Summer Classic Women’s League Renamed for Clare Droesch

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 The St. Francis de Sales Summer Classic Women’s Open League is now known as the Clare Droesch Women’s Open League. On Monday, June 27, between the women’s games at the St. Francis Msgr. Bracken Gym, Keith “Bugsy” Goldberg officially dedicated the program to the late basketball star who got her start on the same courts.

Many remember Clare Droesch as an inspirational local basketball star who took her talents to great heights, and then shared them with future generations as a coach, all the while battling breast cancer for six years. Droesch passed away in May 2018 at age 36. Monday’s dedication came a just a few weeks after a ceremony to rename the block where Clare grew up, Beach 134th and Cronston Avenue, as “Clare Droesch Way.”

“A few weeks ago, we had a great ceremony on 134th and Cronston to rename that street as Clare Droesch Way and we’re going to bring this full circle tonight as we honor Clare here at the St. Francis Summer Classic,” Goldberg said. “Clare went on to great, great heights in her basketball career up at Boston College and afterwards, but it all started right here at St. Francis when she was a young girl like many of the young girls sitting on the stage wearing those shirts with number 15 on it, and we saw at an early point what a special talent she had.

“And lots of people start off with special talent but don’t make it where they should get to because talent is only one part of the equation. A lot of that is drive, determination and hard work. And Clare possessed those in the same quantities that she possessed her talent. Maybe not the hard work all the time,” Goldberg said, as laughs filled the gym. “So anyway, It’s wonderful to see in the women’s league, players that she played with, players that she played against and now some of the girls that are now young women that she coached, so it is great so see everyone in some way carrying on Clare’s legacy simply by playing in this league and so we felt that this was the right time to rename the St. Francis Summer Classic Women’s Open League as the Clare Droesch Women’s Open League.”

In honor of the occasion, Goldberg announced that the League’s t-shirts will now carry Clare’s name. He showed an example of one shirt, with Clare’s number, 15, and her favorite local bar, Jameson’s, and explained that Clare’s cousin Kristin Henschel would be wearing that shirt for the season, and Clare’s parents, Patty and George, would receive a replica to hold on to. Goldberg then welcomed Clare’s parents up to the stage to accept the t-shirt, which they handed off the Henschel before her team played in the next game.

By Katie McFadden

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