by Rick Winterson
On Saturday, August 15, at 10 a.m., Jackie O’Brien will be honored. As part of the First Dangle Fest Street Hockey Tournament (which will be an annual event in years to come), the brand new street hockey court in Moakley Park will be named the John “Jackie” O’Brien Street Hockey Court, in recognition of his extraordinary efforts in support of South Boston’s youth clubs, sports, programs, and activities.
And Jackie’s honor is not only well-deserved, it is highly fitting. He and Joe Moakley were close friends; Jackie also played center at Saunders Field, in front of Ray Flynn, during his South Boston High School football years. Over the years, he has supported our Boys & Girls Club, South Boston Little League, South Boston Soccer, South Boston Pop Warner Football, South Boston Youth Hockey, the Laboure Center, Medicine Wheel Productions, South Boston’s Vietnam Memorial, St. Augustine Church, the St. Augustine Chapel restoration, Julie’s Family Learning Program, and many, many others. At a hale and youthful 79, Jackie has truly earned this recognition.
Jackie’s daughter Tara forwarded us a tribute to him from Bobby Ferrara, another close friend whom South Boston Online is privileged to quote. Bobby said:
“Jackie O’Brien is truly a great South Bostonian, not only for his dedication and support of youth programs for years across the community, but also for all the untold favors and good deeds that he quietly did, without any fanfare or recognition. A well-deserving dedication to another kid from the neighborhood, who grew up and never forgot where he came from.
“Jackie can be seen with his Red Sox cap, jacket, and sunglasses on, basking in the sun in front of the Murphy Rink, gazing out at the lagoon, hanging with his pal John Shea (his best friend from St. Augustine’s Grammar School), and Frankie, Dennis, Jimbo, or whoever else visits for the day!”
The brand new street hockey court is a real addition to the sporting facilities within Moakley Park. On the opposite side of the Park from Saunders Stadium, the court borders the Ollie building and playground. It is a spacious 75 by 150 feet, with sides that begin their curvature as the respective goals are approached – a nicely designed, professional quality court, in other words. And there are both fan and team seating on either side of the court.
VENMO information is (John O’Brien@John-OBrien-187), in case you would like to donate to the dedication event but are unable to attend. You may also pre-order T-shirts via Venmo for $10 each – please note down the sizes you want, and note whether you’ll pick them up at the dedication or want them delivered (“We will get it to you!”). All proceeds will go towards the tournament, the dedication ceremony, and most important, the ongoing support of South Boston’s youth clubs, sports, programs, and activities.