Retired judge brings justice to the hockey rink
ELLENTON - After flying fighter jets in a war, then presiding as a judge for nearly 4 decades, retired Judge Harold Dean has put those pursuits on ice. In fact, the ice is exactly where you can find him 4 days a week.
Coming over the boards to get into the hockey games at the Ellenton Ice Rink is no less exciting than it used to be for Harold Dean, but it may not be as easy. "It's tough," laughs former judge Harold Dean.
You can understand why when you learn that the retired Connecticut judge turned 90 years old on April 12th, but he still laces up his skates and hits the ice 4 times a week. "Twice a week here in season with the 50+(age) group," explains the 90–year–old Dean. "I also play with the over 60s and over 70's. Those groups are little easier to deal with."
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.
"Judge Harold is amazing. Too see him out there going into the corner and getting in the middle of the action is great," says Frank Campbell, a fellow hockey player. "For him to jump over the boards to get onto the ice, and not use the door? At 90? That is something you don't see everyday."
The judge was always 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 GI Bill. The discipline got him through law school, and the GI Bill paid for it. The tuition money is long gone, but that discipline sustained him.
"The Judge just goes and goes,” continues Campbell. "He jumps right into the play when he hits the ice, and just gets right in the middle of it all.”
Dean does see similarities between the courtroom and the hockey rink, but he only cares about one.
"I laughed a lot in the courtroom and I laugh a lot on the ice," said a smiling Dean.
At 90, he still has the legal mind – probably the judge's robe, but his fellow players only see him as Harold the hockey player. They don't judge him, and he doesn't judge them.
"I don't think they care," Deans explains in closing. "They don’t care."