Massachusetts Hockey beloved board member Philip R. Zona, 81, passed away on Friday, July 9, 2021 after a brief battle with cancer.
He served for over 20 years on the Massachusetts Hockey Board of Directors, most recently for the past six years as a vice president.
Warmly regarded as Phil to those who knew him, he was a long time fixture in youth hockey world at Milton’s Max Ulin Rink, throughout South Shore Conference and Massachusetts Hockey.
In 2016, Phil was awarded the USA Hockey William Thayer Tutt Award. This the highest honor presented to a volunteer who, during many years of service, has displayed selfless dedication to the enhancement of ice hockey at the grassroots level in the United States.
Phil's commitment to providing players an opportunity to experience hockey inspired even the Phil Zona Milton Youth Hockey (MYH) Legacy Award for graduating seniors from MYH.
Before his passing, Phil was informed that he will be inducted into the upcoming 2021 Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder category. He was extremely grateful and humbled.
Phil was a dedicated leader of the Sportsmanship Award committee. This award has been able to honor and spotlight many Massachusetts Hockey players who celebrate the principles of good sportsmanship not only in sports, but in all of life’s endeavors.
Beloved husband of the late Susan (Manning) Zona for 29 years prior to her death. Loving father of Peter F. Zona, his girlfriend Jessica Townes, and her daughter Hailey, all of Martha's Vineyard, and Susan Elizabeth "Liz" Anderson and her husband Scott of Londonderry, NH. Proud Papa of Riley Anderson and Reagan Anderson. Brother of Catherine Foley and her husband Jack of Milton and Phyllis Moody and her husband Thomas of Attleboro. Phil is also survived by many treasured nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Pius X Church, 101 Wolcott Road, Milton, Saturday, July 17 at 10:00 AM. Relatives and friends are invited. Visiting Hours at Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Avenue, EAST MILTON SQUARE, Friday 4-7 PM. Interment Milton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Philip would like donations made to the Marc Susi Scholarship Fund - Morgan and Morgan, PC, 175 Derby Street, Suite 40, Hingham, MA 02043. To view the complete obituary and to send the Zona family a condolence message, please visit www.dolanfuneral.com
Below is a special dedication video and award description from when Phil received the Wm. Thayer Tutt Award in 2016.
For more than 40 years, Phil Zona has been a fixture on the Massachusetts youth hockey scene, volunteering in nearly every capacity and earning a reputation for dependability no matter the need. But above all, Zona is known for keeping his focus on the kids and relentlessly encouraging others to do the same. His story began not on the ice, but on summer’s baseball fields, where Zona coached kids in the mid-1970s. Lured by a friend who coached hockey at Quincy High School, Zona soon found himself volunteering during the winters, too, as a coach at Quincy. He was then blessed with a new generation of Zona skaters, Peter and Elizabeth, who made Milton’s Max Ulin Rink their second home. Zona didn’t coach his own children, but he happily set them on a path toward their own joyful pursuits, with Peter playing hockey and Elizabeth skating figures. Meanwhile, Zona flung himself into volunteering with Milton Youth Hockey. In the decades to follow, he served Milton, and also Massachusetts Hockey, in countless roles, culminating with his appointment as vice president in 2011, a title he still holds, in addition to serving as registrar, district director and treasurer. He also chairs the scholarship committee, helping ensure that hockey is truly a sport for all. Zona is a catalyst for girls hockey growth, too, serving as director of the South Shore Conference girls program since 2000. And while all those titles are meaningful, a job without an official title was Zona’s favorite. For two decades, he helped run the snack stand at Ulin Rink, connecting with countless children he encountered. Those interactions brought a brighter glow to Ulin, leaving young skaters with lessons and memories every bit as meaningful as those made on the ice.