By Mike D’Abate
On Sunday, November 11, 2018, The Sunday Night Men’s Hockey League of Smithfield bestowed a heartwarming and well-deserved honor upon one of its greatest participants.
The late Mike Phayre, who passed away in November 2017 after a brave battle with leukemia, had his #5 jersey posthumously retired during an evening ceremony at the Smithfield Ice Rink. Phayre had played in the League for over 20 years. He had also played in the Thursday Night Hockey League at Brown University. He amassed nearly 1000 goals during his tenure. However, the memories and smiles Phayre created in that time is the legacy of which he would truly be most proud.
Phayre graduated from LaSalle Academy in 1976, and Norwich University in 1980. He had been a manager for L.Sweet Lumber for 30 years. In addition, he stayed active in the Smithfield recreation community, including playing for the Smithfield Men’s Softball League. However, hockey always remained his true passion. In kind, the four-team League (which league president Thomas Winfield describes as a ‘Night on the Town…Hockey Style’) will rename the team for which he proudly played, as “Phayre’s Flyers.”
Following the ceremony, Mike’s widow, Barbara eloquently reflected on this emotional night, as well as the pride which her husband would have felt receiving such an honor:
“It was a great night shared with family and friends. I know that Mike would be so honored and proud. We are grateful to Tom Winfield, Greg Breiner and all of the guys in the Sunday night league for their kindness. Mike loved them all and he loved to win too! Go Phayre’s Flyers!”
It is hard to imagine a more fitting and poignant tribute to a more deserving man.