,,,,       The Boston Celtics at the Draper Gym

    If you weren't living in Hopedale in the 1950s, you might think I'm making up this
    story. How could that happen? Perhaps you're thinking that the next thing I'm going to
    tell you in this way-out tale is that the tickets were free. Actually, the tickets were free.
    Here's how it happened, as I recall. The NBA was still fairly new at that time, didn't fill
    the Garden regularly, as the Bruins did, and would do things to gain fans that would
    never happen now. The Dr. John Cicchetti family, who lived on Mendon Street in
    Hopedale, had a summer home at the Cape. It was next to the home of Walter Brown,
    owner of the Celtics. Dr. Cicchetti arranged with Brown to have the Celtics play in the
    new Draper Gym. They played here in 1956 and again in 1957. Below are Milford Daily
    News articles on both of the games.

                                  Boston Celtics Delight Fans
                                    At Ball Game in Hopedale

                                                        Crowd of 500 Attends Clinic
                                                     And Contest; Cousy, Loscutoff
                                                      Lead Scorers With 32 Apiece

    HOPEDALE - The Boston Celtics put on a combination clinic and ball game last night at the Draper
    Memorial gym before and enthusiastic capacity crowd of 500 fans.

    From the moment that Bill Summers, American League umpire, tossed up the opening ball, the
    Celtics were the crowd-appealing team that owner Walter Brown expects will bring an N.B.A. title to

    The famous, fantastic, and fabulous Bob Cousy put on one of his amazing exhibitions of point
    scoring with 32 points and showed local fans why he is the idol of fans all over the country. "Jungle
    Jim" Luscutoff matched the output of "The Cooz" in leading the Greens to a 102-92 victory over the

    The Celtics put on a spirited ballgame as they prepared for their opening N.B.A. tussle with the
    Knicks in New York next Saturday night. But the fans were hanging on every move that Cousy made
    as he led the Celtics through a clinic on offense and defense and showed the gasping spectators
    some of his patented behind-the-back passes and deft hand-offs.

    The players were divided into two clubs that hustled throughout the night as they poured through 194
    points in a 40-minute thrill packed game. Some of the familiar faces in the lineup showed their
    offensive abilities as Bill Sharman poured through 21 points with his soft one hander from outside
    the key and big Jack Nichols worked effectively from under the boards with 22.

    Two former Holy Cross teammates, Tom Heinsohn and Togo Palazzi were the same offensive
    scorers local followers have enjoyed in the past years as they dunked a combined total of 32 points
    through the hoop and showed great hustle for the colorful Celtics

    The winning Green team led throughout the contest, posting a half time lead of 47-42. In the second
    half, Loscutoff and Cousy combined for 25 and 16 points to seal the verdict. One of Cousy's buckets
    was a long one hander that put the Greens over the century mark and gave local followers an idea of
    the scoring show that the Pros offer the fans in their league games.

    Johnny Silk, former Boston College star, provided the only bad note when he required two stitches to
    close a cut eyelid as the handed off to Tom Heinsohn and bounced off a stray elbow early in the third
    quarter. He was treated by Dr. John Cicchetti, a spectator.

    The officials were Don Wellman and Irving Portnoy, who recently joined the traveling Celtics after
    officiating the last 13 years in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Herbert (Archie) Picard introduced the players to the crowd and politely thanked Dr. Cicchetti for
    helping to bring the Celtics to Hopedale. Milford Daily News, October 25, 1956.

                                                   Youngsters Received Biggest
                                               Thrills in Watching Celtics

    HOPEDALE - At least one youngster "floated" home from the Draper Memorial Gym last night.

     "I almost got his autograph," piped up the little tyke, staring wide-eyed and pointing towards Jim
    Loscutoff as the Boston Celtic's forward raced down the court during an intra-squad game. The lad
    beamed as he leaned on the scoring table. "Did'ja see him touch me?" he said. "And I touched him,

    The youngster's excitement exemplified the wonderment of so many boys who cheered the Celtics
    here and later besieged them for autographs. The players seemed happy to oblige. Loscutoff was
    the particular idol of the little fellow at the scoring table. A few minutes later the brawny Californian
    almost barreled into a bunch of youngsters following a drive on the basket.

    Our little guy reached up and patted him on the back. Loscutoff turned momentarily, smiled, and
    patted the youngster on the head. It was like getting a new bicycle. (P.S. The boy later got Jim's
    autograph, too.)

    With the kids the Celtics were "real great guys." With the adults they were "regular Joes." Tommy
    Heinsohn was mobbed by young autograph seekers when walking over to a corner to pose for a
    shot. The cameraman snapped a better picture than he expected, with Heinsohn surrounded by
    boys. The Celtics spent some time signing autographs as they left the building. They were amiable
    and polite. Observers were impressed.

    With less than a minute of play remaining, a sportswriter leaned over and shouted, "Take a shot for
    your 30th point and give us something to write about."  No one knows if Cousy heard the newsman,
    but he promptly pushed a long shop that swished through.

    "Thanks," laughed the scribe.

    While kidding each other at times, the Celtics were serious throughout the scrimmage. It was a
    good workout for them and a good show for the fans.

    The entire squad was entertained by the Draper Corporation at a luncheon at the Larches after the
    game. Wives of the players, plant executives and newsmen were guests. Milford Daily News,
    October 25, 1956.

    Click here for more on the Celtics 1956-57 season.

                                         Boston Celtics And Cousy Delight
                                          Over 500 Spectators In Hopedale

                                                                           Drill, Intra-Squad
                                                                    Game Feature Program

    HOPEDALE -The Boston Celtics came, saw and conquered the hearts of over 500 applauding
    spectators last night in a two-hour practice drill and intra-squad game at Draper Memorial Gym.

    The overflow crowd was impressed by the fancy capers of the National Basketball Association
    champions, who put on another good show. It was the Celtics second annual appearance here. In the
    intra-squad game, consisting of four eight-minute periods, Bob Cousy's team rallied to defeat Bill
    Russell's club 84-78.

    Area fans got their first close-range look at Celtics' Coach Red Auerbach, who missed last year's trip
    here because of a meeting in New York. Auerbach introduced each player at the start of the program
    and sent the squad through plays. The Celts then played an intra-squad game and showed the wares
    they will be peddling in the coming NBA race.

    They were good wares that delighted the large assemblage. Cousy, the incomparable, flashed some
    of the form that had sportswriters and fans agog throughout the country last year. The former Holy
    Cross whiz used his patented behind-the-back dribble and awed the crowd with some nifty passes -
    especially when a pass seemed impossible. The fans also got a charge out of big Bill Russell who
    jammed the ball into the basket and blocked some shots.

    In the final summary Arnie Risen and Tommy Heinsohn led the winners with 21 and 20 points
    respectively. Lou Tsioropoulos of the losers was high scorer of the night with 22.
    Conspicuously missing was Dick Hemric, who has been dropped by the Celtics although no official
    announcement has yet been made.

    Auerbach and the11-man squad were treated to a luncheon at the Larches after the program.

    Responsible for bringing the Celtics to Hopedale were Dr. John R. Cicchetti, Draper Corporation
    officials and Walter Brown, owner of the team and president of Boston Garden.

    Exactly 500 tickets were distributed for the program, but many fans without tickets were admitted after
    the intra-squad game got underway. Milford Daily News, October 17, 1957.

    Click here for more on the Celtics 1957-58 season.

Peg Sweeney's Memories of the Celtics Visit               The Draper Gym, 1955  

Undefeated HHS basketball team of 1956-57      Sports, Park and Pond Menu            

Sox Play Yanks in Douglas                                HOME     

Boston Celtics, 1956 - 1957

Boston Celtics Delight Fans
At Ball Game in Hopedale

Crowd of 500 Attends Clinic
And Contest; Cousy, Loscutoff
Lead Scorers With 32 Apiece

Thanks to Dick Grady for sending this article.

    Above - Bob Cousy signing an autograph.

    Below - Bill Russell.

    Both photos taken at the Draper Gym.

    The two photos above were sent by Dave Boccasile, who said they were from his
    friend, Ed Condon.

    From Bob Redden - Top photo left to right: Harvey Cohn, trainer, Lou Tsioropoulos,
    #29, Bill Sharman, #21, Cousy, signing, #14, and Dr. John Cicchetti, # Great Guy.

    Lower photo, left to right: Bill Russell, smoking #6, Dr. John Cicchetti, Great Guy, as
    previously noted, smoking.  The record shows that he eventually  quit smoking.

    Bob adds, "Validity of players' names is not guaranteed."

    A while after sending the pictures above, Dave came
    up with six more from the big event. Here they are.

    As I recall, the reason Russell wasn't with the team
    in Hopedale was because he was on the U.S.
    Olympic basketball team in Melbourne. He didn't
    get back to play with the Celtics until December.