth Hockey, you thought of Joe DeSantis. He was the face of the program.

“Joe’s impact on the lives of so many youths he mentored, as well as his unwavering dedication to his family will forever be remembered.

His passion for the sport and his commitment to shaping our young athletes extended far beyond the rink, leaving his forever mark on the hearts and minds of all who knew him. Joe Desantis will be profoundly missed and his legacy as a father, grandfather, and the President of the Revere Youth Hockey Program will continue to inspire us all.”

There is a movement in the youth hockey and Revere community to dedicate a space at the Cronin Rink in memory of Joseph DeSantis.

“We’re looking to do something really nice at the rink in his honor,” said Branzell. “Whoever goes to the rink will know about Joe DeSantis and all the great things he did for the kids of Revere.”

That would certainly be a tremendous and well-deserved tribute to “The Man” who brought joy to so many athletes through his exceptional leadership of Revere Youth Hockey and his personal instruction of the game.

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