|Volume LVI||MAY/JUNE 2009||Number 2|
Academy of Masonic Knowledge
"Forged on Ice: Freemasonry within the Hockey Hall of Fame"
The great objective in Freemasonry is to gain useful knowledge, and the Academy of Masonic Knowledge provides a great opportunity for brethren to learn and understand more about the significance of the Craft. The March 14 meeting of the Academy provided informative and enlightening presentations for more than 240 members.
Bro. Robert A. Goodman, Brownstone Lodge No. 666, Hershey, spoke about Freemasonry and its prevalence amongst professional ice hockey players. He is the author of "Forged on Ice: Freemasonry within the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Hershey Bears," published in 2009.
The book is organized into three periods, similar to a hockey game. Period 1 details the history of the Hershey Bears, a professional American Hockey League (AHL) team; period 2 includes the biographies of Masons within the Hershey Bears; and period three lists the biographies of Masons within the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bro. Goodman found one major commonality between Freemasons and the sport of hockey: camaraderie.
"A hockey team, in order to win, must function as one team, not individuals," he said. "They develop respect for each other and learn to trust each other as friends, as they work toward a common goal - the championship trophy. Freemasonry, in some ways, is also individuals that come together for a common goal, and within a well-run lodge, they are all equals and treat each other as friends or brothers."
The book evolved as Bro. Goodman was conducting research for his paper for the Academy of Masonic Knowledge's Masonic Scholar Certification. He spent about three years researching and documenting his findings.
"I had no idea what to write about," he said. "Being very involved with hockey, I decided to write about the Masons within the Hockey Hall of Fame. I wanted it to be a one-of-a-kind research project that was so thorough that they had never received a paper like this before. It became much more research and names than I ever expected. Enough people asked for a copy of the project that I decided to publish it."
Because Bro. Goodman wrote the book for the Academy of Masonic Knowledge, he did not want to profit from "a project that was so 'pure' to me," he said. "So many people helped with the project and opened so many doors either within Freemasonry or the Hockey Hall of Fame." Proceeds from the book benefit the Masonic Charities Fund (50 percent) and the Shriners Hospitals for Children (50 percent). About 500 copies of the book have been sold to date.
His presentation to the Academy also included two very important pieces of hockey memorabilia: the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, which is awarded to the National Hockey League (NHL) champion each year, and the Calder Cup, awarded annually to the AHL champion.
The Stanley Cup is named for Bro. Lord Stanley, Royal Alpha Lodge, England, a politician in the United Kingdom, who later served as Governor General of Canada in the late 19th century. He was an avid hockey fan and donated the Stanley Cup as a challenge cup for Canada's best amateur hockey club before it became the trophy for NHL teams. The Stanley Cup's presence at Bro. Goodman's speech was quite a feat because requests to the Hockey Hall of Fame to "borrow" it number in the thousands each year. Bro. Marshall Johnston, Bemidji Lodge No. 233, Minn., a former NHL player and coach, was able to help Bro. Goodman obtain the trophy.
"I enjoyed the opportunity to speak and highlight a small, but significant part of previously unresearched history of the Freemasons," Bro. Goodman said.
He has given lectures to several different organizations about the book, including those with no Masonic affiliation such as the Hershey Historical Society. The Hershey Bears also invited him to do a book signing at one of their games.
The book merged two of Bro. Goodman's interests: hockey and history. He played hockey when he was younger and has been officiating for the AHL, including the Hershey Bears, for 15 years. One of his reasons for becoming a Mason, in addition to his father and grandfather being members, was the fraternity's history.
"I really love the history associated with the Masons," he said. "Not only the 300-year-old history, but also the fact that many great, prominent men have been a part of the fraternity over the centuries."
"Forged on Ice: Freemasonry within the Hockey Hall of Fame" is available at www.amazon.com and costs $13. Members living near Hershey can also purchase the book at the Hershey Historical Society.
Bro. Clayton J. Borne, III, M.W.P.G.M, Grand Lodge of Louisiana, also gave a presentation on the "The New Relevancy in Freemasonry" at the March Academy session.
The Fall session of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be held Saturday, Oct. 24 in the Deike Auditorium of the Masonic Cultural Center on the campus of Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 9:30 a.m. A free lunch will be served at noon, and the program will be completed by 3 p.m. All Masons are welcome to attend. Dress is coat and tie.
Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, simply e-mail Bro. James F. Standish or write him at 1 Pierce Court, Glenn Mills, PA 19342-1787. Include your name, address, lodge number, telephone number and e-mail address.
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