After flying fighter jets in a war and then presiding as a judge for nearly four decades, Harold Dean has put those pursuits on ice.
Coming over the boards to get into the hockey games at Ellenton ice rink is no less exciting than it used to be for Dean, but it may not be easy.
You can understand why when the retired Connecticut judge turned 90 years old in April, but he still laces up his skates and hits the ice 4 times a week.
Dean says, “I have to play with this group which is over 50, but during the season I play with an over 60 group and an over 70 group and that’s a lot easier.”
Guys like Joe Brown and Frank Campbell are no spring chickens themselves, but even they are amazed at the judge’s love of Hockey and his prowess.
Campbell says, “sometimes you can play him a little bit hard but when he gets in the corner he doesn’t let up. If you’re in there he’s going to put the stick on you and let you know he’s there.”
The judge always wanted to be an athlete, but he was a lackluster student.
A war changed that, he went on to become a fighter pilot, where he learned discipline and got college money from the G.I. Bill.
The discipline got him through law school, and the G.I. bill paid for it.
That tuition money is long gone, but that discipline sustained him even now.
Campbell says, “there’s a lot of people in this world, as they age they don’t age well. But judge Harold he just goes and goes and goes and at his age, he jumps on the play and he just goes at 90 years old. How can you see anything better in life?”
he does see similarities between the courtroom and the Hockey rink, but he only cares about one.
Dean says, “I had a lot of laughs in the courtroom and I get a lot of laughs here. That’s what it’s all about.”
At 90, Dean still has the legal mind and probably the Judge’s robe, but his fellow Hockey players only see him as Harold the Hockey player.