John Stephenson was a familiar sight behind the players’ bench and on the ice during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, at the regal Eddie Bush Memorial Arena on Hurontario Street.
For twenty-six winter seasons, Stephenson coached the fundamentals of hockey to Collingwood’s youngest players. Thousands of hours of dedication and commitment to his teams and the Collingwood Minor Hockey Association were recognized with a 1986 Special Award of Merit, presented in recognition of his generous donation of time and knowledge and promoting minor hockey for the benefit of kids from Collingwood and surrounding area.
Stephenson’s hockey coaching career started in 1960 with a Collingwood local league team. He remained as head coach of local league teams before starting in the ‘rep’ loop in 1967. He remained in rep hockey until 1986. His teams earned international, provincial, regional, and league championships.
The 1972-73 McKean and MacLean Major Novice ‘A’s were a powerhouse team with a stellar list of accomplishments and tournament victories. The Novices were North American and Regional Silver Stick Champions, and won the league title, the Peterborough Invitational, Regional Little NHL, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association championship, and the Georgian Bays. They were also provincial Little NHL finalists.
Stephenson was a Level 2-certified coach through the auspices of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s National Program. He was a key organizer and founder of Collingwood Minor Hockey’s annual Huronia Tournament parade of teams.
During summer months, Stephenson hit the baseball diamond as a Collingwood Baseball manager and Collingwood Slo-Pitch player and manager. He was the 1992 Legionnaire of the Year, receiving the John MacPherson Memorial Award and has worked 30 years at the Collingwood Legion, where he is a Life Member.
On October 22, 2016, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomed John Stephenson as an enshrined member of Collingwood’s sporting history.
Peter Kemp’s ‘field of dreams’ was built in the 1970s with the formation of the upstart Georgian Bay and District Slo Pitch League, one of the province’s oldest and most established slo-pitch organizations. Along with Collingwood Sports Hall of Famer Ron Ralph, he helped construct the foundation for slo pitch in the community and served as an early and dedicated president of the league.
The 72-year-old Toronto-born dentist planted roots in Collingwood during the 1960s and since then has influenced multiple sports –- in addition to slo pitch –- including golf, hockey, and curling as a competitor, leader, and key organizer. He competed provincially and won Ontario Slo Pitch crowns several times as a member of Canadian Mist and Christie’s squads. He competed in the Ontario Winter Games on four occasions. Locally, ‘Kemper’ was active in the popular Summerfest tournaments held each year to celebrate the sport of slo pitch.
An avid golfer, Kemp was President of the Blue Mountain Golf and Country Club in 1974 and during the late ‘70s was deeply involved in the organization’s Junior Development Program. He captained the Blue Mountain Golf and Country Club’s Senior Men’s Division for seven years.
During cold Georgian Bay winters on the ice indoors, Kemp’s other sports loves were hockey and curling. As a lifelong hockey player, he was a central figure in the development of old timers hockey in Collingwood and organized at least 10 Beaver Lumber Tournaments.
Currently, Kemp is a member of the Collingwood Curling Club, where he instructs Juniors, as well as new and existing adult curlers.
Courtesy of Roger Hannon
This evening, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Peter Kemp as an enshrined member of Collingwood’s sporting history.
The incredible growth and overall athlete success of Nordic skiing in the Collingwood region inevitably can be traced to the involvement of the Sinclair family in Duntroon.
On Saturday, October 25, 2014, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame proudly welcomed Larry Sinclair – Builder to join his father Jim, as an enshrined member.
As a young man, Larry competed on the provincial and national level and parlayed his experience and success into a highly respected coach and mentor to young skiers.
During the 1980’s, Larry coached the Cdn. Junior team travelling to Finland, Russia and Bulgaria for international compeititions. He was also a support coach at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
Larry brought this experience home and alongside his father – Jim Sinclair – founded the Highlands Trailblazers Cross Country Ski Club. A club that has trained hundreds of youths including a 2x Olympian – Brittany Webster.
As owner of the Nordic Cross Country Ski Centre, the facility has hosted Provincial Ontario Cup races, OFSSA Nordic championships & a National Championships (2003 and 2009).
Larry’s love of the winter outdoors is infectious to the ever growing number of athletes coming to Highlands Nordic. Larry is universally respected across the sport and community.
Sadly, Larry Sinclair died on January 25, 2015 following a lengthy battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Pat Elson, and daughters Kelly and Megan.
On the ice, Dave Chandler has seen it all throughout his career having officiated 5000+ hockey games during his 37 year career.
His career started as a 15 year old a the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto. Dave moved to Collingwood to teach at Collingwood Collegiate Institute in the late 60’s at which time he became a fixture across the region. In 1972, Dave was invited to the first World Hockey Association (WHA) officials camp.
During his career, he was invited to referee at International Silver Stick Tournaments, Quebec International PeeWee Tournament (1973) and officiated 11 International OMHA games featuring teams from Finland, Norway and Sweden. Dave instructed at the National Canadian Hockey Association referee certification program for 6 years.
His talents allowed for him to become the OMHA Supervisor of officials from 1983-1986.
The greatest compliment to Dave is obvious by the sheer number of referees that reference Dave’s valued mentorship in their early careers.
On Saturday, October 25, Dave Chandler was welcomed as an enshrined member of the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame.
Brian Bailey is the wind beneath the wings of the Collingwood Sailing School, which has been recognized by the Canadian Yachting Association and teaches the ropes to
more than 100 youth and adults each year. A Collingwood Yacht Club member since
1973, the Manchester, U.K.-born Bailey raced DEIMOS, an Express 30, for 29
years. The long-time sailor has been the club’s Keel Boat Champion three times. He has been commodore of the local yacht club as well as a member of its board of directors for more than 20 years. In Toronto, he was part of a successful racing crew on a custom C & C 34 which won the Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s;Champion of Champions.
Bailey was the catalyst in the history of the successful Collingwood Sailing School. He
channeled his energy, knowledge and pride into a unique educational opportunity
for budding sailors in the region. Bailey’s early involvement in the sailing school resulted when his son, Kyle, was hired by the former Watts Skiff Sailing School in 2001 as its sole instructor. The following season, he became the volunteer course director helping to drive increased enrolment, improved classroom instruction on the second floor of the Collingwood Terminals warehouse, and organized the repair of a collection of cast-off boats.
The Sailing School, in 2011, had close to 120 students and five instructors. (Almost
all of the instructors hired have been former graduates of the program.) The school’s fleet of 20 boats receives heavy use throughout the summer season. Student volunteers earn valuable experience for their instructor certification and community placement hours for high school graduation requirements. The school offers Canadian Yachting Association White Sail I, II, III, and Bronze IV; V courses at the Collingwood Harbour. The school uses a variety of dinghies from 7.5 feet to 14 feet.
Bailey is an avid skier, working as a Blue Mountain patroller from 1995 to 2004. He was a Mosport racer from 1961 to 1967 with his Sunbeam Alpine car. His first race was in front of a crowd of 50,000 people. He is passionate about all three sports; sailing, skiing and racing; describing how participants carve into turns in each of them. “You feel it”, he said. “You slide through it. If you have done all three, you can relate.”
Carol was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame on June 20, 1992, in the Builders’ category. Carol is a former member of the Collingwood Blue Mountain Figure Skating Club. From there she moved on to bigger and better things teaching power skating at a professional level.
1974- Studied at the Institute of Sport and Physical Culture in Moscow, U.S.S.R. and with the Red Army Sports Club, majoring in hockey.
1981- Was the guest coach at the National Hockey League’s officials’ training camp in Toronto.
1985- Coached players of the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL, Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and the Oshawa General of the OHA.
1995-1990- Ran Power skating camps for professional of the AHL and International Hockey League, as well as players from college and junior organizations.
1990- Named the skating coach of the Toronto Redwings Midget hockey club. She helped take the team to the Air Canada midget regional title and the national championship in Quebec.
Her career place her as coach of some 1,800 hockey players from age seven to professional for more than 20 years at the time of her induction.
While her son Clyde only played in Collingwood for a couple of years, most parents would be humbled at the minor hockey volunteer service record of Elsie Cruickshanks. Along with her late husband Frank, an Inductee in 1994, the 79-year-old Cruickshanks will enter the Builders’ category of the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame. Well-known in the community for her continuing tireless efforts as a volunteer at the Royal Canadian Legion, Cruickshanks is also occasionally stopped on the street by grown-ups who remember her for what she did at the hockey rink. “They haven’t forgotten us!” she muses. “Like they say, you’re only going to be rewarded with what you put into something. We enjoyed spending time with the children.” A ticket taker, raffle draw seller, registrar and an organizer of the annual Huronia Tournament for 25 years, Cruickshanks assisted Frank with the youth teams he coached. For these efforts, she has been recognized with the 2003 Order of Collingwood alongside a certificate presented by Mayor Terry Geddes for her service to youth in 1999.
Cruickshanks recalled an exhibition game hosted by Collingwood Minor Hockey in the 1970s against a touring midget team from Finland. Her family billeted four of the opposing players and the teams quickly made friends, despite the language barrier. Collingwood had been chosen to be a site for the game because of its reputation for hosting tournaments. “I know the Finnish boys had a great time here, because the next night they had another game in Markham. Clyde and a carload of boys who had played against them the night before went to Markham to watch the game. When (the Finns) came out on the ice, the fans booed them. What a disgrace! They treated those boys horribly. That would have never happened in Collingwood.” When asked about her favourite part about being a minor hockey volunteer, Cruickshanks recalled the massive breakfasts whipped up daily at the Huronia Tournament. “Frank Sheffield and a bunch of other people did such a tremendous job in the kitchen,” she added. “We never seemed to have trouble getting teams to come to play in Collingwood.”
This evening, October 23, 2004, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Elsie Cruikshanks as an enshrined member for her role as a Builder of our athletic community.
The Blue Mountain Figure Skating Club has been on of the main attractions in the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena for the past 35 years (as of 1986), and the person almost totally responsible for its foundation was the late Sadie Houghton. She was an enthusiastic and accomplished skater herself and she lost no time in creating interest in the sport when the new arena was built in 1948. She found out the late “Mac” McDermid, the first arena manager, was once a member of the famed Granite Club of Toronto, and she immediately went to work on Mac to help with the formation of a club in Collingwood.
In 1951, the arena staged a benefit night for the General and Marine Hospital and Sadie make sure that several of her top skaters, including her niece, Joanne Houghton, Carol Brophy and Pauline Pitz were on the program. The skaters were an immediate hit with the crowd and The Blue Mountain Figure Skating Club was born with Sadie Houghton as the first president. The group became a member of the Canadian Figure Skating Association and Pauline Pitz and Joanne Houghton were the first two Collingwood skaters to pass the difficult Canadian Figure Skating tests.
Sadie remained as president of the club during its first four years and then was made honorary President for the rest of her life.
She spent most of her free time in the arena and made sure that every child got full opportunity to take part in the ice shows. Sadie died on May 17, 1960, at the age of 58.
Sadie Houghton was inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.
Pauline Piitz began skating on outdoor rinks in this area in the mid 1940’s, eventually joining the Blue Mountain Figure Skating Club when the new Collingwood Arena was completed in 1947.
Pauline worked tirelessly with younger children at the club, and helped produce the first skating carnival in Collingwood. Skating took Pauline to many competitions and carnivals across Ontario in the years to follow, and in 1954 she placed fourth in the Northern Ontario Figure skating championships held in Sundridge.
As a professional, Pauline skated in many carnivals in the area, with a highlight of her professional career being her skating with the Royal Skating School where she received recognition from the Canadian Figure Skating Association as a silver medalist with five silver dances.
Today, Pauline in Mrs. Doug Simms (a sportsman, hunter and wildlife columnist originally form Collingwood). The couple are retired and live in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Pauline contributed as a Builder in figure skating for this area, with her efforts to organize figure skating clubs and carnivals.
Minor Hockey in Collingwood has gained much from the dedicated work of Jim.
Outside of the community, the Ontario Minor Hockey system has also gained because of this dedication.
Jim was a member of the OMHA Executive Committee, from 1953 to 1957. In addition to his time on the Executive Committee, Jim was also a certified OMHA referee throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
James Trott was elected to the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame – Builder’s Category in 1984.