Donald M. Clark was born on May 25, 1915 in Kensal, ND, the son of John and Birdie Clark. He grew up in Faribault and became interested in athletics at an early age. He played amateur baseball and hockey in southern Minnesota and in the Twin Cities area. One of his fondest memories included playing against Ted Williams, a rising star of the American Association's Minneapolis Millers, in the late 1930's.
After serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps and living in the Salinas Valley of California for a year, Clark graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1941 with a degree in dairy science. For 20 years he was employed by the Twin Cities Milk Producer's Association. He was one of the founders and first secretary of the Minnesota Dairy Technology Society. From 1961 until his retirement in 1980, Clark was lab supervisor at Stella Cheese in Cumberland, WI.
In 1947, with Robert Ridder and Everett "Buck" Riley, Clark found the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association. He served as an officer of that organization through 1988, as president, secretary-treasurer and registrar. Between 1947 and 1998, the number of registered teams grew from 45 to nearly 4,000, and the number of indoor Minnesota ice arenas increased from 13 to more than 220. In 1952, Clark organized a statewide Bantam tournament for youth hockey in Minnesota, the first such event in the nation.
Clark was the manager of the 1958 U.S. National hockey team, the first United States sports team ever to visit the Soviet Union. In 1959-60 he managed the Green Bay Bobcats to the championship of the U.S. Hockey League. From 1958 to 1978, he served as vice president of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States and for many years was a member of the U.S. Olympic Hockey committee. Until the time of his death, Clark remained active in hockey as director emeritus of AHAUS and the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association.
For several years after its inception in 1973, Clark served as president of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, and with his knowledge of hockey history and memorabilia provided substantially to its foundation. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Among his many honors was the prestigious National Hockey League Lester Patrick Award awarded to Donald in 1975. In recent years, he was presented with the Heritage Award of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Maroosh Award by the Minnesota North Stars. In 1996, he was honored by the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association.
Clark gained national recognition as a hockey historian and was a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica on the history of international hockey. He also provided information and photographs and contributed articles to numerous publications.
In 1943, he was married to Harriet Nelson who survives him along with three sons, Mark of Cumberland, WI, Tom of St. Paul and John (Marilyn) of Inver Grove Heights.
Donald M. Clark, 83, died on Monday, May 17, 1999 at his home in Cumberland, WI. He was preceded in death by one sister, Dorothy. Posthumously, in 2000, Minnesota Hockey established the prestigious Don Clark Award which is presented in Mr. Clarks honor to an individual by Minnesota Hockey, who over a period of many years has been dedicated to the grassroots growth and development of youth hockey in Minnesota. The ideal candidate has involuntary and unselfishly given him, or herself to make the sport of hockey better by providing opportunities for youth to play and enjoy the game of hockey. The Vice President of Hockey Operations presents the award at the Minnesota Hockey Annual Meeting in the spring.
|2000||Everett (Buck) Riley||International Falls|
|2002||Robert (Bob) Utecht||Bloomington|
|2004||Ted Brill||Grand Rapids|
|2005||Wally Odell||Elk River|
|2009||Gerry Brown||St. Louis Park|
|2010||Moose Younghans||St. Paul|