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Ray Miron: Passion for Hockey Leads to Lifetime of Achievement

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Right, Ray Miron receives the Lester Patrick Award in 2004.

Looking at Ray Miron’s early years, his acclaimed hockey career seems predestined. Growing up in the cold winters of Cornwall, Ontario, Ray learned to skate at three years old – encouraged no doubt by the skating rink his father built in their back yard. A quote from Go! Magazine says it well, “He lived hockey, breathed hockey and when he slept, it’s a good bet he dreamed of hockey too.” Yet, it was hardly a smooth path.

During high school, Ray played on his high school’s varsity teams in basketball, football and hockey. But hockey was his passion, and he dreamed of someday playing in the National Hockey League. Ray was scheduled to go to Queen’s University in the fall of l942 when tragedy struck. Ray’s father died, and it was up to his son to become the family’s wage earner. Ray began working at a service station and, at the age of 19, took a job at a wartime chemical plant. On a Saturday morning, Ray was helping to move a drum filled with mustard gas when it began to tip. Trying to back out of the way, Ray fell backwards into the spill. He spent 2 ½ months in the hospital and several more months recovering. This accident which left his body terribly scarred was one of the worst in the plant’s history. Ray’s dream of becoming a professional hockey player came to an end.

In 1949 following a six-year courtship, Ray married Rowena Baker. Three years later, the couple had a son who they named Monte followed by daughter Cindy in l958.

In 1950, Ray was hired as the Cornwall Arena Manager, becoming its youngest General Manager at that time. Booking such acts as The Grand Ole Opry, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and big name bands such as Tommy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong, Ray proved he could take a struggling venue and  make it profitable. Yet, during these 12 years, he never lost sight of his first love, hockey. 

In the winter of 1959, Ray was offered the opportunity to manage the Eastern Hockey League’s Washington Presidents. One year later, he signed a contract to manage the Knoxville Knights and moved his family to Tennessee. In the summer of 1964, the Toronto Maple Leafs offered Ray a job to manage a new franchise in Tulsa, Okla. He took it, and three years later, the Tulsa Oilers won the Central Hockey League (CHL) Championship Class AAA title.     

Though he never became a player, Ray’s upward trajectory with professional hockey continued: Ray became president of the Central Hockey League in 1976; two months later Ray was named general manager of the new National Hockey League franchise, the Colorado Rockies; from 1983 to 1987, Ray was commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League.

In October 1992, Ray was instrumental in reestablishing the Central Hockey League with six teams centrally owned by the league.  He had no idea if it would work, but with Ray serving as president and son, Monte, as commissioner, the games were sold out from the start.

In 1997, at 74 years of age, Ray resigned from his office. In his honor, the Central Hockey League named their playoff trophy the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup. In March 2004, Ray was invited to New York City to receive the Lester Patrick Award for his 50-plus year contribution to hockey. Ray received his award from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Though nine family members attended the ceremony in New York, Ray’s wife was not among them. Rowena had passed away one year earlier.

Soon after the loss of Rowena, Ray’s daughter encouraged him to move into retirement living. After visiting several communities in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas, Ray felt Inverness Village suited him better than all the others combined. In 2007, he moved to Inverness in the middle of a huge snow storm and says there could not be any better place for him.

Ray continues to be a mover and a shaker at Inverness Village. He has been instrumental in starting Pea Pool, the Putting Competition, and is currently serving as president of the Resident Council in Redbud Court.  Since being elected, Ray has done a wonderful job of strengthening the connection between Redbud Court and the other areas of the community. He serves as an ambassador for Redbud Court, welcoming new residents and helping them become oriented and visits Redbud Court residents who have transitioned into the Heather Hall health care center.

His vast executive has increased the effectiveness of the Resident Council by improving the overall communication between administration and residents. He is a tireless champion of Inverness Village’s residential programs and events, as well as being involved in the Resident Council. Inverness Village has benefitted from Ray as much as he claims to have benefitted from this community.