Howard “Howie” Alonzo Crins was one of the most recognizable names in the Rhode Island sports scene for over 50 years. Besides being an outstanding athlete he contributed to the growth of athletics in the state by both officiating and later coaching. He was a versatile athlete playing football, hockey and baseball at Providence Technical High School graduating in 1924. He prepped at New Hampton before entering the University of New Hampshire where he continued to play all three sports. In 1928-29 he transferred to Brown University and lettered in football and hockey in his final collegiate year.
Amateur hockey was growing with the opening of the new R.I. Auditorium in 1926. Crins immediately became a star forward for several hockey sextets. He played for the New England Telephone & Telegraph team in the Rhode Island Amateur Hockey League in 1929-30 and the East Side Hockey Club in the 1930 1st annual New England Open Amateur Hockey Tournament at the R.I. Auditorium. The following season he was part of the new All-Star Rhode Island squad called the Rhode Island Amateur Hockey Club coached by Curly Oden. The team was developed to establish an Olympic contender in that era. In 1931-32 the team was newly christened the Rhode Island Scarlets. Crins led them to the 1932 New England AAU Hockey Championship at the RI Auditorium. They would become the first Rhode Island team to compete for the National Amateur Championship at Madison Square Garden later that season. He played for the University of Maryland and led the team to the 1932-33 Baltimore Hockey League title. He also played for the Pawtucket Woodbines in the Inter-City Amateur Hockey League at the Rhode Island Auditorium.
Crins also started a long tenure officiating football, hockey and baseball in the Interscholastic League. He was an on-ice referee in Providence Reds home games at the R.I. Auditorium starting in 1941. He was past president of the R.I. Football Coaches Association. He coached the J.V. football team at Cranston High School. In the 1955-56 season, while in his 19th year of teaching physical education at Cranston High, he took over the hockey program. During his first year Cranston beat every team in the league at least once and finished third in the state playoffs. By 1960 Coach Crins guided his team to a tie for the Metropolitan title. In 1964 Crins's Thuderbolts won both the league and state championships but bowed to St. Dominics of Maine in the New England finals. However, in 1966 he got redemption when his Cranston East hockey team went through the season undefeated and then took the league, state, and New England championships (beating St. Dominics) finishing with a record of 29-1-1. Crins gave up high school coaching after the 1966 season and became assistant hockey coach at Brown University under Jim Fullerton for three years and then under Allan Soares. He also became head coach Roger Williams College in 1972-73. He was inducted into the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.