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In 1992, Pirelli Veterans Arena in Franklin became FMC’s first rink, starting a 25 year and 24 rink legacy.
The rink itself has been part of the community of Franklin since 1973. Arena Manager Bruce Bertoni has long since been a facet of the rink, starting his career there in 1978. For close to 40 years he has helped create a great environment for adults and children to learn to skate, join us for public skating or enjoy a hockey game. He’s also been around to see many changes for the arena, including a brand new ammonia-based compressor system installed just last year.
Several teams call Pirelli Veterans Arena their home, including our own Norfolk County Hawks, Medway, Bellingham, Medfield, Tri-County, the Franklin girls team, not to mention the the reigning, and defending Hockomock League Champions the Franklin High School Panthers. They have been league champions since 2012!
In 2008, former Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill to rename the arena Robert R. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink. It’s named after Staff sergeant Robert R. Pirelli, a soldier from Franklin that died in combat in Iraq. Prior to his military career, Pirelli was 1996 graduated from Franklin High. While being only one of two seniors awarded the Booster Club scholarship, Robert was a member of the school’s varsity hockey team.
“He grew up playing hockey and was on the varsity hockey team. He was an avid hockey player, and his dad was a hockey coach. He was an amazing guy, quite a young man,” said Dick O’Conner, spokesman for the state representative of Franklin, MA.
In 2003, Pirelli joined the military as well as becoming a Green Beret with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based out of Fort Carson, Colorado. While in the military, Robert received many accommodations such as two Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Service Forces Badge, a posthumous Medal of Valor and much more.
Robert R. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink has a historic past, but with a bright future on the horizon more historic moments will be created in the rink.