Lake Placid is grieving the sudden loss of a prominent member of the community. WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has this remembrance of Denny Allen.
R. Dennis Allen, known as Denny, was part of a Lake Placid sports dynasty. He died Friday at age 64.
His father managed the Olympic Arena before and during the 1980 Winter Olympics. At that time Denny managed the Olympic Speedskating Oval. When his father retired he took over as manager of the Olympic Center complex.
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President Jim McKenna: “Everybody associates Denny with certainly the Olympic Center and events in and around the Center and the Speedskating Oval and he was engaged in all of them.”
Denny Allen was considered an expert on ice and had worked with the International Skating Union during Olympic games. McKenna remembers Allen as a man who was deeply involved in the community including coaching the village’s ice hockey program. “Few people know that even events that were off the ORDA properties, I’m thinking of Ironman, I’m thinking of lacrosse, I’m thinking of a multitude of events, Denny was always there volunteering and helping and most recently he was a volunteer at the International Children’s Games. I had two boys that played hockey through college and he was their first coach, I think 4 and 5 and 6 years old. And because of him I used to always let him know that I was fortunate enough to see every hockey rink in the Northeast U.S. Trying to have somebody fill Denny’s shoes I just don’t think it’s going to be possible.”
Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall says Allen’s death was unexpected. “We lost a giant from our community. But Denny is one of those people when you think about really solid community people that have the best interest of the community always in their thoughts Denny would be at the head of the list. A big loss no question about that and Denny will be missed for a long time and he’ll be remembered by many, many people.”
Allen is a member of the Lake Placid Hall of Fame and held in such high regard that his funeral and a memorial will occur at the Olympic facilities he oversaw for decades. “The services themself are actually being held in the ’80 Herb Brooks Arena building and that’s where Denny spent most of his working career. That’s Friday morning at 10 o’clock. And then that evening on the oval where the speedskating facilities are there’s going to be an evening of skating dedicated to Denny’s memory and at 8 o’clock, I understand from the organizers, there’ll be a special ceremony recognizing Denny. And I expect both will be very well attended.”
McKenna says there is poignancy in holding the memorial at the speed skating oval. “Even though the whole Olympic complex was part of his reign here we have to go back to that Speedskating Oval and his presence there in 1980 as a young man and being responsible for the conditions of that ice that allowed Eric Heiden to win those five gold medals. So it’s very significant and very appropriate.”
Allen had retired from the Olympic Regional Development Authority in April 2018.
The M.B Clark Funeral Home website has more details:
"Denny is predeceased by Bob and Gloria Allen. He is survived by his beloved wife, Karen Cooper, his daughter Halina Allen Lyons and her husband Chas of Middlebury, Vermont and precious granddaughters, Aurelia and Beatrix; Karen's children Sasha, Josh (Alison) and Casey; his sister Darcy Allen Pattison and her husband Taylor of Northport, New York; his sister Deborah Allen Modrovsky and her husband, Albert of Park City, Utah and his brother David Breen Allen of Lake Placid, New York. Also survived by his nieces; Ashley, Sarah, Alison, Breen, Paige, and his nephew Daniel."