Alongside the entire Northeast Ohio hockey community, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters grieve the loss of Monsters Assistant Equipment Manager and Cleveland hockey icon Phil Simon, after Simon, surrounded by his family, passed away today at the age of 83 following a six-year battle with leukemia.
Simon’s participation in Cleveland hockey dates back to the late 1940’s when Simon, raised just a few blocks from the old Cleveland Arena on Euclid Avenue, began serving as a stick boy for the AHL’s Cleveland Barons and eventually filled roles including visiting locker room attendant, equipment assistant, goal judge and Assistant Equipment Manager for several Cleveland teams, including the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks and the Monsters.
In 60-plus years of service to the Cleveland hockey community, Simon was beloved by coaches, players, organizational staffers and fans alike. Current Monsters captain Ryan Craig, quoted in a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, says Simon’s presence was cherished by him and his teammates. “Phil is one of those guys…he is Cleveland hockey,” Craig said. “Most of the guys in this room have known him for eight months, but it feels like forever. He’s made that kind of impact on us.”
A lifelong Cleveland resident, Simon is survived by his wife of 59 years, Rita, four children, Chris, Phillip, Jeff and Susan, and four grandchildren.