By John Deming, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, February 18, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- Though he spent two years serving in the Korean War, Bernard "Ben" Arguin only missed one hockey season.
"And I still skated whenever I could while I was there," he says.
Arguin, who lives in Hampton with his wife, Peg, is one of five across the state that will be inducted into New Hampshire Legends of Hockey this year.
For Arguin, hockey has been life.
"Because I was so busy with hockey, my wife never had to worry that I was with another woman," he laughs, along with Peg.
"Yeah, hockey was always the other woman," Peg Arguin says.
Peg Arguin notes that her husband's father went to all of Arguin's hockey games, and kept scrapbooks of all the articles and pictures.
"I think [his induction into New Hampshire Hockey Legends] will be a nice closure to those scrapbooks," she said.
Arguin developed a keen interest in hockey in his early teens, when he lived in Victoriaville, Quebec.
"Whenever we had recess out there, I was on skates," he said.
Though he played plenty of "scrub" games in Canada, he didn't get involved with an organized team until moving back to New Hampshire and attending Notre Dame High School.
As a senior, he led the Notre Dame team in scoring and was one of the first from New Hampshire named to the All New England Team.
From there he joined the Berlin Maroons, a Senior American Hockey Association team. While a Maroon, Arguin didn't bother playing with anything so cumbersome as a helmet.
"We were too tough for that," he said.
It was shortly after playing for the Maroons that Arguin got the call from Uncle Sam.
"I wanted to stay here as long as possible," he said. "I knew I was going to get drafted."
Arguin's family physician was also the Maroons' team doctor. When Arguin was first drafted to the U.S. Army, he had a dislocated shoulder and provided the Army with a doctor's note about it.
He continued to play hockey, and some time later the doctor came in the dressing room and told Arguin he'd gotten a call from the Army asking if the shoulder had healed. It had, and it was time to go.
"I was playing hockey, so I couldn't say that I wasn't fit," Arguin says.
After basic training, Arguin married his wife and had a 12-day honeymoon. Then it was time to ship out.
"I had a lot of people praying for me back home," Arguin says.
He also kept in close contact with his new bride.
"We'd write back and forth every day," he says. "Every day."
But after about two years Arguin made it back, and in time to finish the hockey season. That year, the Maroons went on to win the National Amateur Championship.
"That was exciting, very exciting," Arguin says.
He played with the Maroons for 15 years, playing teams from all over New England and Canada. At one point, he even clashed sticks with former New England Patriots quarterback Butch Songin.
"The Songin brothers seemed to come up and play with every team," Arguin says.
After his time on the Maroons, Arguin went on to officiate both college and high school hockey games. He also organized youth hockey in Hampton, and helped start the Winnacunnet High School hockey team.
He also served as president of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Hockey Officiating Association, and — ironically, given his propensity to got helmetless — helped Exeter High School hockey coach Jim Tufts make face protection mandatory in high school.
Arguin said he hasn't laced up a pair of skates in a few years, but still watches every hockey game he can.
What does he love about the sport?
"The fact that you're going all the time," he says. "It's a fun game, it's an interesting game." He adds, "I love baseball and football, but hockey takes it all."
Arguin, a father of three, shows as much enthusiasm for hockey as he does for showing pictures of his three grandchildren.
"They're all great kids," he says.
Peg Arguin, who has seen her husband on the ice more times than she can count, says it was cold in those arenas. Arguin attributes a lot of his success to his wife.
"She knew that was what I liked to do, and she always backed me up," he says.
Arguin says it's tough to tell whether he'll ever hit the ice again.
"I won't say that I will not skate anymore," he says. "If the situation warrants it, I might lace them up again."