skip navigation

Joe Riley

BIRTHPLACE: Medford, Mass.

BORN: December 14, 1923

DIED: October 25, 1976

TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: University of Illinois, Dartmouth College, U.S. Olympic Team



Joe Riley grew up in Medford, Mass., playing hockey with his two older future Hall of Fame brothers, Jack and Bill. At Medford High School, Joe twice led the team in scoring while twice being named to the All-Scholastic squad. In addition, he was also the top scorer in the Greater Boston Interscholastic Hockey League, and was chosen for the GBI All-Star Team.

Following high school, Riley attended the University of Illinois where he played freshman hockey for Hall of Fame coach Vic Heyliger. Riley's career was interrupted by World War II military service and when he returned from Europe he transferred to Dartmouth College, where he played two seasons.

At Dartmouth, playing for Hall of Fame coach Eddie Jeremiah, Riley set the record for most goals in a season in his senior year. Playing two varsity seasons, Riley appeared in 47 games and netted 67 goals and 49 assists for the Big Green, an average of 2.5 points per game. He ranked 4th all-time for Dartmouth goal scorers and was tied for 12th in total points after just two seasons. Riley was named to the All New England Team, the All-America Team and the NCAA All-Tournament team during his tenure in Hanover, N.H. In addition to being named to the All Arena College Hockey Team, he received All-American honors in 1949, and was also named as the Outstanding Player in the Pentagonal League (later known as the Eastern College Athletic Conference). While in college Riley was also chosen to serve on the AAU Olympic Team in 1948 and went on to represent his country at the Winter Games that year in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

While at Dartmouth, Riley teamed up with his brother Bill and Cliff Harrison to become the most prolific scoring line in collegiate history with 209 points in 23 contests. This powerhouse took Dartmouth to the NCAA National Finals both years that Riley was there. He earned Most Valuable Player of the tournament honors in 1948 to boot.

Riley was drafted by the Boston Bruins, but he decided to further his education and went on to earn a law degree in 1952 from Georgetown University. He then worked as an attorney for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., and later returned to the Boston area where he set up a practice as a sports agent and stockbrocker. Joe and his wife Elizabeth went on to raise four children: Lyn, Joseph Jr., Lizanne and Lisa.