Appreciation: Farewell to the Commissioner: Chelsea Youth Hockey Leader John Quatieri at 76

When Chelsea Youth Hockey was at its height in the 1980s, John Quatieri was king.

He was Chelsea sports royalty, admired by all, revered by the young hockey players he led, and entrusted by parents who knew their children were being taught to love hockey by a true gentleman who cared for each and every kid.

If John Quatieri were king, his four sons – John, Kevin, Brian, and Patrick, were princes then, so proud of their father who was volunteering countless hours of his time, rushing home from his job as a foreman at General Motors for family dinner and then making his way to the Cronin Rink in Revere for nightly practices.

Mr. Quatieri would also meticulously prepare a weekly “Chelsea Youth Hockey Report” for publication in then-daily Chelsea Record. He “did it all” for Chelsea Youth Hockey and he did it without fanfare or individual glory.

Mr. John Quatieri, former Chelsea Youth Hockey Commissioner and the beloved husband of Patricia (Donovan) Quatieri, died on June 7, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 76 years old.

Raising A Family in Chelsea

John and Patricia Quatieri raised their four children, John Quatieri, current deputy chief of the Chelsea Fire Department, Kevin Quatieri, Brian Quatieri, and Patrick Quatieri, at the family home on Garland Street. Mr. and Mrs. Quatieri also have nine grandchildren, including Deputy Chief Quatieri’s son, Nicholas Quatieri, who is a Chelsea firefighter.

The Quatieri boys all played in the Chelsea Youth Hockey program. His father took on the position of Commissioner, carrying on the esteemed tradition of another Chelsea youth sports legend, the late Robert F. Moschella Sr., who like Mr. Quatieri, also had four sons, Robert, Brian, Mark, and Scott, excel in hockey.

Mr. Quatieri had the company of men and women in Chelsea Youth Hockey who were devoted to the game, giants in the hockey community like John Zimini (who is still coaching at St. John’s Prep today), Vinnie Cosco, Dennis Kopaczynski, Bob Gregoire, Rick Bellitti, John Hoadley, Keith Houghton, Paul Dovich, Betty Fay, and others. 

John Quatieri remembered vividly how his father would leave the family home early in the morning to make the long drive to Framingham for work.

“He’d come home in the afternoon, he’d eat dinner, and then we’d all be right down at the rink every night – that’s how my brothers and I remember growing up,” recalled John. “Good memories.”

The Quatieri kids all continued their hockey careers at Chelsea High School.

“My father loved hockey – he was a huge Bruins fan,” said John. “He followed my kids playing hockey and watched my youngest son Anthony’s Connecticut College games on television and my parents would be at some of the games close to home.”

 What John Quatieri will remember most about his father – beyond his incredible work ethic, being a positive role model, and his devotion to his mother and the entire family – is how much joy and happiness he brought to the lives of so many children in Chelsea through hockey.

“And he loved it – he really enjoyed it,” said John. “That’s who my dad was, he gave 100 percent at whatever he did. He was very organized and loved being involved with Chelsea Youth Hockey.”

As Commissioner, Mr. Quatieri made sure the International Hockey Exchange Series with Candiac would be a much-anticipated event for CYH players.

“He loved going to Canada every year – that was huge,” said John. “We’d stay with a Canadian family up there. There were four of us playing and we’d end up with four Canadian players and then any extras would be staying with us as well.”

John said his parents enjoyed spending summers in Raymond, New Hampshire with their friends, notably Stanley “Moose Janiluinas and Barbara Janiluinas, and Jimmy Fay and Betty Fay.

John Zimini had a Special Connection to Mr. Quatieri

John Zimini was part of the Commissioner Quatieri inner hockey circle back in the 1970s and 1980s, serving as a CYH Commissioner himself and later as the Chelsea High School head hockey coach. He is still active as a coach in the powerful St. John’s Prep program.

 John Zimini is now a member of the family. He married former Chelsea High School basketball great Kristin Rosa. Kristin’s sister, Wendy Rosa, is married to Deputy Fire Chief John Quatieri.

“The loss of John Quatieri was very, very sad and way too quick,” said Zimini.

Zimini remembered first meeting Mr. Quatieri in the late 1970s.

“All four of the boys – John, Kevin, Brian, and Patrick – played in the program. Their father was on the board, he coached, and became Commissioner,” said Zimini.

“He was such a great guy – a quiet, unassuming guy, level-headed, that was always trying to do what’s best for the kids,” praised Zimini. “He was unbelievable with his own kids, but he was equally as good to the kids that he coached and the kids he mentored. I can’t say enough good things about the guy. He was always willing to help put in any way he could. He was always at the rink. He had great moral character and was always doing the right thing for the kids.”

John Zimini said he has enjoyed his relationship with the family. “I coached John at Chelsea High School and then I married Krissy and John T. is now my brother-in-law. So for the last 30 years, we were at either Tom Rosa’s house or Wendy and John’s house for Christmas eve – John Quatieri, Pat Quatieri, and a lot of the kids. The two families would meld together. We used to reminisce all the time about Chelsea Youth Hockey and all those days. And those were the days.”

John Zimini had the opportunity to coach Anthony Quatieri as a freshman at St. John’s Prep. Anthony went on to star for the 2015 Super Eight state championship team that won the title at the Boston Garden.

Through Anthony, the Quatieri family name remains symbolic of ice hockey excellence. Mr. John Quatieri started in all in Chelsea as Commissioner of a program that annually drew hundreds of kids to Cronin Rink.

On behalf all the lives you impacted in such a positive way, we say, “Thank You, Commissioner Quatieri.”

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