1937 - 2013
Bill Sisson passed away Saturday, October 12 in Lubbock, Texas, after a lengthy illness which debilitated the strength of an otherwise tireless individual in his private life as well as a participant and official of USA Roller Sports. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Janice, three children, five grandchildren, two great-granddaughters and one great-grandson.
Bill Sisson is without question the heart and soul of Ball Roller Hockey in the United States. He was born into a hard working family of bricklayers from Indiana in November of 1937. The Sisson family moved to Lubbock, Texas, when Bill was a young boy. He, along with this brothers Ed, David, Dickie and Gary, began playing hockey in his teens with members of the Black family who owned the Palace Rink in Lubbock. They formed the Rolling Ghosts team to play in the first USARS National Roller Hockey Championship taking place in 1961, and won the Senior (Ball Hockey Gold Division) eight out of the first twelve National Championships. As player, coach, referee or meet manager, Bill Sisson played a part in every National Championship since 1961.
Bill Sisson has led and often personally financed the presence of USA Senior and Junior Division Rink Hockey Teams to compete around the world in international hockey tournaments and World Championships sanctioned by the International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS). Originally, identified in French as the Internationale de Patinage a Roulettes, FIRS was founded in 1924 to conduct roller hockey competitions between the few national federations of Europe that were already engaged in such competitions on an informal basis. Six nations participated in the first "World Championships" held in Stuttgart, Germany in 1936. The competitions were suspended during the years of World War II, and resumed after its conclusion. The first time a USA team was invited to participate was 1966, and Bill Sisson was a player on that team.
Bill Sisson was a USARS member for 51 years. He was a world class FIRS hockey referee for 33 years and officiated in World Championships eight times and the Pan American Games twice. He has been Chairman of the USARS Ball Hockey Committee for 28 years, has been a member of the USARS Board of Directors for nearly three decades. At the time of his death, Bill was the USARS Corporate Treasurer, chaired the USARS Finance Committee, and also served as a member of the USARS Executive Committee.
Bill Sisson was the Meet Director for the Ball Hockey National Championships for more than 25 years. He has been the USA World Team Manager 12 times. Bill served on the Executive Committee of FIRS International Ball Hockey Committee as Vice President and a four-year term as President of the FIRS International Hockey Referees Commission. In recognition for his contributions to the sport of roller skating, Bill Sisson received the Shattuck Sportsmanship award in 1991, was installed in the USARS Distinguished Service Hall of Fame in 1996 and in 1998 was made a USARS Life Member. He was a recipient of the Budd Van Roekel Award and designated as an Elite Hockey Coach.
Bill Sisson headed his own successful family business as a building and cement contractor, handling major commercial projects. Sisson was the President of a Lubbock bank. When asked why he took on all of these volunteer positions for his sport, Bill would shrug his shoulders, look you in the eye and say, “I guess somebody had to do it.” No one has ever been interested in replacing him, since Bill Sisson has consistently brought intelligence, pragmatism and good sportsmanship to all these tasks. And now that he leaves our presence, it will certainly be nearly impossible to find any one person able to fill his shoes.