LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School (LHS) ice hockey alumnus Donald Julich, Class of 1982, will be one of only 11 New Jersey players—either active or retired—to be inducted to the 2018 New Jersey High School (NJ HS) Hockey Hall of Fame on April 15.
Julich, now a Whippany resident, led the state in scoring for two-consecutive seasons in 1981 (44-45-89) and 1982 (40-51-91). During his four years at LHS, the hockey team clinched two state championships and the 1980 team was inducted into the NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.
Friends, family and former teammates will join Julich in April when he is honored for his accomplishments on the ice during an induction ceremony at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.
“If you look at the other schools—Delbarton, Pingry, Brick—some of them have eight or nine inductees already,” he said. “I’ll be the second [Livingston] player in history and that is an honor.”
Julich was a top runner for the NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016, but missed the cut by one vote, he said. This year, Julich joins 2010 inductee Joe Tracy (player) and 2012 inductee Ed Purdy (coach) in the NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame.
Purdy was the head coach of the 1980 hockey team, which finished the season at 19-6-1 and won the NJSIAA State Ice Hockey Championship against a heavily favored Brick team, 1-0, in overtime. Tracy (Hall of Fame Class of 2010) scored the winning goal, which became one of 190 goals for LHS that season.
“Our team was a powerhouse and I don’t think we got the recognition that we deserved,” said Julich. “After we graduated, [Livingston] lost 14 seniors and went from a powerhouse A-division team to 15 years of B division. It almost went defunct before Dave Conklin brought it back. Now they’re starting to get back to that high-competitive level.”
Julich said he hopes his induction will be a highlight for the improving LHS ice hockey program and that the program will continue to thrive.
Since his own graduation, Julich has continued his love for hockey in the form of coaching for more than 20 years and playing at a recreational level. He said he was extremely proud to have coached his oldest daughter, Nicole, for 10 years before she went on to play competitive ice hockey in New England.
He also enjoyed sharing the ice with the Philadelphia Flyers alumni team for eight years.
“I was one of the only non-Flyer draft picks ever to make the alumni team,” he said. “I traveled to Finland, Russia, all over the United States, played charity games and it was very gratifying to wear that Flyers uniform.”
The NJ HS Hall of Fame, established in 2009, honors the contributions and accomplishments of players, coaches, teams and contributors to New Jersey high school ice hockey. According to the website, the inductees are typically individuals who “are worthy of recognition as examples for others to emulate.”
The website also states that the honor is intended to serve as a symbol of appreciation of the “excellence, honor and devotion” displayed by the inductees.
Candidates chosen to join the Hall of Fame have all received unanimous approval from the selection committee.
To learn more about the NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame, click HERE.