Wil­liam P. Lynch, founded Depew Saints Hockey Club, coached youth sports teams

The Buffalo News - - OBITUARIES - Aug. 9, 1935 – Dec. 5, 2017 By Dale Anderson NEWS STAFF RE­PORTER

Wil­liam Patrick Lynch Sr., founder of the Depew Saints Hockey Club, died Tues­day in Sis­ters Hos­pi­tal. He was 82.

Born in Toronto, the son of a U.S. cus­toms agent, he at­tended the for­mer St. Fran­cis de Sales Ele­men­tary School in Buffalo and St. Joseph’s Col­le­giate In­sti­tute.

He left high school to en­list in the Air Force dur­ing the Korean War and served in the med­i­cal corps in Tripoli. Re­turn­ing from service, he at­tended the Univer­sity of Buffalo.

Mr. Lynch be­came a petroleum prod­ucts sales­man for At­lantic Rich­field, then formed his own com­pany, The Lubri­ca­tor, sell­ing lu­bri­cants to re­pair shops. Later he changed ca­reers and worked with trou­bled youth in Con­ners Res­i­den­tial Treat­ment Fa­cil­ity and the Methodist Home for Chil­dren, now Gate­way-Longview. He re­tired in 2000.

He coached nu­mer­ous teams at St. Barn­abas School, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacra­ment School and Catholic Cen­tral School. He also or­ga­nized a base­ball team at St. Ann’s Church and was a founder of the Depew Saints Hockey Club, an out­growth of the OLBS hockey pro­gram.

“He felt the need for some­thing for the boys in the com­mu­nity to do,” his daugh­ter, Brid­get Herod, said. “He be­lieved in keep­ing them busy be­cause he didn’t have that as a boy.”

His son, Bren­dan, said that his father got in­volved in youth hockey af­ter re­peat­edly see­ing a group of boys play­ing a pickup game on a patch of ice near Our Lady of the Blessed Sacra­ment School.

“He pulls up one day and they’re all in mis­matched gear,” he said. “The kids had fig­ure skates and they had base­ball gloves for the goalies. He said to them, ‘Guys, don’t you have any­where else to play?’

“So he takes it on him­self and he talks to the Vil­lage of Depew about start­ing a league. He built it into this pow­er­house ma­chine. He loved the team and the hockey, but it was much more about the kids.”

Be­fore their home rink in Depew was built in 1971, Mr. Lynch and a group of vol­un­teers had to take young play­ers to Lock­port, Fort Erie, Ont., and Ni­a­gara Falls, Ont., for early morn­ing prac­tice ses­sions.

“The whole idea of the Depew Saints was a dream of mine,” he told an in­ter­viewer on the club’s 45th an­niver­sary in 2014.

“I wanted to give it a shot and give the kids an op­por­tu­nity to play or­ga­nized hockey. Once I saw that the kids would get up at those early Satur­day morn­ing hours, I knew they were hooked.”

In 1965, he was one of the 35 found­ing mem­bers of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacra­ment Catholic Church, now St. Martha’s Par­ish, in Depew.

He was chair­man of the first Holy Name So­ci­ety con­ven­tion in 1971 and was hon­ored that year as Holy Name Man of the Year.

His daugh­ter noted that he was “a be­liever in ‘love your brother as your­self.’ ”

Sur­vivors also in­clude his wife of 57 years, the for­mer Bar­bara Smielin­ski; an­other daugh­ter, Bon­nie McEl­lig­ott; an­other son, Wil­liam P. Jr.; a sister, Kath­leen Hohlstein; and eight grand­chil­dren.

A Mass of Chris­tian Burial will be of­fered at 9:30 a.m. Satur­day in St. Martha Par­ish, 10 French Road, Depew.

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