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Interesting Fact

Posted Monday, November 16, 2009 by Zach Brown

Randazzo, Pilla, Inducted into Prep Hall of Fame

Frank Randazzo (’88), Pat Pilla (’85) and Tom Beck, and Will Beck ('89) captured the most alumni votes, earning their way into the Fordham Prep Hockey Hall of Fame following ceremonies at the annual reunion game held at the Brewster Ice Arena on June 2, 2007.

Randazzo, a standout player for the Prep from 1985 – 88 and team coach, earned the nickname the "Tomahawk Chop" for his sportsman-like play and clean adherence to the rules of the game (giggle). Fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Beck, remembered Randazzo as a promising player and an even more promising scholar. “I gave Frank a dictionary for his graduation gift so he could be one of the more articulate individuals in the Bronx,” said Beck. Randazzo currently teaches math at the Prep and, after lacing up the skates for the reunion game, managed to instill both fear and respect from his opponents. Apparently, the Tomahawk Chop is still sharp! Way to go, Frank!

Pilla was an All-Star player for the Prep from 1982-85 and a team coach during the “transformation” years. Pilla was as skillful a player on the ice—skating and scoring—as he was a coach—teaching novice players the basics. Pilla has amassed an impressive list of personal accomplishments that have contributed positively to Prep hockey but none, probably, is more extraordinary than his resourceful ability to, um, “acquire” a keepsake that was bolted to the roof of a car using nothing more than his imagination, determination and a plastic spork (not a typo…a spork is a combo fork and spoon). This imaginative demonstration of “Old School Grit” during a stint at a summer hockey camp in Montreal is both legendary and worthy of Hall of Fame induction on its own.

It should come as no surprise that Pilla was assisted by fellow Hall of Fame inductees, Charlie (’87) and Willie Beck (’89). The now-famous keepsake, a distinctive rooftop display for cars delivering St. Hubert’s rotisserie chicken (see picture), is now the official Fordham Prep Hockey Alumni Cup. Merci, Quebec et St. Hubert’s chicken rotisserie restaurants.

Tom Beck is a longtime patron and mentor of Prep hockey (as well as the father of Charlie and Willie). Beck contributed to Prep hockey through his personal commitment. Fellow Hall of Famer John Murphy (’77) recalled a dramatic story illustrating Beck’s superior, almost magical, abilities when he recounted a team trip to Montreal. “Beck missed the bus due to work commitments so he drove himself to Montreal and, upon entering the hotel, managed to simultaneously bust a few misguided players for trying to bring soda pop (really, soda pop) into the hotel,” said Murphy. But like most humans, Beck’s beginnings were humble. In fact, in the “early days” when performing referee duties he was chastised for overzealous penalty calls and urged by Coach Joe Abbatine to "let the boys play". But it was Coach Joe who later said of Beck: "Nobody is more deserving". Beck’s younger son, Willie (clearly experiencing a John Denver-like “natural high” following the birth of his daughter) admitted that his father was a "genius" for helping wayward or needy kids through high school and then college. Clearly overcome with emotion, Beck thanked everyone for the auspicious honor. Collecting himself (quickly), Beck then noted that the last-minute notification of his Hall of Fame induction would lead to a $5,000 flight from Arizona to NY and wondered aloud, "why couldn't you do this last year when I was living locally?” What a kidder!

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