Category Archives: Male

Ron Westlake

2016-ron-westlakeCollingwood’s Ron Westlake was a prolific ski racer carving the hills on the heels of Crazy Canucks Ken Read and Steve Podborski in the 1970s during the Canadian championships. At one national competition, Westlake finished third, right behind Read and Podborski, who finished first and second, respectively.

At the height of his ski racing career, Westlake finished on the podium in the Pontiac Cup series across Eastern Canada and competed in CanAm races throughout North America. He was also a regular participant at Ontario Championship events.

The runs at Blue Mountain provided the athletic training terrain for Westlake, who started skiing on hand-made skis at the age of two. Numerous pairs of skis later and in various roles as a racer, coach, instructor, and director, Westlake continues to hit the slopes 60 years later as a recreational skier and lifelong member of the Collingwood Ski Club.

Westlake coached the Southern ‘A’ ski team, and started the Jozo Weider Race Club, designed for non-private club members. He holds Level III accreditation in both the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance and the Canadian Coaching Federation. He was a Ski and Snowboard Director for 18 years at Blue Mountain and worked in the ski industry for 34 years. In 2015-16, Westlake received the 40-year member recognition award from the Canadian Ski Alliance.

Sports have played a major role in Westlake’s life. As a youth, he was an active participant in Collingwood hockey and figure skating clubs. Westlake traded in his skis for boats during summer months, winning the Georgian Bay Sailing Regatta and was the Commodore of the Collingwood Yacht Club. He has explored the depths of Georgian Bay as an avid scuba diver and member of PADI. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Westlake was Collingwood’s Athlete of the Year in 1974.

On October 22, 2016, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomed Ron Westlake as an enshrined member of Collingwood’s sporting history.

John Stephenson

2016-john-stephensonJohn 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

2016-peter-kempPeter 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.

Larry Sinclair

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.2014 - Larry Sinclair

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.

Paul Shaw

Paul Shaw was introduced to trap shooting during a conversation in 1981 while goose hunting with friends.  Paul quickly established himself as a force within the sport through pure instinct built from his early years, raised on a farm near Ravenna, when rabbit hunting was considered  recreation. 2014 - Paul Shaw

In 1984, he got involved in Olympic style trapshooting.  For the past 30 years, his accomplishments in provincial, national and international competition are staggering.  He has won every championship event at the Ontario Championships incl. singles, handicap, doubles, High- All Around and High Overall.  Paul is a 4x Canadian Champion in Double Trap.

During his career, he has represented Canada as an athlete at the  1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, 4x Pam American Games and 2010 & 2014  Commonwealth Games in both Trap and Double Trap.

In 2014, Paul Shaw is ranked #1 in International Double Trap and #3 in Olympic Trap and involved with the organization of shooting events for the 2015 Pan American games in Toronto.

His trapshooting talents have been recognized in his induction in to the Ontario Provincial Trap Shooting Hall of Fame in 2007.

On Saturday, October 25, 2014,  the Collingwood Sports Hall Fame introduced Paul Shaw as one of its newest members.

Jay Morrill

Jay was introduced to cross country running as an elementary student at Cameron Street Public. Very soon thereafter he began to dominate races with students 4 years his senior.

It was during his high school years at Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) between 2000-2004 that Jay simply dominated the cross country running scene . He was a perfect 20/20 winning every Simcoe County League race and winning 9 GBSSA championships in both cross country and track & field. He was won two OFSAA titles in 2001 & 2002 and further elevated in stature as a 2x  National Team Champion ( Canadian Cross Country Running Championships – 2001 and 2002.

His high school success led to an athletic scholarship with Georgian State University where he served as captain – a testament to his commitment to training and leadership skills.

On Saturday, October 25, Jay joins his great-grandfather Bobby Morrill and great uncle Allan Morrill as an enshrined member of the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame.

Dave Chandler

On the ice, Dave Chandler has seen it all throughout his career having officiated 5000+ hockey games during his 37 year career.2014 - Dave Chandler

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.



Professional foot racing was a booming sport throughout the Georgian Bay 70 years ago but few people know that Collingwood once claimed a professional distance runner of national reputation.

His name was Roy Hewson and for a decade between 1906 and 1916 he ruled supreme in races over distance between three and five miles.

He was the postmaster at Batteau Settlement, just south of Collingwood, for many years. Hence his nickname “The Batteau”.

No person heard of him as a runner until he casually entered the five-mile race in the annual Domination Day Celebration at Collingwood.

Dressed in street clothes, he literally walked away from the field of twenty better than average runners of that era.

He was only fifteen years old at the time and he did not take the sport too seriously until two Stayner backers persuaded him to take a crack at professional running.

In the spring of 1909, he gave up his amateur standing and entered a race over a seven-mile course from Duntroon to the old Globe Hotel in Collingwood. He lost that race to Ed Haverson of New Lowell.

Haverson was a seasoned runner with two big time wins at the Canadian National Exhibition to his credit. On April 25th, 1909, Hewson beat Haverson soundly for a purse of three hundred dollars and a two hundred dollar side bet. Collingwood sportsmen Joe Ganley and Paddy Stone won ten thousand dollars on the race.

The skinny kid from Batteau went home with a silver cup in his arms and five hundred dollars in his pocket. Hewson won a dozen more important races and repeated his victory over Haverson in Barrie.

Three years later he won the three-mile Canadian title in Toronto but interest in professional running had died out. The purse was only fifty dollars. The Batteau hung up his running shoes and went back to the post office. Twenty-nine years ago he collapsed and died outside on the street after attending a hockey match in the Collingwood Arena.


Captain Jim Woolner was born in Collingwood in 1878.

A Master of the steel blades at the turn of the century Captain Jim was a household word and every kid in the Georgian Bay district tried to emulate his style at one time or another.

He had his first pair of speed skates shortly after he had his first pair of boots and he was still skating the year he died in 1938.

For over two decades Jim beat every skater that cared to take up the challenge, and he did it with the confident ease that was his stock in trade.

Unfortunately, Woolner was never attached to an organized skating club, and, as a result, many of his best records are not officially recorded.

In his heyday, Captain Woolner defeated such great Canadian speed artists as Toronto’s Harley Davidson, the fiery Stubby Graham of Fergus, Canadian mile champion, Len Forrester of Fergus.

The crowning point of his career was his victory over Davidson in Collingwood’s old Pine Street Rink in March, 1900.

Davidson had beaten the best skaters of the era at the International Speed Carnival atMontrealand up until that time he had never even heard of Woolner. But Davidson accepted Jim’s challenge and the match race was staged for a cash prize of two thousand dollars-winner takes all.

As it turned out, the race was a walk away for Woolner and an embarrassing memory for the highly touted Davidson.

The following winter, Stubby Graham challenged Woolner to a race in Meaford. Graham was not only beaten by Jim but he was nosed out of second place by another Collingwood skater, Doug McLeod.

Tom Eck, a well known sports promoter and a former trainer of heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, arranged a five-mile race between Woolner and Len Forrester, Then the Canadian champion at five-mile distance.

With ten thousand dollars in bets riding on the outcome of the race, Captain Jim covered the five miles in fourteen minutes and forty seconds, and beat the Fergus star by four laps.

The gamblers refused to bet against him and limited their wagers to the number of laps Woolner would finish ahead of the runner-up.

He won 3 races in Toronto on one Saturday afternoon and was so far ahead in the last race he turned around and skated backwards a full lap from the finish line.

Two years later, the Captain’s great career came to an end under shady circumstances in a return match with Forrester in Fergus.

He won the first heat easily but fell and broke his leg half-way through the second heat. A quick check revealed that someone had laid a fine wire across the ice in Woolner’s Lane.

Jim Woolner never skated again in competition. He became one of the most colourful skippers on theGreat Lakes. Three weeks before his untimely death, he thrilled a big crowd at the annual Collingwood Ice Carnival at the Park Rink. When he made a few graceful turns around the ice and was given a standing ovation.

On March 15th, 1938, Captain Jim Woolner died in a motor crash on Paddy Dunn’s Hill, just north of Barrie. He was returning from a hockey game in Toronto. He was just fifty-seven.


The hockey career of the colourful Dutch Wheeler covers a quarter of a century and his natural ability can be compared with any of the great players spawned in his ” hockey hot bed” that is Collingwood.

Learning to skate the day after he took his first walking step, Dutch was starring for the old Central Tigers in the Junior Town League at the age of then, and before he turned fourteen he earned himself a spot on the 1934 Collingwood O.H.A. Junior “A” division. Collingwood’s Charlie Sandell also made the team.

Dutch starred with the Biltmores for three years in 1938, 39 and 40.

From Guelph, he went to the Barrie Colts with another Collingwood Boy, Robbie Sandell.

He enlisted with the Canadian Army in 1941 and played out of Newmarket for three years with the Canadian Army team. That team won the interservice championship against the Royal Canadian Navy in 1944. His team mates included Bill Taylor, Bep Guindon, Check Shannon, Bill McComb and Johnny Callaghan.

It was back to Collingwood after the war in 1946. He performed for the Shipbuilders in the O.H.A. Intermediate “A” series for two years and then hopped over to  Midland for one season in 1948.

The new Community Arena was built in 1948 and Dutch couldn’t stay away from the old home town with such ice facilities so close to his own back door.

About that time Eddie Bush was finishing off a great professional career and when he came back home as a coach-player, Dutch Wheeler definitely figured in Bush’s plans.

It could be said that Eddie built one of Collingwood’s greatest Intermediate teams around himself and the Dutchman.

Jack Wheeler was a key cog on a team that won two back to back O.H.A. Intermediate “A” championships in 1951 and 1952 and went to the finals against the Simcoe Gunners in 1953

Dutch and Bush both packed it up as active players the follow year.

Hockey was not his only athletic endeavour. He played a pretty fair softball game and was a member of the Trott’s Pros, twice winners of the Collingwood Senior Softball League in the fifties.

His lacrosse career lasted one season when a group tried to revive the game back in 1936.

An eight-team junior group was formed and all went well with the Collingwood team until they met the power packed Orillia club, seven times winners of the Minto Cup.

That ill fated evening in Orillia, Jack Wheeler startled the Orillia fans when he took a pass from Butch Thomson and scored ten seconds after the face-off. Then the Minto Cup holders went to work and scored thirty-two goals. The final score-32-1. That was the end of short lived Georgian Bay Junior Lacrosse League. There hasn’t been a lacrosse game played in Collingwood since.

Dutch continued his interest in hockey in an executive position with the Collingwood Senior Club during the late fifties and early sixties. This man truly earned his niche in Collingwood’s Sports Hall of Fame.