By Rosey Bateman
Kenneth Wayne James Petrie was born July 11, 1946 in Stratford, Ontario. In 1957 when he was 11, he and his family moved to Cobourg. In 1972 they moved to Furnace Street across from Memorial Arena where he eventually worked for many years.
During a month-long visit from his grandfather one summer, Ken learned to play ball which sparked a life-long love of sports. He was an avid bowler as well early in his life.
Unselfishly, Ken devoted most of his adult life to minor sports in Cobourg—namely: the Cobourg Community Hockey League (CCHL); Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association (CLMSA) and Cobourg Baseball Association (CBA).
It was about 1965 when Ken was 19 that Layton Dodge recruited him to volunteer with the Cobourg Church Hockey League. He helped Gord Burdick Senior coach the St. Andrew’s Church League team. Thus began a life-long tenure with the CCHL until the organization moved from Memorial Arena to the CCC in 2011.
In hockey, Ken was a tireless workhorse helping out wherever he could whether it be as a coach, manager, trainer, fundraiser, Bingo volunteer, executive member, committee member, or just plain taking on responsibilities when necessary—when no one else would, he did if he could.
He was president of the CCHL a record 11 times (1979-82, 1985, 1993, 1999-2003) and was a long-time life member. He was OMHA contact person many, many times (a time consuming, huge responsibility), ice chairman, governor, tournament convenor, timekeeper/scorekeeper, budget committee member and astoundingly, many of these in a single hockey season. Those who worked with Ken didn’t mind helping him though—as he never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. It is on record that Layton Dodge called Ken “the driving force behind the CCHL”. Also, Past President, Jim Nairn is quoted as saying “Ken Petrie’s sense of community and love for the game is what kept him coming back.”
A source of great pride for Ken throughout his time in the CCHL was seeing all of Cobourg’s championship hockey banners hanging from the rafters in Memorial Arena. Also, he was extremely proud of the fact that the CCHL housed both boys and girls hockey (OMHA and OWHA) under the CCHL umbrella.
Ken’s happy cheerful demeanor along with his willingness to help, gave credence to the CCHL motto “Dedicated to Our Youth”. That was Ken Petrie through and through.
Besides the enormous amount of time spent volunteering with hockey during fall and winter, Ken loved spending the summer months coaching boys or girls teams in either softball or baseball. For many years he donated the trophies for the ‘golden glove’ competitions during Cobourg Baseball tournaments. And, little known to the general public, Ken Petrie throughout his time in sports often made sure that a kid on his team who needed a ball glove, hockey stick or whatever in order to play—and whose parents couldn’t afford it, was given what they needed from Sommerville’s.... he’d go into the store and square up with Clarke or Dave later.
Since the mid 1960s, Ken has compiled the most amazing record when it comes to provincial championship wins and claims 10 provincial titles with minor sports—hockey, softball and baseball combined: perhaps the most ever in Cobourg. They are listed below plus an EOBA championship.
The certificates commemorating Ken’s provincial championship wins are not very detailed as to the individual winning team names. However, in an article by Cobourg Star writer Darryl Thompson in 2005, Ken clearly states he had an All-Ontario hockey championship, one Ontario Girls’ softball championship, four Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) championships and four Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) titles. The Ontario Championships are listed below. He coached baseball in Port Hope as well.
A provincial championship title captured by the Legion Squirt Red Wings Softball team coached by Ken and the late Tom Savage in 1967 was Cobourg Legion Minor Softball’s first ever provincial title.
Ken's many certificates, citations, plaques and awards for service to community were at one time proudly displayed in his home. Some of them are listed below. Many are being added to the 'Collection' at the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame website.
There were many hockey/ball teams Ken coached, some won awards. The many team photos, also being added to the 'Collection', are small proof of Ken's extensive coaching involvement.
In July 2013, Ken suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm and moved to a nursing home in Port Hope where he resides today.
1967 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “A” Red Wings OASA Softball Team (with Tom Savage)
1970 - PWSA Martin’s Sunoco Girls Softball Team (with Audrey Warner). Ken’s sister Mary Checkley played on this team
1976 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “B” OASA Softball Team (with John Hayden)
1979 - EOBA Tyke ‘A’ Champs with Sommerville Leprechauns Baseball Team (with Pete Sweet)
1983 - Cobourg Legion Pirates Peewee ‘D’ Baseball Team (with Al Guernsey & Gord Latourneau)
1984 - Cobourg Bantam Baseball Team
1988-89 - Harnden & King ‘BB’ PeeWee OMHA Hockey Team (with John Donegan)
1990 - Legion PeeWee ‘B’ Pirates Baseball Team (with Ron Jay and Dave Clarke)
1998 - Cobourg Legion Midget “B” OASA Softball Team (with Bob Bateman)
1972 - Thompson Plumbing & Heating Saints Midget Girls PWSA (with Ross Burgess and Les Stevenson)
1982 - Cobourg Legion Pirates PeeWee ‘C’ Baseball (with Dave Bemma & Bob Barkhouse)
Honours & Awards
1972-73 - Cobourg Church Hockey League “Coach of the Year Award” St. Andrew’s PeeWee North Stars
1976 - Certificate of Merit from the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association in appreciation of outstanding service to the youth of our community
1978/79 - OMHA Coach of the Year (with Dennis Whelan) in the CCHL
1980 - The Spooner Sport Award for outstanding contributions to minor sport
1981 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year
1983 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year
1984 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s "Jim Munro Memorial Trophy" for Coach of the Year to Ken Petrie and Wayne Wiggins
1987 - Sesquicentennial Celebration Award - Town of Cobourg - Angus Read
1987 - Canada Celebration 88 (Olympic Partner) - Certificate of Merit from the Government of Canada in grateful recognition of your contribution to your community
1990 - YMCA Service to Youth Award
1990 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” Coach of the Year Award presented by Frank Waghorn
1993 - OBA’s “Bantam Coach of the Year Award” from AAA to E levels (a province-wide citation)
1997 - Ontario Municipal Recreation Association Certificate from the Town of Cobourg given at the CCHL’s annual awards banquet with Layton Dodge
1997 - Life Member of the Cobourg Community Hockey League - inscripted on the CCHL Life Member Plaque
1997 - Life Member of Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association
2001 - Ontario Minor Hockey Association - Letter of Commendation from OMHA President Pat Parlette
2007 - Nomination for the National “RBC Hockey Heroes Award”
2019 - Members of the Northumberland Baseball Association assume that Ken was a life member of the former CBA though no documentation