By Cary Shuman
Bob Anthony, the face of East Boston High School hockey for the past two decades, has decided to call it a career.
Anthony has been the head coach of the Jets’ program for 17 seasons and was inducted in to the Massachusetts State Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013. Anthony led the Jets’ program to 10 appearances in the MIAA Tournament and three titles in the Boston City Championships. He has a career coaching record of 149-89-22.
“I’m going to take a little rest,” said Anthony. “It’s not that I don’t enjoy coaching, but my wife [Jacalyn “Jacki” Anthony] passed away last year and it took a lot out of me. She was a big factor in the team and a huge supporter. That was one of the reasons I stepped down. It was getting more difficult and without her being there – that weighed heavily in my decision.”
Anthony dedicated the program’s annual Deep Freeze Hockey Tournament in 2016 in memory of his wife and the Jets, drawing upon that inspiration and emotion, won the championship.
“The players also dedicated the season to her and they did things this season that made me really proud,” said Anthony.
The popular coach, who works as the official historian for the Boston Police Department, was able to keep the Jets’ program highly competitive despite a dwindling number of Eastie kids participating in youth hockey. Eastie became the chief obstacle to Latin Academy for City League supremacy and the two programs annually waged exciting showdowns in the City Championships at Matthews Arena.
“Latin is a very good team and you can’t take anything away from them,” said Anthony. “They come and play a great game. It’s a city league and there was mutual respect on both teams.”
Eastie also made some memorable runs in the State Tournament. Often outnumbered in roster size, the Jets relied on their determination and togetherness to challenge teams from large, suburban communities.
Some of Anthony’s players have gone on to compete at the collegiate and junior hockey level.
Anthony began his coaching career in the East Boston Youth Hockey organization with the Pee Wee and Midget teams. The organization is now merged with Malden Youth Hockey.
In addition to being a state Hall of Fame inductee, Anthony has received numerous coaching awards and been recognized by the East Boston Athletic Board.
Anthony thanked the management team at Porrazzo Rink for their cooperation. He also credited his assistant coaching staff of Dennis Bernabei Sr. (who has worked with Anthony from the beginning), Dom DiMarzo, Dennis Bernabei Jr., Jeff Arinella, and Ralph Guarino.
He also expressed his gratitude to former East Boston High School principals John Poto and Mike Rubin, current principal Phil Brangiforte (who is his son in-law), former athletics coordinator Ryan Conway, and current athletics coordinator Michael Smith for their support of his teams through the years.
Anthony is in 34th year as a member of the Boston Police Department. He hopes to continue in his current position as historian for at least a few more years.
Much like legendary Eastie sports coaches, Mike Rubin and John Souza – men of stature who were universally respected in the high school sports community – Bob Anthony is leaving a program with which he has become synonymous.
Bob Anthony is a true giant in Eastie hockey and his presence behind the Jets’ bench will be missed.