Will Roger's quote "I never met a man I didnâ€™t like" is a bit hard for many to accept. And yet, it applies so very much to Don Clark. No one in hockey has ever met anyone who didn't like him. Throughout his life, he tirelessly traveled the length and breadth of his beloved Minnesota preaching the gospel of amateur hockey. In doing so, he has won countless converts to the game and made a host of friends.
During his boyhood days in Faribault, Minnesota, he exhibited an early aptitude for sports, competing in high school football, hockey and baseball. Later, he played amateur baseball in the Southern Minnesota League and amateur hockey in the Twin Cities area. It was in 1947 that he, along with fellow enshrinees Bob Ridder and Everett "Buck" Riley, founded the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA), and proceeded to build it into the most successful organization of its kind in the United States. Among his accomplishments with MAHA, were founding the first Bantam level state tournament in the nation, serving as President from 1954-57 and Secretary-Treasurer from 1949-55 and 1958-74.
An interest in the National aspects of the game also developed in Clark, and in 1958, he was named as the manager of the first U.S. National Team to ever play in the Soviet Union. For nearly three decades he served in many capacities, including vice president of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States. His areas of particular interest were in junior and youth hockey. Clark was honored by the National Hockey League in 1975, when he received the Lester Patrick Award for service to hockey in the United States.
Considering the time, interest, and travel that Clark devoted to hockey, it is not surprising that he was one of the foremost American hockey historians. As such, much of what is in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, which he later served as President, came from his impressive collection and knowledge of the records, players, participants, and incidents of the game. It can truthfully be said: "We shall not see another like him."
If John Mariucci is considered to be the "Godfather of Minnesota Hockey", then Don Clark would then have to be the "Grandfather.