Elaine Devlin

Elaine Devlin

Elaine Devlin

Born in Indian River on July 27, 1964, Elaine Devlin resided in Cobourg, Colborne, and Grafton for a decade and has maintained her athletic connections to our community ever since. Before moving to our area Elaine had already established herself athletically as an all-star goalie and a member of numerous OWHA (Ontario Women’s Hockey Association) gold medal teams and as one of the best softball pitchers in the province winning ORSA (Ontario Rural Softball Association) Midget and Junior provincial titles in 1981, 1982 and 1983 with Douro and Keene; two OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association) Silver Medal’s with Fleming College and numerous Peterborough Women’s City League titles. In 1985 she attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas on a scholarship where she played in the NCAA softball circuit. Still the holder of seven school records she was Gulf Star Conference Female Athlete of the Year; Most Outstanding Player and won a Conference Championship. Recruited to play for the Cobourg Angels, by Paul Currelly in 1984, over the next five years Elaine and her teammates medaled 9 times at the provincials, including three golds, a period of sustained excellence that was due in large part to Elaine’s pitching prowess, which didn’t go unrecognized by the opposition as she was recruited by other teams 3 different times to represent Ontario at the Canadian Championships. Since her time playing in Cobourg, Elaine has continued to contribute to the sport by coaching and attending pitching clinics during the off-season to help the next generation of hurlers hone their techniques. It would be hard to imagine an honour, accomplishment in Softball that has eluded Elaine. Beyond pitching a countless number of no-hitters and perfect games, Elaine Devlin has competed in a total of 34 Provincial championships (14 gold, 12 silver, 4 bronze), 17 Canadian championships (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze), and at least 5 World Championship/International competitions (1 gold, 1 bronze) and has coached at 20 Provincial championships (5 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze), 12 Canadian championships (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and 3 World Championship/International competitions, winning gold each time.

Team or Principal Name

Hockey - Rick Seggie

Rick Seggie w-Mats Sundin

As an educator, Rick Seggie found a natural fit between his love of sports and instructing students. He strove to acquire the best information available and used that knowledge in a practical setting with both his students and athletes. He wanted to teach critical thinking in his classrooms and the skills that would allow athletes to excel in sport.

Many colleagues and fellow coaches would often describe his teachings and thought process as ‘ahead of his time’. One reason for that was that he did not only rely on his personal experience learning the sport, but focused on how the best athletes in the world excelled at all sports. What were the skills that would give his players an edge as hockey evolved into the high speed, high skill game it is today.

He knew there were experts in the field that were pushing forward new ways of training and would study them. He was interested in what could be learned from the success of the Central Red Army training methods during their reign, or other elite athletes, such as a 100 meter sprinter. What were the ways a sports psychologist would prepare athletes mentally, as well as physically.

Born in Toronto, Ontario on January 8th, 1953 and growing up in Scarborough, Rick played minor hockey in Dorset Park and West Hill, which later became the Scarborough Ice Raiders of the GTHL. This is where he developed a true love for the game. From his years of minor hockey through to University, his passion always surrounded coaching and education.

After graduating from the University of Toronto with his Bachelor of Education, Rick accepted his first teaching position in Morrisburg, Ontario. He jumped right into coaching with the local Winchester minor league in 1978-79, which is now part of the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League. In the early 80’s Rick took on a teaching position at Port Hope High School. He relocated to Peterborough, Ontario from where he would commute. Rick and his family finally moved to Cobourg, Ontario in 1983 after completing his Masters in Education.

Through his teaching years Rick was heavily involved in team sports. He first became involved in the track & field program at Port Hope High School and later took over the hockey program with many successful seasons. This led to coaching many of his students through Port Hope and Cobourg Minor hockey from the late 80’s through until the early 2000’s. His two sons, Paul and Jay, played on a few of those minor hockey teams, as well as the infamous backyard rinks that Rick would create every winter at their home in Cobourg.

His passion for teaching and learning the skills of the game was always present as he embarked on developing the sport through the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Rick became an Advanced Level Certification N.C.C.P Instructor and spent the better part of 25 years coaching and training other coaches to become certified, along with writing many of the training manuals himself. Many local people who knew Rick, would often be surprised to see his name on the elite level coaching manuals, as he was not one to brag about his accomplishments. These programs gave Rick some unique opportunities.

Highlights during this time were working with Canada’s National team as a guest coach (with Andy Murray and Roger Neilson), to leading the N.C.C.P. Advanced Seminars with Ken Dryden. Some of Rick’s affiliations with the Toronto Maple Leaf’s were in several of the MLSE development programs with Wendel Clark and Mats Sundin.

There were also many other interests in Rick’s life with his summer charter business, taking fishing groups out on his boat ‘ABACUS’, but he was always drawn back to hockey. Along with his summers fishing he was also instrumental in working with a number of the summer hockey programs in Ontario. Coaching the Central Ontario Selects (which later became the Wolves) AAA teams in the 90’s and helping get the Lakeshore Thunder AAA program off the ground in coaching and recruiting player development.

As his teaching years continued, he took a position in the Catholic school system as Head of Special Education at St. Mary’s Cobourg in 1992. At this time, the school was undergoing a lot of growth in their athletic programs and Rick took on the Varsity hockey program. From the early 90’s until present day this program has seen substantial growth, development and exposure, from a Europe Tour in 1997, to the annual Irish Rover tournaments on the campus of Notre Dame University. Rick was also involved in coaching several of the local girl’s programs through St. Mary’s High School hockey and the Northumberland Wild in Cobourg.

His focus was always on creating a learning moment and he often found that moment in sports. He loved seeing his players develop a new skill and watch it come to life in a game. There was never any panic behind the bench of his teams, as Rick had a thoughtful approach that followed a plan as though he had experienced it all before.

We lost Rick on December 5th, 2016 but his impact on the sport of hockey, his community, and the schools he taught at will never be forgotten.


Excerpts from an email to Paul Seggie from Richard Ropchan, former Executive Director of Ontario Hockey Association            

Your dad and I go back a long way during my 20 year involvement in the OMHA. As the Director of Development for my first 4 years I got to know your Dad very well and we became very close friends. We both came from a hockey coaching background and expressed the same passion for growing the game and making it more fun to play at all ages.

Your dad's personality and enthusiasm was contagious and I loved picking his brain for ideas on how to better teach the game. Being an educator most of his life he was a great communicator and had a good understanding of best teaching methods. He wasn't afraid to think outside the box and introduce new ideas to our OMHA Coach Instructors.

Rick was highly respected by his peers, someone everyone looked up to. I think Rick was a born leader. His talent, experience, passion and teaching skills were widely recognized through his involvement with HC, OHF and OMHA. He was a Master Course Conductor in the OMHA and was heavily involved in the creation and development of new coaching curriculum material for coaches. He was constantly asked to take part as a presenter at the Annual OMHA August Development Weekend.

He was always very generous with his time and willing to help out in any way whenever asked. I don't ever remember him saying no I'm too busy. Rick was also invited to attend numerous Coaching Development Seminars across the country where he was involved in committees with HC to create and write Instructional Manuals. He was also very actively involved in the OHF Coaches Development Committee which met regularly on an annual basis.

On another note, I was involved in Canada Inline and Coached the Men's National Inline Hockey Team and I asked your dad if he could help me create a National Coaching Manual for Inline Hockey. As busy as your dad was and the fact that he had very little or maybe no Inline Hockey coaching experience he still offered to give more of his precious time to help create this Coaching

Manual. We met once a week on a regular basis and before long we had created a draft copy of Coach Level I, II and III Coaching curriculum which is being used to some extent Internationally.

I think about your dad often and remember all the good times we had together. It was so sad to see him go at such a young age. He left quite a legacy behind in the Hockey Community. He always wanted to help make the game better and his enormous contributions will never be forgotten. He had a significant impact on my life and I can't express in words how much he meant to me.



Excerpt from an email to Jay Seggie from Corey McNabb, Director, Hockey Development  Programs, Hockey Canada

Here are some of the projects that he was involved with from a Hockey Canada perspective:

2004/05 – Hockey Canada Skills Manuals – National Writers Group

2006/07 – Hockey Canada Mentorship Program – Specialty Clinic Writers Group

2006 – 2009 – Hockey Canada Mentorship Program – Master Facilitator

Rick Seggie brought a wealth of experience and passion to the Hockey Canada Programs that he participated in. Through his nomination by the OMHA to assist on several National Writers Groups for Hockey Canada, Rick was a welcome participant who constantly stepped up to participate whether it was through writing, review or editing as Hockey Canada resources were created or updated. His expertise in the skill development area was a welcome addition to our National Writers Groups

Once the writing was complete, Rick became very active in the delivery of those materials and resources to minor hockey coaches and players and left a legacy in that part of the game focused on improving the knowledge and ability of coaches to teach the fundamental skills to their players. Rick attended every seminar he could and was always eager to learn and contribute as a Facilitator and Master Facilitator of the on ice clinics.

Rick was the first one to send through feedback from the coaches after he spent a weekend on the ice with them receiving accolades and positive comments. His willingness to contribute and participate has had a lasting eect on 100s of coaches over the years and he is known as one of the good guys within our Hockey Canada / OMHA families as someone who could always be counted on.


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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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Archery-Andrew Fagan (Dr)

Andrew Fagan

Archery - Andrew Fagan (Dr)

Northumberland chiropractor makes the best of shortened archery season

Dr. Andrew Fagan becomes No. 1 ranked archer in Canada, again


Northumberland News, Oct 22, 2020

Countless hours spent practising and training at home during the COVID-19 lockdown have paid off for local chiropractor Dr. Andrew Fagan, who has become the No. 1 ranked compound archer in Canada.

Fagan, a chiropractor at the Port Hope Health Centre, said he is lucky with his sport since participants are able to space out on a large field, stay in their lanes and have a safe event with limited amounts of people.


After competing at numerous events, he was able to cumulate scores that landed him on top of the national ranking list for the 2020 season.

“I am very happy with the success I had this year with the limited amounts of events available,” Fagan said. “(It) would have been nice to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the guys at outdoor nationals, hopefully we get to do it next year on Prince Edward Island.”


At the last event of the season Fagan was also able to achieve a new national record.

“(It) was good to finish the year on a high note. It has been a grind keeping up with my training plan, especially during the lockdown months, but in the end the results showed all the hard work put in behind the scenes,” he said.

He said archery, like other competitive sports, was on pause from mid-March through to the end of July.


As of Aug. 1, archery clubs across Canada began running COVID-19 safe outdoor national ranking events.

Earlier this year during the winter, he also had a successful indoor tournament season winning gold in both the national and provincial regional championships.


Fagan, 34, a resident of Baltimore, has been competing in archery for 26 years, has been a No. 1 ranked archer in Canada previously, and has been a member of the compound national team since 2007.

He has competed at the world championships, world cup circuit, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Championships, Canada Winter Games and was also a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.



Northumberland archer Andrew Fagan returns from nationals with gold, silver


Sarah Hyatt, Northumberland News, Sep 24, 2019

When he’s not working at the Port Hope Health Centre, there’s a good chance you’ll find Dr. Andrew Fagan with a bow.
“I first shot a bow when I was about six or seven,” says Fagan.

About a year or so later, Fagan would go on to compete in his very first tournament, at just eight years old.
Fagan learned the sport from his dad and grandpa, and as soon as he could pull a bow back, he says, he got right in there with them.
Twenty-five years later, Fagan’s still going strong. Not only does he still love it, he’s continuing to shoot his way to some pretty serious wins.
The 33-year-old chiropractor from Baltimore just returned home with gold and silver, after competing at the 2019 Canadian National Archery Championships.

He’s once again ranked as the No. 1 compound archer in Canada. Fagan’s been a member of Canada’s national team since 2007.
The 2019 national championships were hosted in Saskatchewan in August. Fagan took wins in field and target archery.

With the field event, archers shot three arrows at 24 target stations, with each of these stations set up at various distances and with targets varying in size depending on the distance. With a score of 396 in the event, Fagan took gold in the men’s compound division.
And he didn’t stop there.

Next, Fagan went on to compete in the target archery championship round.
Target archery involves shooting at a target 50 metres away. The total target face size is 80 centimetres in diameter, with the bull's-eye (or 10 ring) measuring just eight centimetres, explains Fagan.
First, Fagan says, archers had to shoot a qualification round to rank and be seeded into a bracket to shoot head to head in the finals at the Canadian Open on the last day.


Despite some windy conditions and a couple of technical issues with equipment, Fagan finished in the top three heading into the finals.
The finals featured the top 32 archers shooting head to head in what’s described as a bracket-style format for a 15-arrow match.
Advancing to the semifinals, Fagan says, he had a tight matchup right to the end, with the No. 1 seed after qualification. He earned his shot at gold after finishing with a maximum score of three perfect 10s.


Fagan went on to earn silver in the gold-medal matchup after he was defeated by a two-point margin.
After committing to eight weeks of consistent training and preparation to compete at the nationals and stepping onto the podium twice, he says he feels pretty good.


Previously, Fagan has competed at world championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup circuit, the Pan American Championships, and the Canada Winter Games. He was also a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.




Baltimore's Andrew Fagan shoots his way to world archery championships in Mexico City


Northumberland News, Aug 29, 2017

Andrew Fagan, a 31-year-old chiropractor from Baltimore, Ont., has won a spot on the Canadian archery national team destined for the world championships in Mexico City this October.

Fagan, originally from Ajax, competed in Montreal at national team trials on Aug. 5 to 7 and emerged with the most points of the three men who will represent Canada.


The top 16 male and female qualified archers in the country were invited for two days of head-to-head shooting to determine the team.  
The first day consisted of a 720-round score, shot at a distance of 50 metres on a 80-centimetre target face. The 10-ring, or bull's-eye, measures eight centimetres in diameter. Archers shoots 12 ends of six arrows to complete the four-hour, 72-arrow round.  

In difficult cold and windy conditions, Fagan was able to hold his own and finish first place for the day, well ahead of the group to earn crucial trial points toward the team.


With the field cut to eight archers on the second day, when every archer faced each other in head-to-head, 15-arrow matches, Fagan won six out of seven matches to finish first place overall for the round-robin day. He also pushed further ahead of the group with a match arrow average of 9.8, earning further trial points.  

The final team consists of Fagan, who earned 36 trial points, Robbie Nott from London (24) and Luc Martin from New Brunswick (22).


“It’s great to finish first at trials,” he said. “The competition was stiff, but I was fortunate to edge these guys out over the two days. These guys pushed me pretty good. I think we have a strong team going to Mexico.”  

The world championship is a special event for compound archers, occurring only every two years.


Directly following the trails, Montreal also hosted the Archery Canada national championships with a much larger pool of hundreds of archers from across the country.

Fagan continued to shoot well and finished with a silver medal in both the field and target championships.  


“It was a long 10-day trip of competing basically every day, all day,” he explained. “I think a lot of us archers had some amount of competition burnout going on, but myself and fellow national team members did well and finished strong at nationals after trials.”


Currently ranked as the No. 1 compound archer in Canada, Fagan has competed at world championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Championships and Canada Winter Games, and was a torch bearer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

When not shooting, he is a practising chiropractor at the Port Hope Health Centre.




Port Hope’s Andrew Fagan doesn’t crack under national archery pressure

Chiropractor wins 10th national title


Todd McEwen, Northumberland News, Sep 16, 2015

As a full-time chiropractor, Dr. Andrew Fagan doesn’t have a lot of free time.

He splits his six-day work week between his office in Pickering and Port Hope, travelling home to Bowmanville every night to relax for a few hours before he’s back to the daily grind.

“I work a lot,” he said.

Which is what makes his recent athletic achievement all that more impressive. When Dr. Fagan isn’t treating back and neck pain, he’s competing at a national level as an archer. It’s been a sport he’s invested time and money in for 22 years, and he’s now at the point in his career where he doesn’t need to practise at length to win championships.


He recently returned from Winnipeg where he claimed his 10th national compound archery championship. He was up against the best and most competitive archers in Canada. His competitors are familiar with him, just as he is with them. He knows most of them have nothing but time to hone their skills in their personal indoor arenas and acres of property. He’s best known for being a modest doctor who squeezes in a competition when he can and continues to win, year after year.

“It’s always been a hobby, it’s still even a hobby, even though I’m one of the top archers in the country,” he said, “I work. I work six days a week. The other guys just shoot. That’s all they do.”


Dr. Fagan’s been involved in athletics his entire life. He started, like most young Canadians, learning to glide on a pair of skates before picking up archery as a hobby 22 years ago. He was even drafted to the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes club in 2001.

It wasn’t until university that Dr. Fagan sidelined the nation’s pastime in favour of studying for his degree. When he wasn’t cramming for exams, he turned to his trusty bow to help relax.

“It was something to do to keep me sane,” he laughed. “Instead of going to the library and studying all the time. I just went and shot my bow for something to do.”


Since then, he and his bow have travelled the world. Two years ago, he finished 33rd in world championships in Turkey. Finishing top 40 was more than enough for the smalltown chiropractor.

“It was good for me -- a chiropractor that doesn’t practice that much,” he laughed.

During that competition, the worst-case scenario for archers unfolded: ferocious wind.

“That was the worst ones I’ve ever been in,” he said. “We had 50- to 70-km winds, it was crazy ... (this year’s) nationals was nothing compared to that.”


This year’s national competition faced its own case of severe wind.

“For some reason Winnipeg’s always windy when we have nationals there,” he said.

He believes if it wasn’t for the wind, he wouldn’t have been able to sneak ahead on the scoreboard during the first day and maintain a solid lead heading into the second round.

“On the competition days it was really windy and gusty,” he said. “That affects things quite a bit. But I’ve been doing it for so long I have a pretty good idea on how to pick your time to shoot into the wind. A lot of the other guys got frustrated and made goofy mistakes, so I was able to sneak ahead and stay ahead in the second day.”


Dr. Fagan said it usually takes about 20 to 30 seconds to load a bow, sight the target, pull back and release an arrow. Patience is key when wind is amuck, he said, because a typical shot won’t co-operate with Mother Nature’s invisible force.

“Some people take a little bit longer,” he said. “If there’s a break in the wind, I might load it up, get it in, pull back and shoot in 10 seconds where as other times I’m standing there waiting for a full minute, and I won’t bother to draw because it’s too windy.”

By the end of the second day, Dr. Fagan knew he could maintain the lead, as long as he “didn’t screw it up”. In the final hour-and-a-half stretch, he had 36 arrows left to shoot.


“Thirty-six arrows doesn’t sound like a lot, but it takes some time to get through it,” he said, adding his bow weighs about 60 pounds, which he holds straight out with one arm. “My mentality went from trying to hit the middle every time and pushing forward to just taking it easy, put them in there and stay ahead.”

His strategy unfolded in his favour and he took home another trophy to add to his mantle. How did his competition feel about it?

“No one knows how I do it,” he said. “I feel bad, too, because some of them will ask me, ‘Are you shooting more now?’ and I say, ‘Not really, no’.


“They say to become an expert, you need to put in 10,000 hours. I’ve passed that a long time ago.”




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Running-Gail Johns

Gail Johns


Gail Johns-Rees was born in Cobourg on February 10, 1955 and has the distinction of being the first female athlete from Cobourg to qualify for OFSSA.


Gail was a member of the CDCI West Track and Field Team from 1969-1974.  She set records in the 200M and 400M races at Kawarthas and COSSA, in the 60M, 100M, 200M and 400M at South Kawarthas, and qualified to compete in the 200M and 400M races at OFSSA. 


When Gail arrived at CDCI West in 1969, she was sought out by the late Jerry Lawless; having heard of her running accomplishments in elementary school, he insisted she attend track and field training on the back lawn of the high school.


   An opportunity that changed her life.


Along with the many medals Gail received and the records she set over the years at track events, she also received the “Female Athlete Award” from the Cobourg Legion in 1972.


CDCI West dedicated the “Johns Trophy for Outstanding Track Performance” in recognition for her accomplishments. The trophy went on to be presented to athletes for 42 years until it was retired when CDCI West closed its doors. 


Gail had the honour of presenting the trophy for the last time in 2015.


After high school Gail started distance running, competing for years in 5ks and 10ks, and ran marathons in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, and Boston. 


In 1994 Gail and her family moved to New Hampshire and at the age of 47, she discovered Masters Track and Field and returned to sprinting and her high school habits of breaking records! 


As a member of the Mass Velocity Track Club, she has been a nationally ranked masters sprinter for the past 20 years, competing in 50M, 60M, 100M, 200M, and 400M races. 


Gail has earned 17 USA National Masters Track medals, one of which she ran a leg of the 4X100 relay with the Canadian team and helped them win gold at the USA Masters National Meet in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2006. 


The singlet Gail wore when she represented the Canadian team was given to her by Karla Del Grand, Female Athlete of the Decade, World Masters Athletics. 


Gail has set 13 New Hampshire state records in the 50M, 60M, 100M, 200M, and 400M and has received five “Best Performance by a New Hampshire Athlete” awards from New Hampshire state meets between 2010 and 2019. 


She also has many state level medals from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine and has competed at venues such as Stanford, Harvard, and Boston universities and the Penn State relays where not only masters compete, but also elite high school students and Olympians.


Three records set in September 2021 qualify Gail to compete at the May 2022 Senior Nationals Track and Field meet in Fort Lauderdale.


In 2015, while sprinting to the finish line in a 200M race, Gail’s right Achilles tendon completely ruptured a few metres from the finish line causing her to fall and fracture her right shoulder. 


After surgery, being in a wheelchair initially, and two years of intensive rehab, Gail came back from that challenge to set five of the records noted above.


In 2021, Gail and three of her masters’ teammates were featured on a New Hampshire TV station to promote the fitness, health, camaraderie, and competition benefits of masters track field. 


Gail’s masters track life has included many years of competing at college and university meets, not only masters’ specific meets; she really enjoys being with young athletes and they are encouraged by the fact that competing on the track can truly be a lifetime sport.


It has been decades since Gail was on the back lawn of CDCI West where it all began, but she says to this day, “As I step onto the track and settle into the starting blocks, Mr. Lawless is still with me.”


By Elizabeth Johns-Dickson



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Softball-Margie Matthews

Marg Matthews

Softball-Margie Matthews

by Patsy (Currelly) Hand

Margaret Anne Matthews was born on May 15, 1960, in Cobourg. From a very young age, Margie was an abundantly talented, multi-sport athlete who consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership. Her enthusiasm was contagious.


While in high school at CDCI West, 1974-1979, she played each year on the basketball, volleyball and badminton teams. She was on the track team and participated in javelin, discus, shotput and the 4 x 100 relay teams. It was in javelin that she excelled. In 1978 she was voted MVP of the basketball team, the volleyball team, she received a coaching award and was the school’s Athlete of the Year.


She was also awarded Cobourg's Athlete of the Year that year. In 1979, CDCI West created the “Matthews Award" which was presented to students for performance and leadership. After high school she played varsity hockey and basketball. She has been awarded Athletic Letters at all levels of school: public, high school and university levels.

Margie burst onto the provincial softball stage at the age of 12 when she played for David and Clarke Sommerville’s  Sinclair Mustangs. They were successful in capturing the Ontario Novice Championship in 1972. Here is how David recalls Margie’s contribution to the win in the qualifying tournament leading up to the finals….

At 14, Margie Matthews joined Paul Currelly’s Cobourg Angels Juvenile softball team and competed against players that were 18 and 19 years of age.
Margie’s talents continued to shine. While playing with the Angels, she won two more Ontario Titles at the Junior B level in 1975 and 1976. In 1977, Paul decided to start a Midget Cobourg Angel team and as Margie was still eligible to play at this level, he built the team around her.

She was the captain that year and won the batting championship. Her determination, positivity and talent motivated the team to achieve a higher standard of play. She continued to play with the Angels and won an Ontario title in 1979 (Juvenile). Comments from her coach, Paul Currelly follow: 

Margie left Cobourg for university and played Senior Tier I fastball with the Kitchener Kieswetters. She returned to Cobourg in 1984(Senior Tier II) and helped the Cobourg Angels win another Ontario Title. In 1985 Margie started a full-time job in New Hamburg and again left the area and played Senior Tier I softball with Kitchener.

She won their outstanding player award that year. In 1986 she was picked up by an opposing team, the St. Clements Suns to attend Expo ’86, a mini world tournament in Vancouver. In 1989 her team, the St. Clements Suns won an Ontario Senior Tier I Championship and went to the Canadians, placing 4th.

Margie continues to be an amazing athlete as a golfer. She has won 18 Club Championships (Stratford (16) & Craigowan-Oxford (2)). She played for team Ontario in 2004 and won a Canadian interprovincial title.


She won an Ontario 4-ball Tournament with MaryAnn Hayward in 2007 and an Ontario mid-Am tournament in 2009 (73-75-69). In 2011 she made the Ontario senior team that won a Canadian interprovincial title. She had a Golf Ontario Mid-Am ranking of 4th and 5th in 2009-2011.

Margie has not only been an amazing athlete but she also has coached volleyball and badminton at the high school level, coached softball at the Midget level and was assistant coach to the 1990 Cobourg Angels Senior Tier I fastball team that won the Ontario title and then went to the Canadian championship and placed 4th. She was a Softball Canada clinic instructor and has refereed volleyball, basketball and umpired softball.  

As an athlete Margie has had many accomplishments in multiple sports and continues to add to these accomplishments but it is her talent, her work ethic, her enthusiasm and her love for sports that raises her above her peers.




1974 - 1979 Participated on basketball, volleyball, badminton, and track & field (javelin, discus, shotput and 4x100 relay) teams. (Lots of awards) 

1975 - won midget javelin (92' 4") & discus(74') both South Kawartha records, Kawartha javelin (92'6") and placed 6th at C.O.S.S.A.

1978 - MVP basketball, MVP volleyball, Coaching Award, Athlete of the Year

1978 - Cobourg Athlete of the Year

1979 - Won Senior South Kawartha javelin  (98'5"), won Kawartha Singles badminton

1977 - 1979 President co-ed Athlete Association

1979 - Awarded newly created 'Matthews Award' for Performance and Leadership (awarded annually until school closed)

1979 - awarded 'Citizenship Award' (Burnett - Drope)

Awarded public school, high school and university athletic letters

Refereed volleyball and basketball throughout high school

Umpired one summer, girls Cobourg softball


1972 - Ontario Novice Champions 'Sinclair Mustangs'

1975 - Ontario Junior B Champions, 'Cobourg Angels'

1976 - Ontario Junior B Champions, 'Cobourg Angels' (team was voted Cobourg Athlete of the Year)

1979 - Ontario Juvenile A Champions, 'Cobourg Angels'

1984 - Ontario Sr Tier II Champions, 'Cobourg Angels'

1986 - St. Clements Suns picked Margie up to attend the Expo 86 'mini world fastball tournament', held in Vancouver, B.C. Teams participating were  from Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Chinese-Taipei and the host Vancouver team

1989 - Ontario Sr Tier I Champions, Cambridge/St. Clements Suns

1989 - National Sr Tier I Championships Cambridge/St. Clements Suns (finished 4th)

1990 - Ontario Sr Tier I Champions, Asst. Coach, 'Cobourg Angels' 

1990 - National Sr Tier I Championships, Asst. Coach, 'Cobourg Angels' (finished 4th)


1979 - 1980 Centennial College varsity College hockey- Co-MVP

1980 - 1981 Wilfrid Laurier University- varsity basketball team- Voted Rookie of the Year

1981 - 1982 Wilfrid Laurier University- varsity basketball team

1983 - 1989 competitive Senior womens  hockey- Kitchener and St Clements


1978 - Midget girls volleyball - CDCI West

1979 - Midget girls volleyball - CDCI West

1983 - Badminton - CDCI West

1983 - Stratford Midget girls softball team

1983 - Softball Canada - clinic instructor

1990 - Cobourg Angels, assistant coach, senior fastball team

GOLF - 1993-present

2004 - made Ontario women's amateur team by placing 4th at ON tourney
- team Ontario won Canadian inter-provincial title

2007 - won Ontario 4-ball tournament with MaryAnn Hayward

2009 - won Ontario Mid-Am title at Markland Woods (73-75-69)

2011 - made Ontario senior team by placing 3rd at ON tournament
- team Ontario won Canadian inter-provincial title
- placed 8th at Canadian tournament at Whitevale G.C.

2009 - 2011 Golf Ontario mid-am ranking 4th and 5th 2009-2011

Won 16 Stratford Club championships, 2 at Craigowan-Oxford


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Strength-Kevin Fast

Kevin Fast


Kevin Fast

Born: April 13, 1963, St. Catharines, ON


Wife- Suzanne
Children – Abigail, Jacob, Matthew


North Park Collegiate, Brantford, ON.  Diploma  1982
McMaster University B.A. 1998. (Bachelor)
Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, M.Div., 1992.(Master)
Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., D.Min., 2002.(Doctor)

Strength Sports:

Heavy Events amateur competitor 1994-1996
Heavy Events professional competitor 1996- still going
Games organizer 1996- still going
Competed in Canada, USA, Scotland, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, China, Singapore, Thailand and Germany

World Records:

Guinness World Record 1998– Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft – 16 ton
Ripley’s Record            1999– Heaviest trucks pulled over 100ft -2x16 ton
Guinness World Record 2001– Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft. – 27 ton
Guinness World Record 2003– Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft. – 28 ton
Guinness World Record 2004– Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft. – 51.4 ton
Guinness World Record 2007-  Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft  - 63 ton
Guinness World Record 2008– Heaviest truck pulled with arm wrestling – 8.5 ton

Guinness World Record 2008-  Most people walking on stilts for 100 m

Guinness World Record 2008-  Heaviest truck pulled over 100ft - 63.2 ton

Guinness World Record 2009-  Heaviest plane pulled – 208 ton

Guinness World Record 2010-  Lifted and held 500kg for longest time 42s

Guinness World Record 2010- Heaviest House pulled 40 ton

Guinness World Record 2011- Heaviest truck pulled with arm wrestling– 12 ton

Guinness World Record 2011– Heaviest vehicle pulled by two people – 75 ton

Ripley’s Record             2011– Most people back lifted – 22 people

Guinness World Record 2011– Lifted and held 500 kg for longest time 60s

Guinness World Record 2011-  Most people lifted with shoulders – 10 people

Guinness World Record 2013–Heaviest truck pulled with arm wrestling–12.5 ton

Guinness World Record 2013-  Most people lifted with shoulders – 11 people

Guinness World Record 2013-  Most cabers tossed in 3 minutes - 14

Guinness World Record 2013-  Heaviest sled pulled by Santa – 17.5 ton

World Record 2013- Stan Lee's Superhumans- Heaviest truck pulled - 140 ton

Guinness World Record 2014– Most cabers tossed simultaneously - 52

Guinness World Record 2014– Most cabers tossed in 3 min. by two people - 11

Guinness World Record 2014– Most cars pulled 5 meters – 15

Guinness World Record 2015- Most cabers tossed simultaneously - 69

Guinness World Record 2015- Most cabers tossed in 3 min by 2 people– 15

Guinness World Record 2016– Heaviest truck pulled with arm wrestling – 16 ton

Guinness World Record 2016– Heaviest vehicle pulled by two people– 91 ton

Guinness World Record 2016– Heaviest vehicle pulled by one person– 75 ton

Guinness World Record 2017– Heaviest vehicle pulled by one person– 109 ton

Guinness World Record 2017– Heaviest vehicle pushed by one person-  12 tons

Guinness World Record 2017– Heaviest vehicle pulled in seated position–12 tons

Guinness World Record 2018– Most cabers tossed in one hour – 122

Guinness World Record 2020-  Heaviest sled pulled – 18 ton


World Records set in Canada, USA, Italy, China.

Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: 300 lbs.


Pulled trucks to raise money for:

Pull for Kids (Lung Association – Asthma)
Waumer Walk (ALS)

Tim Horton’s Kid’s Camp

Soldier On

McDonald’s Children’s Charities
Fire Prevention Week

Habitat for Humanity

Alzheimer’s Society

TV appearances:

TLC “World’s Most Awesome Record Breakers”
TBS, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”
CTV “Canada AM”
CBC “The X”
Global “News Special”
Global “100 Huntley St.”
City TV “Breakfast TV”
Real TV
Discovery Channel “Record Breakers”
Documentary, “Good to Finish”
Discovery Channel “Daily Planet.”

ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox “Regis and Kelly”, “Anderson” “Steve Harvey”

AT&T Uverse – Record Breakers

History Channel - Stan Lee Super Humans



Shoes are on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, St. Augustine, Florida
Shoes are on display at Guinness World Records Museum, Niagara Falls, Canada


Books and Magazines:

Guinness Desk top calendar 1999
Guinness World Book of Records 2003
Guinness World Book of Records 2004
Guinness World Book of Records 2005

Guinness World Book of Records 2009

Guinness World Book of Records 2010

Guinness World Book of Records 2011

Guinness World Book of Records 2012

Guinness World Book of Records 2013

Guinness World Book of Records 2014

Guinness World Book of Records 2015

Guinness World Book of Records 2016

Guinness World Book of Records 2017

Guinness World Book of Records 2018

Guinness World Book of Records 2020

Guinness World Book of Records 2021

Ripley’s Believe It or Not 2005 (Blue Ed.)
Ripley’s Believe It or Not 2005 (Scholastic)
Ripley’s Believe It or Not “Odd-inary People”  

Ripley’s Believe It or Not 2011, 2013

Muscle and Fitness April 2005 (Ten Greatest Strength Feats)
Muscle and Fitness December 2005

Sports Illustrated Dec.11, 2009 Best Pictures of the Year

ESPN The Magazine Sept. 21, 2010



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Bowling-Cobourg Short Mat

Short Mat Bowling Mats


It was at a meeting on October 13, 1998 at the prompting of Mrs Dorothy Allen, OLBA representative, when the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club executive introduced the subject of starting up a club for Short Mat Bowling. 

The game of Short Mat Bowls, a very popular indoor sport played in the UK, appeared to be the answer for we Canadians to keep active and fit during the winter months. At present, 2021, the Cobourg Short Mat Club is active from October through to the end of April.

Short Mat Bowling by no means is restricted to the UK and Ireland but internationally thriving national associations also exist in Belgium, Sweden and Norway. Although a variation of lawn bowls, Short Mat is relatively modern, its origins appear to be wrapped in a mystery of folk lore and dates back to about 1926 in Belfast.

Once the presentation was finished there was no hesitation with nineteen lawn bowlers signing up immediately, and a further 20 names on the ‘interested’ checklist. Dorothy Allen, following up on a tip from John Schumann, wasted no time in arranging the use of the drill hall of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. A locker and storage room for the mats were also provided by the militia.  

Three 30’ by 6’ old carpet bowls mats were donated by Dorothy Allen and John Schumann. They were cut and spliced to make two 45’ regulation size carpets for Short Mat Bowling. Dorothy also advised us that three more mats (tournament size) were available on loan from the Ontario Association. Reg Longman donated a dolly which Emil Lindt converted into a storage vehicle for the mats.  

A committee was formed, and volunteers used their skills to build the fenders and equipment needed for playing the game. Other volunteers stepped forward to fill the needed positions to look after the financials, insurance, organizational needs, coaching and liaison with the Lawn Bowling Club who provided name tags and ‘Jacks’ on loan until we were able to purchase the correct heavier ones later in the season.


AND SO THE BOWLING BEGAN – October 17, 1998 to April 29, 1999

The original 19 members grew throughout the season to 47.  The highlight of our first season was hosting the 1999 Ontario Short Mat Bowling Championships on March 6th and 7th. With the help of the Niagara Falls Bowling Club who loaned us four additional mats we were able to accommodate eight mats of pairs. Bowlers belonging to clubs from Chatham, Bradford, Niagara Falls, Burlington, Oshawa, Brampton, and Cobourg entered the competition.  

Fred Stringer (Tournament Chair), Ross Adams (Drawmaster) and Peter Kurita (Umpire) presented the winning teams with a handsome silver trophy and prize money. Participants enjoyed dinner at the Cobourg Yacht Club thanks to Myrtle Wardman and Dorothy Allen. The Cobourg Town Crier presented gifts and souvenirs. 

In 1999 with the expert guidance of John Simpson we were successful in obtaining a Trillium Foundation Grant totalling $8,000.00 to be paid in two installments. We initially purchased four new mats from Verdi Sports Limited, UK which we received in January 2000. Two more mats arrived in September which enabled the 2000/2001 season to increase in membership to over 70.

Eventually the club raised enough money to purchase a seventh mat in February 2003. Typical cost of a single mat including shipment from England, customs, and trucking charges amounted to approximately $2,000 Canadian.




We endeavoured to hold in-club tournaments once a month, often with a theme such as ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘Snowflake’, ‘President’s Tourney’, ‘Skip-A-Long Loonie’ and ‘the Springfest Tournament’ which has been an annual competition with the Brighton Short Mat Club for many years. Another annual tournament was named the “John Schumann Tournament and Pizza Party” in honour of John who bowled well into his 80s.

Most of the in-club tournaments included potluck lunches or perhaps reservations for dinner in a local restaurant afterwards. A record of the winning scores were kept and an AWARD printed and posted on the club bulletin board each month for all to see.



Every Christmas would be celebrated with specially planned events to include the members and their spouse or guest. Arrangements for dinner, entertainment, dancing, a gift table and of course the special guests – Mr and Mrs Clause. Often there would be games, puzzles, or something unexpected distributed to the gang. One year each person was handed a ‘santa hat’ and was told that they must wear it all evening or possibly be asked to perform a silly dance or recite a poem or something. No one took off their hat that evening.

We also organized ‘end of season’ parties. Rented a hall, caterer, entertainment, square dancing lessons. And did we like cake? We made a cake for JOE’s 80th, we made cakes for the Schumann Tournaments, and for the invited Brighton Short Mat Club. If something needed to be celebrated, then we made a cake.



Whereas we always enjoyed our time at the Armories and the special attention of the Sergeant who was always more than happy to help us, the drill hall had no natural light. We didn’t mind the challenge of the uneven concrete floor, or attempting to avoid running into the columns and walls with a stray bowl. The somewhat tight spacing of the carpets was quite a challenge as well and so we felt it was time to consider a change.  

With construction completed in 2007 of the new Cobourg Community Centre on D’Arcy Street, we made inquiries of the cost of renting a gym, year-round storage space for our carpets and equipment in a secure location, and an available meeting room. Negotiations were made and costs agreed upon, the days and time periods scheduled, and we have been enjoying the sport of Short Mat Bowling at the CCC ever since. But unfortunately, no cake, pizza or drinks are allowed in the gym.



At the start of the 2017 short mat bowling season the club joined the newly formed Canadian Short Mat Bowling Association (CSMBA). This meant that Cobourg bowlers were eligible to compete in the first National Championships to be held at the JJ Mat Club in Etobicoke in November 2017. The Championship was also a qualifier for the 2018 World Championships in Stromstad, Sweden.

Cobourg had six members competing - Martin Foxhall, Ralph Hewitt, Dave Jones, Nancy Fargo, Louisa Arthur and Bill Arthur. Gold and Silver winners in each event (singles, pairs, triples, and fours) qualified for the twenty member Canadian team. Martin Foxhall won gold in the Pairs and silver in the Singles but was unable to take his place on the Canadian team due to other commitments.

In the Nationals a player could enter more than one discipline in the week-long event but not in the Worlds. Qualifiers could only play in one discipline and because of that ruling the fourth place Triples team of Bill Arthur, Louisa Arthur and Nancy Fargo were selected since members of the Triples teams in silver and bronze positions had already qualified in other disciplines. Additionally, Ralph Hewitt got a wild card selection based on his performance and played in the Pairs.

In March 2018, the Cobourg bowlers made their way to Sweden for the three-day event. Short mat bowling is a far more widespread sport in Europe than in Canada. The Europeans have regular tour events whereas in Canada it is a sport played primarily for social reasons. The Canadians knew they would be very much the underdogs but, as in any sport, they were proud to be wearing their Canada shirts and representing their country.  

It is a moment they will always remember marching into the arena for the opening ceremony. There were short mat bowlers from ten other countries - England, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Italy, India, Denmark and Germany.

The Championships were held over three days and each team played a six-game round robin. Despite some valiant performances the Canadian team recorded few victories, and the Cobourg members did not win any of their games. Unfortunately and in defence of the Arthur/Fargo triples team they were badly hit by sickness. Louisa Arthur had to pull out of the team on the first day whilst Bill was also recovering from sickness. 

A spare was drafted into the team for Day 1. Louisa was able to play on Day 2 but not for the final game on Day 3 by which time Nancy Fargo had caught whatever was going round. Despite the problems the team enjoyed the experience and learned some valuable lessons which would serve them well for the future. And it is fair to say, had some enjoyable social events and made new friends.

In November 2018, the second Canadian National Championships were held again at the JJ Mat Club in Etobicoke. Since the World Championships are only held every two years the 2018 National Championships were not a qualifier although performances would result in ranking points for the 2020 Worlds.

Martin Foxhall was once again prominent winning two gold medals and one silver.  Bill and Louisa Arthur were also competing in Triples again but with Mike Place on this occasion and they won the gold medal defeating the top two seeds on the way.



After two National Championships at the JJ Mat Club, CSMBA was looking for a new venue for the 2019 Championship competitions and approached the Cobourg club with a request to host the Championship games in November. After a lot of organization by club members the necessary arrangements were made to ensure the availability of a gym and adjoining lunchroom at the Cobourg Community Centre for the six-day event.  

Club volunteers took turns to serve tea, coffee, beverages and food and snacks to the bowlers between games during the week. Much gratitude to sponsors and donors for over $2,800.00 raised to help cover expenses.

Holding the event in Cobourg was a great success with competitors from Brampton, Burlington, Cobourg, Kingston, Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Toronto complimenting the facilities and the warm welcome of the Cobourg club members. Holding it in Cobourg also meant more entries from Cobourg members who enjoyed the opportunity to compete against some excellent bowlers without having to travel out of town.

No disrespect is meant to the Cobourg Pairs team of Mike Place and John MacKenzie, but they were the big surprise of the Championships taking gold in the Pairs and automatically qualifying for the World 2020 Championships in Belgium. They even surprised themselves!

As was the case in previous years there were some players who were multiple winners and so selection came down to performances in 2019 and 2018. As a result (and not because he was a CSMBA Director and selector) Bill Arthur was selected to play singles and Louisa Arthur as a member of a triples team.

However, then came COVID-19 and the World Championships in Belgium were postponed and are scheduled to be held in 2022. The National Championships were anticipated to be held in Cobourg again in 2020 but also had to be postponed. They are now scheduled for November 2021 in Cobourg. 

As a footnote to this article, 22 years after that initial meeting on October 13, 1998, some of the members who helped establish the club still enjoy the camaraderie and friendly competition of Short Mat Bowling. To name a few - Malcolm and Myrtle Wardman, Basil and Jean Fox, Ross Adams, Marilyn McMillan, Martin Foxhall, Dianne Lauder, and Donna Longman.  

And this article would be incomplete if I did not mention Harry Knapper, a long-time member of the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club for over 50 years, a Cobourg Short Mat Bowling Club member of 20 years and still active in both sports at the young age of ‘in his late 80s’.   

2018 World Championships in Sweden.  Part of the Canadian team of 20 Nancy Fargo, Ralph Hewitt, Louisa & Bill Arthur

2019 Canadian National Championships in Cobourg Mike Place, John MacKenzie Gold in Pairs presented by Elaine Houtby (VP CSMBA)


Description of the equipment and basic rules of play

Short mat bowls is an indoor version of lawn bowls and is played with normal lawn bowls. It is played on a foam backed carpet which is 45 feet long and 6 feet wide. The mat has the required lines permanently marked on it. A wooden fender is placed at both ends to simulate the “ditch” in lawn bowls and to keep the bowls from rolling off the mat. A wooden block sits in the centre of the mat. Players have to avoid their bowl contacting the block on their way down the mat. The fine shape of each bowl imposes a 'bias' which causes the bowl to follow a curved route. The 'jack' is the target that sits near the end of the mat.

A short mat game can have a variable length of play. The length of play is normally an agreed number of ‘ends’. At the Cobourg club a game is usually eight ends.

In serious competition matches, such as the Canadian Nationals and the World Nationals a higher number of ends are played. Typically, this will be twelve ends minimum.

In club games teams will usually be pairs or triples. In pairs each player rolls four bowls. In triples it is three bowls each.  At national and international levels there are four disciplines, singles, pairs, triples and fours.

To start the game the winner of the toss decides which team will play first. The skip of the team playing first places the jack on a central line and at their preferred length. After that the team that wins the end plays first.

Short mat bowls is very similar to lawn bowls in that the object is for each player, or team, to take turns rolling bowls down the mat in an attempt to getting as many of the bowls as close as possible and closer to the target, the 'jack', than their opponent. The main difference is in the size of the playing area and the presence of the block midway down the rink mat. The presence of the block is to reduce an attempt of players knocking their opponents' bowls away from the existing position.

Players are encouraged to use the natural bias of the bowls to manoeuvre around the block and any other bowls or indeed, promote an existing bowl. Any bowls that touch the block, or land in the ditch area are dead and are removed before the next bowl is sent. A bowl which has touched the jack en route to the ditch, remains 'alive' and will count in the scoring. The skill in playing short mat bowls comes from the bias of the bowl and the skill of 'delivering a bowl to a position where it either counts in the score or is used as a defender, blocking a route to change positions.

The game is equally enjoyed by all ages as age has no bearing on the ability to bowl.


Source: Donna Longman


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Hockey-Steve Smith

Steve Smith 90-91

Edmonton Oilers Legend: Steve Smith

Reprinted w-permission Greatest Hockey by Joe Pelletier

It never mattered how good of a defenseman Steve Smith became. And he became a very good one.

But he will always be remembered for The Goal!

It is one of the most famous goals in Stanley Cup playoff history, if only for all the wrong reasons. Smith accidentally puts the puck in his own net in the third period of a tied game seven, putting his team on the brink of elimination. The two time defending champion Edmonton Oilers never recovered, and are knocked out of the playoffs by their arch rivals, the Calgary Flames.

Smith was just a rookie then. Such a devastating occurrence could easily have wrecked many a young defensemen's career. While most people will remember Steve Smith for the mistake, people should remember him for his resolve and becoming one of the better defensemen of his era.

Success in hockey never came easy for Smith.

He was never drafted by a junior team. He grew up out of the scout's radar in the tiny town of Cobourg, Ontario. When his teams traveled to tournaments, scouts were unimpressed with the gangly kid who found his big body too awkward to be effective.

Smith stuck with the game, and by age 17 he grew to 6'3" and 180lbs, enough to catch the attention of his hometown London Knights. Smith, who was actually born in Glasglow, Scotland of all places, made the team, though played the first half of the season as the 4th line right winger.

By his NHL draft year he filled out to 225lbs, and played regularly on the blue line. Despite his promising skill set, he was a mid round draft pick, selected 111th overall by the Edmonton Oilers.

Smith was not even the highest selected Steve Smith of his draft class. Taken in the 1st round, 16th overall by Philadelphia, was another Steve Smith, this one of Sault Ste. Marie.

That Steve Smith was supposed to be more of a sure bet, but he only played in 18 career NHL games.

Meanwhile the Oilers Smith went on to become one of better defensemen of his era, playing in 804 games, scoring 72 goals, 303 assists, and 375 points while winning three Stanley Cups and a Canada Cup.

We would be remiss to not mention his career 2139 penalty minutes, which is amazing given that he was not a noted fighter. Smith was an intimidating monster back on the blue line, not afraid to impose his 6'4" 220lb body on any incoming forward.

Blessed with balance and agility on his skates and ridiculously long reach, Smith was tough to beat one on one. He was also very good at reading the oncoming plays and was always in good position to defend.

Smith was much more than just one dimensional shut down defenseman. He had surprising mobility, able to cover more ice and maximize his physical impact. He could rush the puck out of the zone when needed, but more often than not relied on an effective first pass out of the zone to key the transition offense.

Smith had a solid offensive game, relying mostly on slapshot from the point. His shot was not particularly overwhelming, but he had a good knack to get the shot through traffic and on net.

Smith persevered after the playoff disaster to become one of the Oilers best defenders. When the Oilers recaptured the Stanley Cup in 1988, captain Wayne Gretzky immediately handed the silver chalice to young Smith.

As the dynasty became dismantled over the next few years, Smith became the Oilers top defender. At the same time he became a bit a whipping dog for coach John Muckler. Muckler obviously recognized Smith's resolve and used that to continuously prod him. He recognized Smith's unique package of skill and size, and wanted to use old-school coaching techniques to see Smith reach his potential.

Like so many of the Oilers Stanley Cup stars, contract disputes forced Smith out of town. In October 1991 the Oilers moved Smith to Chicago in exchange for Dave Manson and a draft pick used to select Kirk Maltby. Smith had sat out the Oilers training camp and was prepared to sit out the beginning of the season in search of a new contract.

In the first two seasons with Chicago Smith became a steady standout along side Chris Chelios in Chicago. Injuries derailed Smith's career over the final four years in Chicago. Twice Smith broke his leg, and he constantly battled a bad back. Smith would miss more games than he would be able to play in.

The Blackhawks did not want him in 1998. The back injury scared all teams away except for, of all teams, the Calgary Flames.

Smith joined the Flames and put in a yeoman's effort, playing through the pain to participate in 69 games while providing a badly needed veteran presence.

Smith's back would give out though. Combined with a severe concussion suffered against Minnesota, Smith would appear in only 33 games over the next two seasons, eventually being forced into retirement and behind the Flames bench as an assistant coach.


Source: Posted by Joe Pelletier Greatest Hockey



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Hockey-Steve Smith - The Goal!

Steve Smith 1987 sesqui parade

happy birthday, 1986: fuhrsie was late getting back in the net, and smitty just tried to cut the corner



It was his birthday, of course, happened to be. I can’t say how much that multiplied the misery for the man in question, if at all, or how much of a sting he still feels, 32 years on from that day in 1986 — like yesterday, April’s last — when, as a rookie defenceman for the Edmonton Oilers, he scored what has become hockey’s most famous self-inflicted goal, which I (obviously) don’t have to specify further due to how notorious it is, though maybe I should all the same (just to be clear) by naming the man now synonymous with putting a puck past your own surprised goaltender: Steve Smith.

Calgary was in Edmonton that long-ago day, playing Game 7 of the Smythe Division Final. Smith was 63 games into his career with the Oilers, who were hunting their third Stanley Cup in a row. He’d just turned — was still not finished turning — 23. The score was tied 2-2 when, at 5:14 of the third period, Smith found himself behind his own net, rapping the puck off Grant Fuhr’s leg, into that net, to score the goal that not only won the reviled Flames the game but eliminated the Oilers from the playoffs.

So, a big mistake. But other defencemen have done what Steve Smith did, in important games, as have lots of forwards. He’s the only one to have had his entire career as a hockey player reduced to a single misdirected pass. As recently as 2016, a writer in a major American magazine referred to Smith as having suffered “perhaps the most devastating embarrassment the NHL has ever seen.” Really — ever? How is it that his goal has become both the exemplar for hockey self-scoring and, for Smith, the act that has come to define an otherwise distinguished 16-year career on NHL bluelines to those of us who were watching the game in the 1980s? And how can that be fair?


I take this all a little personally. Smith is a player I’ve followed with special interest since he first skated into the NHL. At first my attention was almost entirely nominal. He’s not much older than me, and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario, just to the south of where I was in Peterborough. I ended up taller; he managed to win many more Stanley Cups than I ever could. It wasn’t hard to imagine his career as my own. No problem at all: I’ve got way more imagination, in fact, than I do actual hockey skills, so it was easy to fancy myself out there, numbered 5, in William-of-Orange/Oiler colours, alongside the most exciting players of the age, Gretzky and Messier and Kurri and Coffey.

Smith wasn’t exciting, but I liked his lanky style, which had just a hint, in those early years, of my own trying-too-hard clumsiness. I felt for him in 1986, and maybe even thought I could help him shoulder the burden. I couldn’t, of course — how could I? For a long time, years, any time I got on the ice for a beer-league game I did think demon thoughts about shooting the puck past my own goaltender midway through the third period. I never did it, though I’m pretty sure some of my teammates expected me to, also — especially the goaltenders.


Smith’s old goal is old news, but it’s also (like everything else) as current and quick-to-the-fore as your Google search window. Search (go on) and the page that beams up with an efficiency that’s easy to mistake for eagerness shows Smith prostrate on the ice after the goal and tearful in the dressing room.

The goal has eternal life, of course, on YouTube. Funny Moments In Sports — Steve Smith Scores On Himself the footage there tends to be titled, and the commentaries run on and on. Some of them do their best to exonerate Smith —

Grant Fuhr should have been hugging the post when Smith attempted his pass

— while others are more interested in forensic dissections:

After about 50 viewings over 20 years, I finally see how it happened… Fuhr’s stick came downwards just as Smith passed the puck, and it went off Fuhr’s stick and in, Smith thought there was a lane there to clear it cause Fuhr’s stick was up at the time… does that sound right?

There’s every degree of pity, and plenty of character-witnessing—

Poor guy

if i didnt know any better it looks almost as if that was purposely done. but still i feel sorry for smith

this isnt funny

i played for steve smith. greatest guy in the world.

People enjoy the goal as entertainment —

lol you know whats funny. next season, when the oilers played the flames in the saddledome, flames fans would yell “SHOOOOT!!” when smith was behind his net looking for a play LOLOLOL. by the way, the 07 stanley cup was won by almost the exact same “anti-play”

and also count it as revenge —

Steve Smith is also the guy who made a dirty play that took Pavel Bure into the boards and hurt his knee. Bure was never the same again. Smith took out the most exciting player in the game at that time, what a jerk.

A conclusion drawn by some online commentators on the Smith goal?

oilers suck.

More formal reviews of what happened were plentiful, of course. Terry Jones was one who described the goal for newspaper readers the next morning with minimal drama:

When Steve Smith passed the puck from behind his net and hit goaltender Grant Fuhr on the back of his left leg, the puck bounced into the net, breaking a 2-2 tie and breaking the backs of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

Jones wrote for The Edmonton Sun, so the headline went for maximum blare:


For a lede he went with “one of the biggest bonehead plays in the history of all sport.” There was a lot of that. Infamy is another  word that repeats through subsequent accounts of the goal, almost as abundantly as gaffe. Mentions of mortal wounds and witness protection programs follow on allusions to the caprice of the hockey gods. The Oilers’ collective overconfidence was seen early on as a contributing factor to what happened to them via Smith’s own goal, along with their arrogance.

Smith’s birthday featured prominently in the coverage, e.g. Rex MacLeod’s Toronto Star lede asserting that he will never forget the one in which he aged a lifetime.

Often recalled in the aftermath was the fact that Smith only played that night because Lee Fogolin was injured.

Flames’ winger Perry Berezan got the credit for the goal as the last Calgary player to touch the puck. “I think I am the only man in history to score a series-winning goal from the bench,” he said later. “I had dumped the puck into the Edmonton zone when I was front of my own bench, and I didn’t even see it go in. I remember how strange it was on the bench when the goal was scored. It was quiet. We were asking, What just happened? and guys were saying, Steve Smith bounced the puck off of Fuhr. It’s a goal!


That’s a later take, so far as I can determine. On the night, Berezan was quoted as saying, “This is too unbelievable to be true” and “I couldn’t dream it any better.”

There was wide acknowledgement in those contemporary accounts that Berezan was the only native-born Edmontonian on Calgary’s roster, and that his birthday was Christmas Day, following which he grew up as an Oilers’ fan. Also: his uncle was the organist at the Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum.

Berezan’s sympathy took year’s to emerge into the wild: until 2016, in fact, when Ben Arledge at ESPN The Magazine stirred the grave of Smith’s unmeant goal. This is the piece wherein you’ll see Smith’s mortification rated “the most devastating” the NHL has ever witnessed; other than that, it’s plausible. Berezan, interestingly, tells Arledge that he wanted to say something to Smith back in ’86, but he was 21, and some of the Flames veterans told him never to feel sorry for a beaten opponent, and so he kept quiet, not a word. “But,” he says, “I felt terrible for the guy.”


I doubt that Lanny McDonald was one of those unnamed veterans implicated here — that just doesn’t sound like Lanny. In the moment, right after it was over, McDonald made clear that Smith really had no choice in the matter. “When I saw the goal go in,” McDonald confided in the Calgary dressing room that night, “I couldn’t believe it. Then I felt it was meant to be. We did a lot of praying in this room and God finally answered our prayers.”

Huge, if true.

At the time, the Oilers seemed to have no inkling that He’d forsaken them. Over in their room, they were still focussed on the passion of Steve Smith.

“It’s not his fault,” Wayne Gretzky was saying after the Oilers had failed to tie it up. “One goal did not lose these playoffs.”

Rex MacLeod of The Toronto Star described him and several of his teammates as “red-eyed from weeping. “It was an unfortunate goal,” Gretzky said. “We tried not to let it bother us. We tried to keep our energy at a high level and I think we did. It was a big disappointment, but I’ve had a few before. It hurts when you’re good enough to win and you expect to win. That’s tough, but we lost fair and square to a team with a lot of heart.”


“I don’t think anyone in this room should be pointing a finger at another guy,” Gretzky also said. “I think you should look yourself in the mirror.

That raw-eyed 99 from just now I imagine standing there with his gear only half-off, naked to the shoulderpads, sadly sockfooted. But by the time Robin Finn of The New York Times got to studying him, he was showered and dressed. “His face freshly scrubbed and every burnished hair in place,” Finn wrote, “he stood and faced wave upon wave of microphones and pointed questions. He wore a white shirt and a brown tie flecked with dots of royal colors, and flecked, too, with stray tears. But Gretzky was in control, and the only evidence of his distress was in the fluttering of his eyelids as he politely answered all queries concerning his dethroning.”

Grant Fuhr said, “It was right on the back of my leg. I was trying to get back in the net, but I didn’t expect it to go through the crease.” He told someone else, “I can never recall a goal going in like that. You never expect something like that. I’m not real big on losing.”

Smith played not another second of the third period following the goal he scored on Berezan’s behalf. That was Edmonton coach Glen Sather’s decision, of course. “I feel sorry for Smith,” he told reporters when it was all over, “but I told him he can’t let it devastate him. He’s gonna be a good hockey player. I still think we’re a great hockey club, but I guess we still have some growing to do.”


Smith was devastated, but that didn’t stop him from facing the press. His eyes were wet and red, according to most accounts; Al Strachan, then of The Globe and Mail, has him “sobbing.” Either way, he would be roundly commended for failing to hide himself away. “Sooner or later I have to face it,” he said. Of course he was expected to explain what had happened. “I was just trying to make a pass out front to two guys circling,” an Associated Press dispatch has him saying. “It was a human error. I got good wood on it, it just didn’t go in the direction I wanted.”

Was there not one of those scribbling correspondents who might have stepped up to give the man a hug?

I guess not. Smith went on talking. “I’ve got to keep on living,” the papers all reported next day. “I don’t know if I’ll ever live this down, but I have to keep on living. The sun will come up tomorrow.”


It did, revealing new newspaper analyses of what Smith had wrought. George Vecsey of The New York Times called it a “true disaster.” Another reporter there tracked down Rangers’ defenceman Larry Melynk. He’d started the season as an Oiler, only to lose Sather’s confidence and have Smith supplant him before a trade took him to New York. “I would have fired it around the boards,” Melnyk opined. “Just stay with my game. Shoot it around the boards.” He wasn’t gloating, though. “What happened to him could have happened to anybody.”

There were examinations of what had gone wrong with the Oilers for every taste, including the worst possible. David Johnston of The Gazette felt sure that once “hockey pathologists” got around to conducting an autopsy, they would discover that the team had been suffering from “cancers” of both the soul and the mind, which would account for their having (“like Ernest Hemingway”) “turned their formidable weapons on themselves and committed suicide.”


After I published my book Puckstruck in 2014, I had several conversations with passersbys at bookstore events who saw my name on the cover and lit up under the lightbulb that appeared over their heads.

Them: Hey. You played for the Oilers.
Me: No, no, not me, different guy. Better hockey player in terms of … everything hockey. And I go by Stephen, mostly.
Them: Oh. So you wrote Steve Smith’s biography?

No. That’s a book, so far, that’s still to be published. Smith hasn’t seen fit to/hasn’t had time for/has no interest in autobiographying — maybe one day? Several other frontline Oilers who’ve written memoirs have, of course, revisited that night in ’86.


Start with Kevin Lowe, whose autobiography/history of Edmonton hockey was guided by Stan and Shirley Fischler. Champions (1988) has this to say:

Steve Smith, our big young defenseman who had replaced the injured Fogie, was behind our net in the left corner looking to make our standard fast-break play. That means the puck goes up the ice pretty quick. Unfortunately, Steve kind of bobbled the puck a bit and he never did get good wood or a handle on it. Since he knew that the objective of the play was to do it as quickly as possible, he moved the rubber without having all the control he should. The puck just sprayed off his stick, hit the back of Grant’s left leg and went into the net. Just like that!

Here’s Jari Kurri, from 17 (2001), in an autobiography he authorized himself to write with Ari Mennander and Jim Matheson:

He tried a long cross-ice pass, but it bounced off the leg of Fuhr and into the net. Fuhr wasn’t hugging the post and Smith was a little too adventuresome. When the puck went in, Smith dove to the ice, covering his face, looking like he wanted the ice to open and swallow him up.

Grant Fuhr has published a couple of books of his own, starting with a manual for would-be puckstops, Fuhr On Goaltending, written with Bob Mummery’s aid and published in 1988. The Smith goal might seem like a perfect teaching moment for such a project as this, but there’s no mention of it, not on the page headed Asleep At The Switch, and not in Communication, either. “Be alert, concentrate on the puck, and stay in the game,” Fuhr advises in the former; in the latter, he specifically references teammates handling the puck behind the net. But only, as it turns out, to remind novice goalkeeps that a defenceman back there must be kept informed about incoming opponents. “Keep up the chatter,” he says.


In 2014, with Bruce Dowbiggin lending a hand, the goaltender published a fuller memoir. But Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend doesn’t go into even as much detail when it comes to “the lovely Steve Smith goal” as Fuhr did the night of. The playoffs, Fuhr concedes, ended on “a crushing note,” which marked “kind of a gloomy end to a gloomy month:” his father had died two weeks earlier. Next up: the Oilers were only a few days into their off-season when Sports Illustrated published an exposé alleging cocaine use by sundry Oilers, including Fuhr.

“That month,” he concludes, “kind of turned everything bad.”

Number 99 got his account out in Gretzky: An Autobiography (1990), which he crafted with Rick Reilly’s help. Here’s how they frame the goal:

Steve Smith was this big, good-looking defenseman of ours, only twenty-three years old, a future star, a Kevin Lowe protégé. He is a real smart player, but that night he made a mistake. He took the puck in our own corner and tried to clear it across the crease: the cardinal no-no in hockey. It’s like setting a glass of grape juice on your new white cashmere rug. You could do it, but what’s the percentage in it? Without a single Flame around, the puck hit the back of Grant’s left calf and caromed back into our net. Hardly anybody in the arena saw it but the goal judge did. The Flames suddenly led 3-2. It was a horrible, unlucky, incredible accident, but it happened. Steve came back to the bench and, for a minute, looked like he’d be all right. But then he broke down in tears.

The fact that Gretzky’s most recent book, 99 Stories of the Game (2016, assist to Kirstie McLellan Day), makes only passing mention of Smith, and none of his infamous goal, might seem to signal that the story has been wholly written, nothing more to say. Two books from 2015 undermine that notion.


I briefly held out some hope that Gail Herman’s Who Is Wayne Gretzky? might prove to be an existential tell-all by 99’s rogue therapist, but it’s nothing like that.

It is, instead, a handsome 106-page biography intended for younger readers. It’s abundantly illustrated by Ted Hammond and (if it does say so itself) “fun and exciting!” The young readers it’s intended for, I’d have to say, would be non-Canadian and hockey-oblivious. If you are such a youthful person, an 11-year-old, say, living on a far-flung Scotland Hebride that wifi has yet to reach, and yet still, somehow, you’ve developed a curiosity about hockey that so far hasn’t divulged what exactly Brantford, Ontario’s own paragon could do and did, then this is just the book for you, congratulations, and hold on: you are going to learn a lot about Gretzky.

You’re also going to come away with a full understanding of Smith’s renowned goal. Chapter 8 is the where you’ll find what you’re after on that count, the one entitled “Dynasties and Dating.” The latter has to do with what followed after Wayne went to a basketball game in 1987 in Los Angeles and this happened: “American actress and dancer Janet Jones came over to say hello.” More important for our purposes here is what happens two pages earlier, back on the ice as the Oilers battle for the 1986 Cup, and well, guess what.


To Herman, no matter what Steve Smith did, the puck had its own agenda:

Oilers defenseman Steve Smith skated to the net to stop a goal by the Flames. He tried to clear the puck. But the puck hit the Oilers’ goalie, Grant Fuhr, on the leg. Then it bounced into the net.

The graphic generosity Herman pays to Smith is worth noting, too: in Chapter Eight’s six pages, he features in no fewer than three line-drawings, which is as many as Janet Jones gets, just before she becomes Mrs. Gretzky in Chapter Nine.

The Battle of Alberta can’t compete when it comes to illustrations. But what Mark Spector’s 2015 history of the years of Oiler-Flame rivalry lacks in artwork, it makes up with what may be the definitive post mortem, devoting a full 15 pages to what happened that night in a chapter titled “The Right Play The Wrong Way: Oiler Steve Smith’s Unforgettable Goal.”


Spector begins by recounting how, in the immediate aftermath of what he calls “the worst experience of [Smith’s] life,” the wretched defenceman found a grim joke to offer. “I got good wood on it,” Spector has him telling reporters. “I thought the puck went in fast.”

Maybe that’s right. But looking back at the contemporary accounts, only the first phrase seems to have appeared in any of the immediate coverage of the game in the spring of 1986.

Reporters at the scene who took down “I got good wood on it” tend to have heard what came next as “it just didn’t go in the direction I wanted.” (Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe heard “but not in the direction I hoped.”) The original is self-deprecating rather than actually humorous, and doesn’t so fully support Spector’s framing premise that Smith was “having a laugh at his own misfortune.” It’s no more than a minor mystery, I’ll grant you. But given the descriptions of the mood in the Oiler room, and of Smith’s own demeanor on the night, I’m skeptical that anyone heard him jibing about the speed of the puck that night. From what I can glean, Spector’s amended version doesn’t seem to have shown up before a 2010 article of Jim Matheson’s in The Edmonton Journal.

Otherwise? Spector calls Smith another mobile defenceman who could fight and play. He describes him as gangly. He asserts that he took nothing for granted and (cleverly) not good enough to feel any entitlement.


Spector does provide a valuable service in breaking down just what Smith was attempting to do. As Kevin Lowe tells him, this was the Oilers’ new quick-up play designed to catch an opponent offguard as they dumped the puck in and changed. The centreman and maybe a winger would be waiting high up on the opposite boards, over by the penalty boxes. “You just went back and you almost didn’t look,” Lowe explained. “You just forced it up to the spot.”

But then: “Fuhrsie was a little late getting back in the net, and Smitty just tried to cut the corner a bit.”

“He’s gonna be a good hockey player,” Glen Sather said back on that April night, and so it proved. When the Oilers roared back in 1987 to win another Cup, Smith and his story arc’d to a perfect redemptive close. “A year after Smith’s mistake,” Spector writes,

after the Oilers had regained their place atop the hockey world with a seven-game ouster of Philadelphia in the Final, Gretzky made a classy gesture when he handed the Stanley Cup to Smith and sent him off on a celebratory whirl around the Northlands Coliseum ice.

It didn’t end there, of course. As noted on the Oilers’ own Heritage website,

Smith persevered and became one of the key players of the team’s drive for three more Cups in 1987, 1988, and 1990. Smith best year came in 1987-88, when he scored 12 goals, added 43 assists, and received 286 penalty minutes. Smith proved he was a tough customer, and the disastrous goal was nothing more than a fluke.


Gretzky has gone even further. Diligent, down the years, in making sure Smith’s name stays cleared, Gretzky has even claimed that the Oilers were actually fortunate to lose in ’86. “I know that sounds strange,” he’s reasoned, “but sometimes you lose for a reason. After that season, we made some changes, got hungrier, and stopped thinking we had sole rights to the Stanley Cup. Maybe Smith won us two more Cups. Who knows?”

Smith himself has said that the whole experience was life-changing. “It taught me humility,” he told Spector. Ben Arledge talked to him about this, too, in the ESPN piece. “I really believe that incident had a lot to do with making me a much humbler person,” Smith said to him. “It probably taught me more about humility than a person could ever learn. From that day forward, I sincerely cheered for people. I didn’t want to see people fail. I didn’t want to ever see people have that type of day.”


Mark Spector’s Battle of Alberta chapter comes with a fairly perfect ending, in which Smith tells of playing a subsequent pre-season game in Calgary. The fact that Spector doesn’t bother to date it could indicate that he (a) preferred to render it as legend as much as a fact or (b) couldn’t be bothered. It did happen, on a Tuesday night, September 25, 1990, in front of a crowd of 20,132 fans who, as usual, called for Smith to “shooooot” every time he touched the puck. Smith was prepared, having warned Oilers’ goaltender Bill Ranford that there might come a point in the game where he actually did just that. “And,” Smith told him, “you’d better fuckin’ stop it.”

And so it happened, in the first period, that Smith lobbed a backhand at Ranford that the goaltender did, indeed, save. Smith raised his stick to the Calgary faithful who, it’s reported, laughed.

“The whole place stood up and gave me a standing ovation,” Smith tells Spector. “It was kinda cool. For the most part, they left me alone after that.”


Source: Stephen Smith author of Puckstruck

"It’s rare to find a book that makes me proud to be Canadian" -Michael Winter 



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