When hockey goalie John Brayton ’82 died unexpectedly during his senior year, teammate Duncan Dayton ’81 made a pledge to his family to keep his memory alive.
He and fellow hockey player, Bill Barrack ’81, recently did just that by establishing the Brayton Cup.
The trophy, unveiled Feb. 14, will be awarded annually to the men’s ice hockey team’s most valuable player. It honors Brayton, who inspired teammates with his flamboyant style and tenacity. He holds the school record for saves in a game (75 vs. Iona in 1979) and was the team’s MVP in the 1978-79 season.
“We’re hoping that this will preserve his memory and honor his great spirit,” Barrack said.
Dayton bought the cup in the early 1990s with eventual plans to create the award, but Dr. Cory Brayton, John’s sister, was the true catalyst for the project.
Cory recently contacted Barrack after she found his name while looking for information about her brother on Google. Inspired by their conversation about Brayton, Barrack then reached out to Dayton, and reminiscing about their old friend continued. They decided to move their plans for the cup forward.
“It was something we’d wanted to do for a long time, and at that point, the stars seemed aligned,” Dayton said.
Dayton and Barrack returned to campus, joining Cory and her father, Dr. Robert Brayton, for the unveiling ceremony which took place during the final regular season home game.
“It’s great to see Duncan and Bill honoring their late teammate,” said Fran Shields, the Katherine Wenk Christoffers ’45 Director of Athletics at the College, who previously coached Dayton, Barrack and Brayton. “John’s energy, talent, and fierce competitiveness will live on in the spirit of all of our former MVPs and those to follow.”
Names of the past 28 MVPs are now engraved on the silver trophy, and a new name will be added this spring.
Friends remember Brayton for his prowess on the ice, but they’ll also never forget his car – a Triumph TR6.
Fellow goalies, Barrack and Dayton, would pack their hockey equipment into that tiny car before heading to practice each day. Then Brayton, who Barrack said had a “flair for the extravagant,” would drive with the top down, no matter what the temperature.
“He was always up for anything,” Dayton said. “Nothing fazed him.”
When recently asked to describe his friend, Dayton thought of Pink Floyd, which seems fitting:
“Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond."