The name Charles Millner has been synonymous with youth hockey on Long Island for the better part of 50 years.
Millner, who founded the Town of Oyster Bay Hockey League in 1966 and went on to start the Long Island Hockey League and serve on the board of the New York State Amateur Hockey Association, died on Nov. 26. He was 93.
“He was responsible for a lot of hockey being played on Long Island,” said Ralph Scannapieco, a Millner friend and hockey association colleague. “Charlie made the sport here into what it is today.”
Millner was born in Long Island City in 1923. He served in the Pacific Theater with the Navy during World War II as a combat medical corpsman.
After the war, he worked as a police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from the late 1950s through the early 1980s, attaining the rank of sergeant. He married his wife, Marion, in 1948 and lived in Plainview.
“Everything he did came from his belief in family, God and country,” said Scannapieco of Kings Park.
Playing roller hockey while growing up in Queens sparked his passion for the sport, said his daughter Donna Amato of Ridge.
“Hockey was a huge part of his life,” she said.
All of his work growing the game on the local level was done as a volunteer, said Joe Baudo, who was on the NYSAHA board with Millner in the 1990s. Baudo of upstate Tonawanda said the unpaid hours Millner worked exemplified his dedication to the sport.
“Everything he did was for the kids,” Baudo said. “He tried to do whatever was best for the players.”
Gary Millner of Little Rock, Arkansas, recalled his father speaking about association meetings. Whenever there were disagreements among the adults, “He’d always remind everyone that it was for the kids,” Gary said. “I always remember him saying that.”
Millner was also an avid fisherman and an author who wrote about a range of topics, including a 2006 book, “Torpedo Boat Odyssey: A True WWII Love Story.” He also wrote for magazines, including Canada’s Hockey News, and he edited his church’s newsletter.
When Millner founded the Long Island Hockey Association, there were only a handful of member teams, Scannapieco said. Today, 20 member organizations field teams across a range of age groups.
Millner served on New York’s hockey association state board as East Section president during the 1990s, a position that made him responsible for amateur hockey from Westchester to Suffolk County.
“Charlie was on top of everything,” Baudo said. “Charlie was good for our sport.”
Besides his wife of 68 years, son and daughter, Millner is survived by another daughter, Ruth Mahnken of Port Jefferson; and another son; Glenn of Mount Sinai; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.