Officiating - Jim Bradford

Jim Bradford



Robert James “Jim” Bradford was born on April 5, 1948. He was the oldest son of Bob and Dorise Bradford. He and his wife, Keren, raised two children, Jeanette and Scott.

During the day, he was an exemplary elementary school teacher at Dr. Powers in Port Hope. He taught in the junior division throughout his career.

Bradford's first taste of success on the field was as a player for the Cobourg Legion Bantam softball team. In 1962, they were All Ontario Champs. Seven years later he became an assistant coach with the same Legion Bantam team that he had played for. All Ontario Champs was an accomplishment Jim achieved on a number of occasions for a number of softball teams. He played for the Winchester Western Juniors and was an All Ontario Champ. Bradford later joined the ranks of the Cold Springs Cats (Intermediate C level) and once again became an all Ontario Champ in 1975 and 1976.

Jim played by the rules and lived by the rules. Officiating must have been in his blood since day one. A local sports writer once said, “Jim's love for officiating kept him busy the year round. He referees basketball, and hockey during the cold winter months”. In the summer months, Bradford could be found behind the plate during a number of league and tournament baseball games. Bradford credits his wife “… for being patient in allowing me to pursue my umpiring whenever and wherever I wanted to go”.

“Jerry Lawless, physical education at Cobourg West Collegiate, inspired Bradford's basketball officiating career by driving him to his first clinic 35 miles away”. The rest, as they say, is history. He found another sport that became his calling. He was both the founder and a referee for the South Kawartha Basketball Association. On Saturday mornings during the 90's he volunteered as a referee for the Lakeshore Basketball Association.

In 1980, Bradford met Sharon Sinclair, who was the provincial umpire-in-chief, while officiating basketball at the Ontario Summer Games in Peterborough. He later mentioned that Sinclair was the person who had the most influence on his career in officiating! 

In 1984, Jim was an arbiter for the Senior Men's National Fast Pitch Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Glowing comments were evident on his National Championship Umpire Rating form where his superiors commented, “Jim is a highly competent official, who has progressed in the past number of years. He is a complete umpire who has the respect of his fellow umpires and players, when on the ball diamond”.

Since he excelled throughout the tournament, he was chosen to work the final game, which is a top honour according to fellow umpires! Also noted was the fact that Bradford was one of only two Ontario umpires chosen to officiate in the championships!

He also umpired the National Midget Boys Fastball Championships in Napanee, the Women's Worlds in Newfoundland, as well as numerous provincial tournaments.

Bradford held a number of executive positions with Softball Ontario and the National Committee. He served as the Deputy Zone Umpire in Chief, Zone Umpire in Chief, Deputy Softball Provincial Umpire in Chief, and served nationally on the ODC as a Deputy with his focus divided between Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch. Bradford founded the South Central Umpires Association and locally, he was the vice president of the Cobourg Men's Softball League.

Over the years, Bradford “ … worked on the committee preparing the exams, wrote articles for the local, provincial, national periodicals and had been published in “Referee”, with Softball Canada”. He was also a presenter at the Blue Convention in Toronto and in Fredericton.

During his time with Softball Canada, he assisted with the development of manuals and supervised at Canadian Championships in both Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch.

One of his greatest achievements was attaining elite level 5 status in fast pitch and slow pitch softball. Reaching elite level 5 status in fast ball meant he was eligible to officiate internationally. At the time, Bradford was the only umpire in the country to have achieved this dual accolade! Since 1984, when he reached the elite level 5 status, he longed to officiate at the Pan American Games.

Finally in 1987, he realized his dream by going to the Pan Am games in Indianapolis, Indiana. An experience he once described as, “… unbelievable”. He received a Certificate of Merit in recognition of his selection to the umpiring staff. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Amateur Softball Association in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2003.

The induction solidified his status as a top level umpire in Canada. He had spent countless hours honing his skills and expertise as an umpire. Bradford passed away in 2001 and his wife, Keren, accepted the award and spoke on Jim's behalf.

Looking back over Bradford's illustrious career, he received many accolades. In memorial, The Legion Award of $500.00 was presented to an umpire going on to post secondary education. The Cobourg Angels Softball team recognized Bradford by creating an award bearing his name which was given to a young umpire who had umpired for the Angels organization. The Jim Bradford Memorial Tournament was named in Jim's honour and it was later renamed the Bradford/Cane Tournament to celebrate the contributions of both of these great men.

Jim Bradford was definitely a hometown hero! His expertise on the field and the hard court were exemplary. Bradford set the bar high for himself and those who followed in his footsteps. He was a gentleman in all aspects of life and will be remembered fondly.

In closing, I have included an article in its entirety which was written by Layton Dodge, Cobourg's sports writer extraordinaire and member of Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame.

By Bryan Marjoram


Layton Dodge,  Cobourg Sentinel Star, July 24, 1968

The young player of the Cobourg softball scene whom I personally admire more than any other is Jim Bradford, the 20-year-old catcher of Hillier's Juniors.

I respect him for his ability and his attitude, for his exemplary conduct and character.

During a game, Jim is the inspiration and the perspiration of his team. Call it hustle, drive or just plain desire, but Bradford's got it. The 165-pound bundle of energy gives 100 per cent in every game. He never quits.

As the club's salt and pepper player, Jim spews forth a steady stream of chatter and encouragement from his crouch behind the plate. I believe he keeps the Juniors alert and alive. As the quarterback of the team, he braves the rough body blocks of barreling-in base runners and the clouds of dust which go with it, pounces on bunts and pop ups, shakes off foul tips off his fingertips, often outraces the batter or runner to cover up at first or third on errant throws by teammates, and calls the shots for his battery mates to render tangible leadership.

At bat, he drops bunts, wheedles walks, and bangs out crisp line drives. Whatever he is called upon to do on a ball field he never fails to carry it out to the best of his ability. All these combined attributes have made him the top receiver in our Town League for the past three years.

The best compliment you can pay Jim Bradford is to say he came to play … he came to beat you … fair and square. As an acknowledged holler guy (not in the sour connotation of the team) Jim occasionally jabs with a verbal needle. Yet, he's never offensive or crude. He possesses the knack of being able to dispute the accuracy of the umpire's judgment without incurring his wrath.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, Jim is unspoiled by his athletic successes as a young-star. He is neither selfish, nor temperamental, foolhardy or obscene, stubborn or vain. Rather, he is honest and thoughtful, clear-cut and sensible, intense and eager to learn. In a world replete with individual glory and apathy, his approach to life in general, and to sport in particular, is a refreshing change of pace.

It has been said more than once that impressionable youngsters frequently pick up bad habits by copying what they see and hear from players in our Town League. Those boys who try to emulate Jim Bradford can't possibly go far wrong, however.

In my book, this soon-to-be school teacher is one heckuva fine ballplayer and a gentleman personified to boot. That's why he is a particular favourite of mine.


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Sports-Ken Petrie

Ken Petrie



Kenneth Wayne James Petrie was born July 11, 1946 in Stratford, Ontario. In 1957 when he was 11, he and his family moved to Cobourg. In 1972 they moved to Furnace Street across from Memorial Arena where he eventually worked for many years.

During a month-long visit from his grandfather one summer, Ken learned to play ball which sparked a life-long love of sports. He was an avid bowler as well early in his life.

Unselfishly, Ken devoted most of his adult life to minor sports in Cobourg—namely: the Cobourg Community Hockey League (CCHL); Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association (CLMSA) and Cobourg Baseball Association (CBA).

It was about 1965 when Ken was 19 that Layton Dodge recruited him to volunteer with the Cobourg Church Hockey League. He helped Gord Burdick Senior coach the St. Andrew’s Church League team. Thus began a life-long tenure with the CCHL until the organization moved from Memorial Arena to the CCC in 2011.

In hockey, Ken was a tireless workhorse helping out wherever he could whether it be as a coach, manager, trainer, fundraiser, Bingo volunteer, executive member, committee member, or just plain taking on responsibilities when necessary—when no one else would, he did if he could.

He was president of the CCHL a record 11 times (1979-82, 1985, 1993, 1999-2003) and was a long-time life member. He was OMHA contact person many, many times (a time consuming, huge responsibility), ice chairman, governor, tournament convenor, timekeeper/scorekeeper, budget committee member and astoundingly, many of these in a single hockey season. Those who worked with Ken didn’t mind helping him though—as he never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. It is on record that Layton Dodge called Ken “the driving force behind the CCHL”. Also, Past President, Jim Nairn is quoted as saying “Ken Petrie’s sense of community and love for the game is what kept him coming back.”

A source of great pride for Ken throughout his time in the CCHL was seeing all of Cobourg’s championship hockey banners hanging from the rafters in Memorial Arena. Also, he was extremely proud of the fact that the CCHL housed both boys and girls hockey (OMHA and OWHA) under the CCHL umbrella.

Ken’s happy cheerful demeanor along with his willingness to help, gave credence to the CCHL motto “Dedicated to Our Youth”. That was Ken Petrie through and through.

Besides the enormous amount of time spent volunteering with hockey during fall and winter, Ken loved spending the summer months coaching boys or girls teams in either softball or baseball. For many years he donated the trophies for the ‘golden glove’ competitions during Cobourg Baseball tournaments. And, little known to the general public, Ken Petrie throughout his time in sports often made sure that a kid on his team who needed a ball glove, hockey stick or whatever in order to play—and whose parents couldn’t afford it, was given what they needed from Sommerville’s.... he’d go into the store and square up with Clarke or Dave later.

Since the mid 1960s, Ken has compiled the most amazing record when it comes to provincial championship wins and claims 10 provincial titles with minor sports—hockey, softball and baseball combined: perhaps the most ever in Cobourg. They are listed below plus an EOBA championship.

The certificates commemorating Ken’s provincial championship wins are not very detailed as to the individual winning team names. However, in an article by Cobourg Star writer Darryl Thompson in 2005, Ken clearly states he had an All-Ontario hockey championship, one Ontario Girls’ softball championship, four Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) championships and four Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) titles. The Ontario Championships are listed below. He coached baseball in Port Hope as well.

A provincial championship title captured by the Legion Squirt Red Wings Softball team coached by Ken and the late Tom Savage in 1967 was Cobourg Legion Minor Softball’s first ever provincial title. 

Ken's many certificates, citations, plaques and awards for service to community were at one time proudly displayed in his home. Some of them are listed below. Many are being added to the 'Collection' at the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame website.

There were many hockey/ball teams Ken coached, some won awards. The many team photos, also being added to the 'Collection', are small proof of Ken's extensive coaching involvement.

In July 2013, Ken suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm and moved to a nursing home in Port Hope where he resides today.

Ontario Championships

1967 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “A” Red Wings OASA Softball Team (with Tom Savage)

1970 - PWSA Martin’s Sunoco Girls Softball Team (with Audrey Warner). Ken’s sister Mary Checkley played on this team

1976 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “B” OASA Softball Team (with John Hayden)

1979 - EOBA Tyke  ‘A’ Champs with Sommerville Leprechauns Baseball Team (with Pete  Sweet)

1983 - Cobourg Legion Pirates Peewee ‘D’ Baseball Team (with Al Guernsey & Gord Latourneau)

1984 - Cobourg Bantam Baseball Team

1988-89 - Harnden & King ‘BB’ PeeWee OMHA Hockey Team (with John Donegan)

1990 - Legion PeeWee ‘B’ Pirates Baseball Team (with Ron Jay and Dave Clarke)

1998 - Cobourg Legion Midget “B” OASA Softball Team (with Bob Bateman)


1972 - Thompson Plumbing & Heating Saints Midget Girls PWSA (with Ross Burgess and Les Stevenson)

1982 - Cobourg Legion Pirates PeeWee ‘C’ Baseball (with Dave Bemma & Bob Barkhouse)

Honours & Awards

1972-73 - Cobourg Church Hockey League “Coach of the Year Award” St. Andrew’s PeeWee North Stars

1976 - Certificate of Merit from the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association in appreciation of outstanding service to the youth of our community

1978/79 - OMHA Coach of the Year (with Dennis Whelan) in the CCHL

1980 - The Spooner Sport Award for outstanding contributions to minor sport

1981 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year

1983 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year

1984 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s "Jim Munro Memorial Trophy" for Coach of the Year to Ken Petrie and Wayne Wiggins

1987 - Sesquicentennial Celebration Award - Town of Cobourg - Angus Read

1987 - Canada Celebration 88 (Olympic Partner) - Certificate of Merit from the Government of Canada in grateful recognition of your contribution to your community

1990 - YMCA Service to Youth Award

1990 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” Coach of the Year Award presented by Frank Waghorn

1993 - OBA’s “Bantam Coach of the Year Award” from AAA to E levels (a province-wide citation)

1997 - Ontario Municipal Recreation Association Certificate from the Town of Cobourg given at the CCHL’s annual awards banquet with Layton Dodge

1997 - Life Member of the Cobourg Community Hockey League - inscripted on the CCHL Life Member Plaque

1997 - Life Member of Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association

2001 - Ontario Minor Hockey Association - Letter of Commendation from OMHA President Pat Parlette 

2007 - Nomination for the National “RBC Hockey Heroes Award” 

2019 - Members of the Northumberland Baseball Association assume that Ken was a life member of the former CBA though no documentation 

By Rosey Bateman



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Kenneth Wayne James Petrie was born in Stratford, Ontario, July 11, 1946. He moved to Cobourg in 1957, with his family. Ken unselfishly devoted much of his adult life to minor sports in Cobourg. These included the Cobourg Church Hockey League, the Legion Minor Softball Association and the Cobourg Baseball Association. At the age of 19, he was recruited by Layton Dodge to volunteer with the Cobourg Church Hockey League (CCHL) as an assistant coach. This began a lifelong tenure with the organization until they moved to the Cobourg Community Centre, in 2011.

Ken was a tireless worker acting as a coach, manager, trainer, fundraiser, bingo volunteer, executive member, committee member or just helping out wherever he could. Ken Petrie was the President of the Cobourg Church Hockey League a record 11 times and was named a Life Member. It is on record that Layton Dodge called Ken, “The driving force behind the CCHL”. Ken Petrie lived the CCHL motto, “Dedicated to our Youth”. Since the mid 1960’s, Ken’s teams had an amazing list of championships, claiming 10 provincial titles in minor sports. In 1967, Ken, along with Tom Savage, coached the Legion squirt Red Wings team to a provincial championship. It was Cobourg Legion Minor Softball’s first ever Provincial title.

Over Ken Petrie’s 50 plus years of volunteerism in Cobourg’s minor sports community, he was recognized with many certificates, citations, plaques and awards for service to his community. One of Ken’s associates noted that you didn’t mind helping him as he never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Along with Ken's other achievements he found time to umpire, referee, timekeep and organize numerous tournaments. He was also involved in Provincial Women's Softball and coached several local Girls softball teams over the years. Ken was a quiet man who did his talking through his actions and no one did it better. Ken Petrie was a very special
volunteer and a true sportsman.

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Paul Currelly was born in Port Hope, Ontario on September 3, 1926. He moved to Cobourg in 1952 and resided there until his death in 2004. Paul was an all-around athlete and played basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, football and was a crosscountry runner.

He enjoyed bowling and golf and was well known as a competitive curler. Paul Currelly was a respected backfielder for Cobourg's renown footballteam, The Cobourg Galloping Ghosts from 1947-1952. The 1950 Galloping Ghosts Program described him as a "Good-steady football player that can always be counted on for an all-out effort-a good team player all the way", a philosophy and attitude he was to instill in many players and teams that he went on to coach. In 1958, Paul coached Cobourg's Kiwanis Juvenile "A" Baseball team bringing an Ontario Championship to Cobourg. Paul was instrumental in founding of the "Cobourg Girls Softball League" in 1963. That same year, he coached the Coverdale Aces. This team was the prelude to the Cobourg Angels Girls Softball Organization.

These teams went to win 5 Ontario Championships along with numerous tournament and league championships against teams from much larger centres, all under Paul's tutelage. In the late 80's Paul spearheaded the formation of the Cobourg Junior Angels Organization providing young girls with place to play rep and house league softball. He was both an organizer and a coach.

Paul finished his coaching career by returning to boys baseball and coached the Cobourg Bantam Blacksox to an Ontario Championship in 1998. Hard work, dedication, perseverance and a commitment to team and community were essential attributes taught by Paul. He received numerous awards and honours, both local and provincial over the years, but perhaps his proudest moment occurred in 2004 when the Town of Cobourg dedicated a cairn in his honour on the site of the former Victoria Park Ball Diamond and named the roadway around it, "Paul Currelly Way".

Sports-Layton Dodge Obituary

Sports-Layton Dodge Obituary

Layton Dodge Loved His Home Town, Sports

By Cecilia Nasmith Dec 10, 2013 Northumberland Today

Layton Dodge's chair at Sommerville's is empty.
Dave Sommerville, owner of the downtown Cobourg sporting goods store, has been reflecting on what to do with it since hearing of Dodge's passing on Sunday.

Since his retirement as Cobourg's premier sports reporter, Dodge has been a regular in the store, taking the chair Sommerville's father Clarke used to occupy. It started out as a chance to enlist the Sommervilles' help in identifying the rafts of old sports photos he was giving away, and evolved into one of his favourite places just to hang out and visit with people.

Sommerville was one of those legions of Cobourg kids who grew up looking forward to the Wednesday paper because of Dodge.

"We ran home, grabbed the paper and opened it to the sports page to see if our name was there," he recalled.
Born March 14, 1937 to parents William and Kathleen, Layton Dodge grew up in Cobourg and attended Cobourg District Collegiate Institute (currently CDCI West) when it was the only high school in town. He went directly from high school to working for the Cobourg Sentinel Star, a precursor of Northumberland Today, his friend Rosie Bateman said.

By virtue of his life-long attachment to his home town, Bateman added, he always had a story to share — such as the fact that Col. Gordon King, after whom the library is named, was his Latin teacher.

Retired councilor Bob Spooner first encountered Dodge as a reader. He had been involved in sports reporting himself before he and his wife began looking to move to Cobourg in 1970. They picked up a copy of what was then the weekly Cobourg paper and, turning to the sports page, Spooner recalled, thinking, "Whoever is writing this is really doing the community a service."

Little kids hitting a home run, young goalies making a save, minor athletes who might never rate a mention in a bigger paper had their names there in print, Spooner said. "I thought, 'I have to meet this guy, because he writes so honestly and his information is really accurate.'"

That winter, Spooner got his chance when he began coaching minor hockey. They became instant friends, he reported.
Doing play-by-play hockey coverage for the local radio station in 1972, Spooner often met up with Dodge. Together, they broke down the barrier between print and electronic media when Dodge began doing occasional guest commentary.

"The public liked his analysis, his accuracy, his honesty. He never had a bias if he liked a coach or a player from the other team," Spooner said.

Longtime close friend Rod Baker remembers Dodge's support of the Cobourg Cougars Junior A hockey group, as well as for the young people in town. He remembers how much Dodge contributed to his own three children's lives when they were growing up in Cobourg through his work at the home-town newspaper.

"I think he was one of the best sports writers in this area and could have gone further. But he was very happy in Cobourg," Baker said.

"Layton was probably the biggest promoter of a lot of good athletes in Cobourg, but he would always find a way to get the average athlete — the kid who would never get noticed — to get his name in the paper if they had a good hockey game or made a good catch playing ball. He made the average athlete important. He had an uncanny way of doing that," Sommerville said.

He was also impressed with the range of sports his friend covered.
"If it was out there, he covered it," Sommerville stated.

Dodge would even hold off on his summer holidays so as not to miss covering the giant annual ball tournament in Grafton, where he would help with the announcing or do whatever else they needed.
"The only way you knew Layton was on vacation is, there was no sports in the paper. He would still be at all the games, but no sports in the paper.

"Cobourg has been so fortunate to have someone who cared so passionately about the town, so passionately about the youth of the town, and he showed it in many different forms," Sommerville said.

A modest individual, Dodge made substantial donations to organizations but also made the quieter substantial donations — paying for the high school wrestling tournament, for example, or even making significant contributions to the university and college educations of young people in need.

"He did so many things for so many people behind the scenes, the stories could be endless," Sommerville said.
A few years before Dodge was forced to retire earlier than he perhaps would have liked for health reasons, the editor combed old newspapers for a compilation of his best work for a book that was titled Spotlight On Sports.

A later publisher, Darren Murphy, found that Dodge remained deeply involved in the newspaper regardless.
“He would stop by regularly with some kind of a news tip or just to say hello to everyone," said Murphy, who is now publisher and regional advertising director of Eastern Ontario for Sun Media.

"He had a way of brightening up the entire building when he entered, and his contributions to the Cobourg sports community will never be forgotten.”

Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier said Dodge was an icon in the town.
"For so many years, he gave so much to so many people," Brocanier said.
"It's incredible, the work he did and the way he made so many young people growing up in Cobourg playing all sports feel important. He made it his mission to give almost every athlete — regardless of the level they were playing in — he made every effort to give them their 15 minutes of fame by mentioning them or something they had done in a particular game.

"It's a terrible loss to the sports community, and the community as a whole," the mayor stated.
"What really makes me happy is that he lived long enough to see the new sports complex," Spooner said.

As council's parks and recreation head during the project, he recalls how thrilled Dodge was with news of the facility and how he supported it with a donation that paid for the press box.

The Layton Dodge Press Box is the second town amenity that bears his name. Spooner recalls sitting down with the parks and recreation advisory committee prior to the opening of Legion Fields in July 1996 to name the three diamonds.

"The first name that cropped up for one of the diamonds was Layton Dodge," Spooner said.

In the end, the vote was unanimous to name the diamonds after Dodge, Clarke Sommerville and Jack Bevan.
Dodge will be missed very much, Bateman said. "I know how devoted he was to the youth of the town, and sport and the community. I think his legacy is that he inspired the youth of our town to be the best they could be in sports, and in life in general," she stated.

From seeing his friend spend so many pleasant days in that special chair in his store, Sommerville would characterize Dodge as the voice of reason.

"He could always find some middle ground and come up with a logical and reasonable solution. It's something I saw a lot of times that I found fascinating. He would sit back and watch it all and, in a heartbeat, come up with the right answer," he said.

Fairness extended to his sports coverage, which would occasionally single out a visiting player from a big city like Toronto. If a friend or relative sent a clipping to the young player, Sommerville said he would get a call to ask for 15 more copies, because that player would never get that kind of recognition in a bigger community.

And when a local player deserved a wake-up call or a slap on the wrist for any reason, Sommerville added, Dodge could deliver it in such a way that the player would remain on friendly terms with him afterwards.

"I think that gift was born out of his love for the community," he said.
In the end, he said, Dodge earned a singular honour — being known by a single name.

"In Cobourg, everybody knows Layton. It doesn't matter if you're 12 or 100, everybody knows Layton as Layton — or, in our case, Scoop. Nobody asks about Layton Dodge. It's Layton or Scoop. I think, over the course of time, with everything he's done for this community, he has gained that kind of recognition," Sommerville said.

"He deeply loved his mother and his family. He deeply loved Cobourg — the sports community and Cobourg in general.
"His legacy will live on and on and on, not only as a sports writer and member of the community, but also as a human being. There are not many people like Layton."

At Dodge's request, there will be a private graveside service at Cobourg Union Cemetery. A funeral service will be held in Trinity United Church Thursday at 1 p.m., and a celebration of his life will be held at the Cobourg Community Centre at a later date.

Reviewed August 2020

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Sports-Haldimand Twp 1900's

Early Haldimand

By Jack Kernaghan – written by Doug Johnson approx. 2010

During the 1930’s, before the war started, the East Northumberland Baseball League was in operation and consisted of four teams – Grafton, Colborne, Brighton and Warkworth. Members of the Grafton team included Jim McMahon, Jack Reymes, Harry Landymore, Max Smith, Hart Immel, Harold Sabins, Lloyd Sabins, Ed Lawless, Roy Goody, Chick Cochrane, Jerry Simmons, and Walter Johnston. Grafton games were played in Rogers Field which was located on the west side of the existing ball field.

Although the East Northumberland Baseball League still existed in the 40’s and early 50’s all of the teams were depleted due to war service. From this period on, all Grafton games were played on the present-day fields, but it should be noted there is no baseball field in Grafton at the present time as all (5) five diamonds in the Complex are for softball.

During the late 50’s and early 60’s the South Durham Baseball League was formed consisting mostly of semi-rural teams. They were Welcome, Kendal, Garden Hill, Newcastle, Newtonville, Coverdale and Camborne. Coverdale consisted of the east end of Cobourg and their games were played in Grafton.

Members of the Coverdale team included Bobby Parnell, Fred Goody, Fred McMillan, Dick Turpin, Jack Kernaghan, Paul Currelly, Ross Beatty, Jim Irvine, Bob Bazay, Jim Ingemalls, Jerry Lawless, Fred Maybee and Don Ball. The Camborne team was put together by Norm Dolley but folded later due to a shortage of players.

Some members of the Welcome team were Barney Mills, Don Lord, John Choiniere, Floyd Bebee and Vern Meadows. Long John Holman and Jim Gilmer played for Newtonville.

There was also a girls’ softball team out of Cobourg sponsored by Town Cleaners which was owned by Mr. Hobbs and the team was managed by Alf Minaker and coached by Bus Cane. This team also included at least three members from Haldimand Township who were Pat and Shirley Harnden and Jean Clouston. Some of the girls from Cobourg were Toots Brisbin, Maizie Jenkinson, Ivy Cockburn, Helen Caine, Eileen Goody, Reta Slater, Ruth Brooks, Winnie Twitchett, Ruth Stillwell, Alice Guy, Jean Allen was Captain, Ruth Bolderstone, Jackie Kadan and Marilyn Jenkinson was the mascot.

In 1946 the Town Cleaners team won the Eastern Ontario Intermediate Softball Championship over Belleville. They eventually went on to play for the Ontario Championship where they won the first game in Sunnyside (Toronto) but lost the last game back in Cobourg.

There was also a Haldimand Township softball team which included Pat and Shirley Harnden and Jean Clouston, Marg and Kathleen Tunney, Ann Heenan, Florian, Mary, Kathleen and Ann Lawless. This was strictly a fun team.

During the late 30’s and early 40’s, I believe, Grafton, Colborne, Warkworth and Baltimore each iced an intermediate hockey team. Members of the Grafton team were Manager Roy Bone, Gordon Locke, Jack Turpin, Wib Thomas, Jack Heenan, Cam Harnden, Hart Immel, Jack Beatty, Mike Heenan, Harold Knight, Jack Kernaghan, Jack Reymes, Dick Beatty, Ed and Mike Spears, Tom Walsh and Tommy Hogan. In the early years, games were played on outdoor rinks, but in later years, they moved to covered areas such as church sheds and eventually to artificial ice in proper arenas.

Reviewed August 2020

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Sports-Clarke Sommerville Obituary

Sports-Clarke Sommerville Obituary

Lauded for Contribution to Cobourg
By Mandy Martin and Jim denHollander
Cobourg Star August 20, 1997

Cobourg sports enthusiast, businessman, family man and all-around nice guy Clarke Sommerville will be greatly missed in the greater Northumberland community, friends and family said following his death Monday.

Born in Toronto, as a teenager, Mr. Sommerville was drafted as a goalie to play junior hockey. In the late 1940s he was playing in Galt, Ont. “I was a rink rat and I’d go to see him play in my home town” recalled Cobourg Deputy Reeve Bob Spooner. Mr. Spooner was friends with Hugh Whittington, the younger brother of Dorothy Whittington, who later became Mrs. Sommerville.

Mr. Sommerville went on to play semi-pro hockey in Philadelphia and Washington, earning the nick name “Eagle Eye”. “They called him ‘Eagle Eye’ or ‘Sieve’ depending if it was a good or bad game” Mrs. Sommerville recalled. Son Dave said Cobourgers affectionately called his father Sieve.

The travelling life of hockey had lost its appeal by 1951. In 1952 the Sommervilles came to Cobourg. They converted the former Galbraith’s radio shop (where Pizza Pizza is today) into a sports store. In 1961 Sommerville’s Sporting Goods moved to its current location on the north side of King Street West. Cobourg Daily Star sports editor Layton Dodge remembers Mr. Sommerville reviving his hockey career to play in the intermediate league.

During the first game of the 1957 playoffs against the Lakefield Lumber Kings, Cobourg was up 5-1 but Mr. Sommerville had been subjected to Lakefield battering all night. Finally, he raised his stick and caught a Lakefield player right across the forehead. “It touched off quite a riot” Mr. Dodge recalled. The Cobourg team was restrained to the bench except the five players on ice who bore the brunt of the Lakefield melee.

But despite the aftermath, the next day Mr. Sommerville telephoned the Lakefield player to apologize. Only his wife knew he had done so. As a boy, Town of Cobourg administrator Bryan Baxter recalls watching Mr. Sommerville as goalie of the intermediate team in the 1950s. “He was an outstanding goaltender. I looked up to him.” Mr. Baxter said.

Mr. Sommerville was also active in local baseball. He was instrumental in the success of the Cobourg Juvenile A 1958 provincial baseball championship team, coach Paul Currelly recalled. “He’s been a good friend ever since he came to Cobourg” he added. In 1965 Mr. Sommerville and John Rolph founded the Cobourg Cougars. Today, the Cougars are in their sixth year as a Junior A hockey team.

Gord Kelly was one of the original Cougars. He recalls the first-year team. “Let’s face it. It was tough going” he said. We had a limited budget, but with Clarke in the background he made sure we had everything we needed. He always wanted to stay in the background” he added.

Mr. Kelly also worked in the sports store and recalled people stopping by after work or during the day, “spending time at the hot stove lounge around the pop cooler.” Gus Bambridge of Cobourg was another original Cougar. He later became the coach with Mr. Sommerville managing the team. “I remember when they wanted to fire me and Bryan Rose and Clarke didn’t want them to fire us” Mr. Bambridge recalled.

Mr. Sommerville was president of the Cougars in 1971 when the team won the Ontario Hockey Association championship. In 1972 when his daughter Susan wanted to play hockey, Mr. Sommerville helped out by organizing a four-team girl’s league. He was also active in organizing minor league baseball, girls’ softball and played in the Cobourg softball league. “He believed in sports for anybody that wanted to play regardless of sex or age,” his wife said.

As a mother of four boys active in local sports, Bev Helps of Grafton agreed. “There are a lot of kids who would never have played if not for him” she said. “He never questioned your income. If you said something was beyond the budget, he’d find something that was. If you had several kids in sports, he’d work out the best price possible. I don’t think Cobourg could have survived without him.”

Mr. Dodge fondly recalled one quirky feature that betrayed the fact that Mr. Sommerville placed the playing of sports well ahead of his commercial involvement in it. “Here he (was selling) ball gloves and he used this old flat piece of leather himself” he said.

Mr. Sommerville was a natural athlete, Mr. Dodge recalled: the type of guy who goes golfing for the first time and scores well. Last year, the Clarke Sommerville baseball diamond was dedicated at the new Legion Fields softball complex in Cobourg. Harry Jeschke, who manages Legion Fields and the Cobourg arenas, recalled Mr. Sommerville as “a terrific gentleman.” “He was always there for the youngsters in the community. How do you put it into words? He was a true sportsman.”

Mr. Spooner remarked that he was “doubly glad” that Mr. Sommerville lived to see the dedication. Mr. Baxter said that in later years he was acquainted with Mr. Sommerville as a businessman on the main street. “I found him a warm, gentle person, with a soft spot in his heart for all young people” he said. “He always had a smile and a warm greeting for you which uplifted anybody’s day.

He was a well-respected individual in both the sports and business communities of Cobourg and Port Hope. In his business, he attracted many people to Town with his knowledge and expertise.” Mr. Currelly remarked on the “tremendous amount of work” Mr. Sommerville devoted to the Town’s youth. “He sponsored many clubs. He always helped everyone,” he noted. “The whole family have been pillars of strength in the sporting fraternity.”

Mr. Spooner recalled that Mr. Sommerville “could never say no to anyone. He donated trophies, prizes, dinners as well as sponsored teams. And I’m sure he did lots of things for other groups that most of us never know about.” Mayor Joan Chalovich who knew Mr. Sommerville since the 50s, recalled “a terrific father and husband. He’s left an awful void.” she said. He had a strong commitment to his family, his business, the Cobourg community and the larger Northumberland community. He was a great citizen of Cobourg.”

Mr. Sommerville is survived by his wife Dorothy, children David and wife Mary of Cobourg, Nancy and husband Kevin of Belleville and Susan and husband Bill of Illinois. Sister Mary McLean lives in Peterborough. There are eight grandchildren. There will be no funeral service. Instead the family plans a later private celebration of his life. Donations to the Cobourg Hospital Foundation are requested in lieu of flowers.

Reviewed August 2020

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School-CCI 2014-2020

Cobourg C.I.

Emerging in 2014 as the newly amalgamated public high school in Cobourg, Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI) has brought together the rich athletic histories of the former Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East and Cobourg District Collegiate Institute West schools.  Moving from medium sized “AA” schools (between 500-900 students) to a larger AAA school (1150 students in 2020), C.C.I. offers its students an extensive selection of sports teams, with the continued pride and success that was enjoyed by the former East and West schools.  

Since its inaugural year in September of 2014, C.C.I. sports teams have won many Kawartha (local) and COSSA (regional) championships.  This has led to many trips to the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) provincial championships with its sports teams, including Girls Hockey, Boys Hockey, Boys Volleyball, Girls Volleyball, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Wrestling, Cross Country, Badminton, Tennis, Track and Field, and Swimming.  

A trip to CCI’s Dillon-Lawless Gym (named after renowned local high school physical education teachers Del Dillon and Jerry Lawless) will also allow you to see the growing number of team and individual OFSAA honours, including medal performances for finishing in the top 4 in the province.  

As of the winter of 2020, OFSAA Honours include the Girls Hockey team with a 4th place finish, and the following individuals: Wrestlers-Amara Hill (4th place), and Jayden Sparks (3rd place), Track Athletes- Cameron Bruce (4th place, 300m Hurdles) and Kate Current (2nd place, 800m), and Swimmers- Lauren Burleigh (2x 1st place 50m Para Backstroke, and 1st place 100m Para backstroke), and Carlie Bilodeau (1st place, JR 50m Backstroke).  Some of these athletes, and many others have enjoyed success at the college and university sports level following their years of competing for Cobourg Collegiate Institute.

In addition to an impressive C.C.I. OFSAA presence to date, they also consistently have demonstrated exceptional character through sport. Two teams were awarded with the OFSAA Sportsmanship Award during their OFSAA debuts – the varsity girls’ hockey team in 2016, in Stratford, and the senior boys’ soccer team in 2018, in Thunder Bay.

Beyond the successes of sports teams to date, dedicated coaches have planned a variety of trips to enrich the students’ experiences, and to provide lasting memories.  One of the highlighted trips include rugby teams taking part in tournaments in New York City and New Brunswick (Rothesay Netherwood Private School in Rothesay, NB).  As well, basketball teams have annually made trips to prestigious American Colleges and Universities to play games, tour the facilities and watch high-level teams train and compete.  Recent trips have been to Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Building on the excellent athletic facilities on the C.D.C.I. East school site, one major facility upgrade enjoyed by C.C.I. students was the installation of a 6-lane rubberized track.  This has attracted athletes and visitors, including the likes of Canadian Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse, for a training session before his trip to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  Highlights on our track to date include running our school’s annual Relay for Life event, and a Board-Wide “Inclusive Track and Field Day”.  

The Inclusive track and field day is open to all Learning and Life Skills high school students around the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, and includes running, wheel-chair and field events, along with a barbeque lunch.  We are also happy to be able to accommodate local and regional elementary schools, housing our future C.C.I. athletes, who need a venue to run their annual track and field meets.

C.C.I has also been a support to many community members and visiting schools looking to access our gym facilities.  This has included a close relationship with the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association, who has been a partner in helping us to invest in new glass backboards, adjustable nets and a padded score table.  The local Badminton Club, along with the Northumberland Sports Council, used our gym for the Ontario 55+ Winter Games in 2017, which was a unique opportunity to open our school to athletes from all age groups.  Our gyms are rented most nights, and weekends, throughout the year to service local sports clubs for training and competition, including volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer, rugby, softball, baseball, lacrosse, rowing and more.

As Cobourg Collegiate Institute continues to grow its history, they are proud to be an important and vital part of the Cobourg community.

Updated August 2020


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Layton Dodge was born in Cobourg on March 4, 1937, to parents, William and Kathleen. After high school, Layton joined the staff of the Cobourg Sentinel Star as sportswriter and publisher until his final column on October 8, 1996. In between, Layton covered most sports in Cobourg and the surrounding communities with love, diligence, integrity and honesty.

To say that the local sporting community was lucky to have him would be a gross understatement. Layton was the league and individual statistician for many local sporting groups including the Cobourg Community Hockey League, Legion Minor Softball, the Cobourg Mercantile Hockey League, the Cobourg Men's Softball League and the Cobourg Bowling League, to name just a few. Perhaps Layton's greatest quality was his understanding that sports meant as much to the house league player as it did to the all-star athlete.

To that end, Layton gave as much space on his sports pages to the house league games and players as he did to the rep teams and stars. He was the very best small-town sportswriter that you could ask for. Layton was recognized by many local organizations over the years for his outstanding contributions to their particular sport.

One of his proudest recognitions came from the Ontario Amateur Softball Association in 1987 when he was presented with the Frank Feaver Award as Ontario's “Mr. Softball”. Layton had a nickname that many of his friends and acquaintances used when referring to him. That name was “Scoop”. He never owned a car and rode his bicycle to almost all local sporting events.

He was never without his camera and notebook and always had a smile on his face and a positive remark to share. Simply put, “Layton was the BEST.