Archie S. Burton II was considered among the biggest hockey supporters in the Mohawk Valley.
“He was a good ambassador for the area,” said close friend Jack Kane, the former Clinton Comets captain. “He did a lot for a lot of people that probably didn’t get recognized. He didn’t want you to know that he did something for you.”
Burton, a Sudbury, Ontario, native who relocated to the area in 1955 for his professional hockey career with the Comets, died Jan. 2. He was 89.
Obituary: Archie S. Burton II, 89
He remained in the area after meeting his future wife, Regina McManus, a Clinton native. The couple married July 27, 1957, in Clinton. Regina died in 2018.
Burton was among the former Clinton players who frequently attended Utica Comets games in recent years.
Before Friday’s game, the Comets organization honored him with a moment of silence along with a wreath and flowers featuring a picture of Burton. The team also placed a sticker on the back of their helmets with Burton’s number 12 and the years of his life.
Kane, who was at the game with Burton’s sons Andrew and Archie Jr., appreciated seeing Burton honored by the team and fans.
“They had a standing ovation. They had pictures of him. It went over well,” Kane said. “That was neat.”
Burton played for Clinton — which became a perennial power as a member of the Eastern Hockey League — for three seasons from 1955 to 1958. He appeared in 187 games and totaled 74 goals and 112 assists for 186 points. After three seasons he was traded, though he retired so he could remain in the area with his wife and family.
Burton told the Observer-Dispatch in 2013 he remembered the fans as dedicated and passionate.
"They thought it was great hockey," Burton said at the time. "The arena was wide open — just fence at the ends — and the fans were right in the game. And they were great to us around town."
Burton did return to the ice to play for a short time with the Rome-based Copper City Chiefs in the mid-1970s. The team played in the New York Amateur Hockey League. It was then that Burton and Kane were teammates for the first time.
“He was a very good hockey player. He played his position very well,” Kane said. “He was very steady. He could score goals. He can handle himself very well on the ice. He didn’t back down. He was pretty good with the stick, I’ll tell you that much.”
After ending his playing days, Burton managed a sporting goods store called the New Hartford Sports Center for many years, along with Kane.
The pair were good friends for more than 60 years, and their families vacationed together, Kane said.
“He was just a really good, down-to-earth person,” Kane said. “He was very fair. He treated everyone pretty equal. He was one of those people that you liked to be with.”
The pair often played golf together, Kane said. According to his obituary, Burton enjoyed playing golf at the Skenandoa Club where Burton was a member and enjoyed sailing at the Otsego Sailing Club in Cooperstown.
In addition to his sons, Burton is survived by his grandchildren Andrew Jr. and Allyson and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's Church in Clinton.
Ben Birnell is a sports reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email Ben Birnell at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Archie S. Burton II, former Clinton Comets forward, remembered for personality, play