For today's current players, Grady's memory has not only survived, it’s still a vibrant part of the team’s culture.
When asked what he knew about Shawn Grady, Teesdale said, “I didn’t meet Shawn, but Shawn is someone who you look up to. Hearing the stories, you know what he’s all about. … It’s an honor. It’s really big to be claiming something after somebody like him.”
While the director’s chair is often given to one of the top performers on the stat sheets, those responsible for naming its recipients will tell you that courage and competitiveness on and off the ice ranks highest in their selection criteria.
Because Grady was a three-sport athlete, director’s chairs are also given out through Clinton’s football and baseball teams. But for local sports in the Mohawk Valley, hockey has become synonymous with Shawn Grady.
The concept of giving a chair, as opposed to a trophy or plaque or some other standard form of memorabilia, is a tradition that originates with the Hamilton College men’s hockey program. Shawn Grady’s father, Phil Grady, served as head coach of the Hamilton program for more than 20 years. During that tenure, he began presenting each graduating senior with a chair.
In a previous interview, Brian Grady—Shawn Grady’s teammate and younger brother by four years—explained that when it came time to decide what type of award to give players in Shawn’s memory, the director's chair just made sense.
“It’s amazing to think about how much time has passed and how many kids have been recognized with that honor,” said Brian Grady. “For my family, it’s a great tribute to a lost brother and a lost son.”
Stepping back, the list of award recipients also serves as a timeline of Clinton hockey history. It unifies both the teams and the distinguished members of each season’s alumni, many of whom continue to live locally and contribute to the community.