Gail Johns-Rees

Gail Johns-Rees head

Gail Johns-Rees

Gail Johns was born in Cobourg on February 10, 1955. Upon her arrival at CDCI West in 1969 she was sought out by Jerry Lawless, whom having been made aware of her running exploits in elementary school, insisted that she attend the track and field training being held on the back lawn of the high school. It was as an encounter and an opportunity that changed the course of Gail’s life.  Over the next five years, Gail, competing as a sprinter, would set records in the 200M and 400m races at Kawarthas and COSSA, in the 60M, 100M, 200M and 400M at South Kawarthas, and as a result became the first female athlete from Cobourg to ever qualify for OFSSA. In 1972 CDCI West dedicated the “Johns Trophy for Outstanding Track Performance” in recognition of her accomplishments. After high school Gail started distance running, competing in 5K’s and 10K’s, and running marathons in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, and Boston. In 1994, Gail and her family moved to New Hampshire, and at the age of 47 she returned to sprinting with the Masters Track and Field program, which is devoted to adult runners divided into designated age categories. As the first female member of the Mass Velocity Track Club, Gail has been a nationally ranked masters sprinter for the past two decades, competing in 50M, 60M, 100M, 200M, and 400M races, earning 17 US National Masters Tracks medals, setting 13 New Hampshire state records, along with being recognized with the “Best Performance by a New Hampshire Athlete” five times. In 2006, at the USA Masters National Meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, Gail represented her home country, running a leg in the 4x100 relay, and helping Canada win a gold medal. A pioneer, a pacesetter, a record-breaker, a champion, and still competitively running, Gail Johns has enjoyed a life of excellence on the track.

Sport Played That Connects To Collection List

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

Roger Cole

Roger Cole head

Roger Cole

Referred to by no less an authority than Layton Dodge as “the finest softball pitcher between Oshawa and Kingston”, Roger Cole’s quarter-century career was marked by continued excellence, countless awards, and a right arm that never seemed to grow tired. Born in Cobourg on July 27, 1954, Roger Cole’s pitching career began in the Plainville Township League in 1965. Over the course of the next four-plus decades an almost uncountable number of accolades and awards came his way including 9 OASA medals, 2 Perfect Games, at least 10 (maybe 12) No-Hitters, multiple MVP and Top Pitcher awards in both the Cobourg Men’s Softball League and the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League, and countless league, Provincial, Canadian, and World Championships, mostly with the Cold Springs Cats. In 2003, Roger was given the Milestone Award, after recording a total of 2059 career strikeouts in the Cobourg Men’s Softball League, a testimony to his talent and his stamina. But that only tells part of the story. Simply put, to see Roger Cole pitch was an “event” - one that drew both admirers and the curious from far around just to see him throw, and to bear witness to a continuous parade of overmatched hitters try to make contact, and at times a befuddled catcher attempt to catch, Roger’s famed “drop ball”. But beyond his own personal and team accomplishments Roger was a strong believer in the Cobourg Men’s Softball League, often taking younger players onto his team, encouraging them, and giving them a place to play when other teams wouldn’t. Those teams were often more concerned with winning that season’s league championship, whereas Roger was more concerned with the long-term health of the league itself, even if it came at his team’s own expense. This nurturing of younger players, and personal sacrifice for the league was recognized in 2006 when Roger Cole was the recipient of the Dedication Award by the Cobourg Men’s Softball League.

Team or Principal Name

Allan Burnham

Al Burnham

Al Burnham

Born on August 31, 1952 in Cobourg and raised on the Burnham Family Farm, like many children of the time, Al Burnham was first introduced to bat and ball in elementary school during the recesses and lunch hour that helped break up the day. Coincidentally, the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association was formed in the late 1950’s, and Al was part of that first group of youngsters who signed up. And thus began a two decade long playing career that saw Al Burnham become one of the top Fastball players; in the area, in the province, in Canada, and ultimately, in the world. A member of the Cobourg Juveniles that captured the Ontario “B” Championship in 1971, Al, now playing with the legendary Cold Springs Cats, would be part of three more provincial championship teams, OASA Intermediate C titles in 1975 and 1976, and in 1980 an Ontario Senior A fastball championship. Thanks to his proficiency at the plate Al quickly gained a reputation from teammate and opponent alike as a clutch hitter, and when combined with his understated demeanor, he was christened with the nickname “The Iceman”. From 1984 to 1992, Al Burnham was an integral part of five more Senior “A” Ontario championship teams, 4 Canadian Senior A championship teams, and in 1987 and 1988 he was named to the All-World second team both years at the International Softball Congress championship. At the 1991 ISC championship, held in Sioux City, Iowa, and playing for Owen Sound, the World Championship runner-up, Al Burnham was named All-World first team … the culmination of a lifetime spent on the diamond all the way from Cobourg to the World Championship.

Team or Principal Name

Ross Quigley

Ross Quigley head

Ross Quigley

No one ever loved Cobourg – it’s people, its history, and the community itself – more than Ross Quigley. A lifelong Cobourg resident, born in 1944, Ross quickly developed the passions that would stay with him throughout his life, first as a player and soon branching out to coaching and refereeing. Concurrently, Ross also began a life a giving back to his beloved hometown, starting in his teenage days while working at Sommerville’s Sporting Goods when on Christmas Eve he would dress up as Santa Claus and personally give out gifts to children … to his later tenure as the President of Legion Softball, as well as his organizing the annual All-Summer Sports Parade, a summertime affair which at one time spotlighted each of the local softball/baseball/soccer teams. Ross also was long involved with many local organizations where he helped to push through countless enhancements to our town’s community. Starting with a desire to preserve the sporting history of the town, Ross began the process of what would eventually lead to the establishment of the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. While not the sole person involved, Ross was the driving force behind the idea, the creation, and finally, the establishment of the Hall, behind the scenes and also as both the public face and most enthusiastic supporter. And it is through these efforts that Ross has made an invaluable historical contribution to our town by bringing the sporting history of Cobourg out of the past and preserving it for future generations, through his discovery of long lost sporting events, or in gathering artifacts, to most notably shining a renewed spotlight on the builders and the athletes who through the passage of time slowly receded from active memory only to have Ross, through his tireless work and commitment, bring them back to the prominence and the local understanding that they so richly deserve. In 2021, Ross Quigley was recognized at the annual Cobourg Civic Awards ceremony as the recipient of The Angus and Bernice Read Volunteer Award, which is given to an individual whose volunteerism, leadership, commitment and actions have improved the quality of life for a large spectrum of the population in Cobourg.


Team or Principal Name

Paul Allen

Paul Allen-head

Paul Allen

Student, Athlete, Referee, Teacher, Coach, Instructor, Convenor, Scheduler, Co-Ordinator, Organizer, Volunteer, … Paul Allen has worn a lot of different hats in life, with most of them related to sport, which is ironic, considering that up until his Grade 10 year at CDCI West, Paul had never played a sport or been a member of any athletic team. Paul quickly discovered his sporting passion – Basketball. But by no means was basketball his only sport at the West, with him also excelling in Volleyball, Soccer, Cross-Country, Football, and most notably Track & Field, where he won 4 COSSA gold medals in the Triple Jump (along with a 2nd and a 4th place finish at OFSSA), and 3 COSSA gold medals in the Long Jump. After graduating high school, Paul then proceeded to continue his education – and his athletic career – at the University of Guelph, where in his final year, Paul helped the Gryphons to the Canadian University Basketball Championship. At the same time, Paul became a carded Volleyball referee, beginning an officiating career that would encompass many sports and over five decades. Upon graduation from Guelph, Paul returned to Cobourg and subsequently competed in numerous sports and leagues – Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Slo-Pitch – winning many individual and team awards. In addition, Paul would also re-enter CDCI West, as a teacher, where he would spend the next 33 years, impacting the lives of countless students. Naturally Paul was heavily involved with the sporting aspect of the school, in particular the Senior Basketball team whom he helped coach to 3 COSSA championships. During those years Paul was instrumental in the growth of Basketball in the area, putting his time and efforts into the Lakeshore Adult Basketball League, the Lakeshore Lynx Rep Team, and the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association. Since his retirement from teaching in 2010, Paul has turned his hand to volunteering on the local level, coordinating numerous events. In 2021, Paul Allen was the recipient of the Cobourg Civic Award for Sportsmanship, which is presented annually to a coach, official or sports organizer who has shown outstanding leadership in contribution to Cobourg’s sports and recreational community.


Team or Principal Name
Sport Played That Connects To Collection List

Softball-FastPitch-Roger Cole

Roger Cole



Roger Cole


Roger Cole was born on July 27, 1954, at the hospital in Cobourg, Ontario.  He was the youngest of five boys born to Mildred and Glen Cole. He grew up and still resides on his family farm near Plainville, with his wife Donna, in Hamilton Township.


For Ed, Ross, Paul, Allan and Roger, travelling to Cobourg to play Legion softball or CCHL hockey was not an option. Summers were spent playing ball at home or at public school pickup games. Winter months involved playing local pond hockey with his brothers and neighbours. Roger and Donna raised two wonderful daughters who went on to get married and bless them with 4 beautiful grandchildren. 


Once old enough, the Plainville Men’s Softball team was the game of choice. Roger and Harry Jeschke played on the team as 13-year-olds and were used occasionally as outfielders or pinch hitters. Roger was 4’10” at the time and was quite successful at drawing walks. Ewart Timlin was one pitcher that struck Roger out. No one could have predicted that Ewart would eventually be the one to have the greatest influence on Roger’s pitching career.


Although dabbling in pitching, Roger never really started until 1972 when, in grade 13 at the age of 18, he and his high school buddies decided to put a team in the formidable Cobourg Men’s Softball League. This was the start of his illustrious pitching career. His men’s league team, Wilburn Construction, struggled to win many games in the early years. 


Roger went off to Guelph and obtained his Honours BSc (Agriculture) degree and graduated in 1976. While at Guelph he met Donna and they were married in July of 1976. Daughters Angela and Shannon followed several years later. Donna played varsity hockey at Guelph so the girls followed in their parents’ footsteps — hockey in the winter and softball in the summer. Donna got heavily involved in coaching and managing girls’ hockey teams in the area. Roger and Donna co-coached the first Senior Ladies hockey team out of Cobourg. 


In 1973, Roger played on Bill O’Neill’s Juvenile B Ontario Championship team. In 1975, Ewart Timlin signed Roger to the Cold Springs Cats and he pitched on that team for over thirty years, winning back-to-back Intermediate C Ontario Championships in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 50, while pitching in the 2004 Ontario Masters Championship tournament in Port Perry, Roger sustained an arm injury which ended his playing career. He wasn’t prepared to hang up his cleats so he transitioned into a coaching role and went on to co-coach the Cats.


As well as playing for the Cats, Roger played in the Peterborough City League (for 2 years), the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League (from the age of 13 until the league stopped running), and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (from 1972 until it stopped running). He played for Fraserville, Plainville, Crossroads, Murray Thompson Auto-body, Wilburn Construction, Meadowvale Aces, Bruce & Ricks, Everett’s Astros, and He coached and managed the Hamilton Township league teams and the Cobourg league teams from the late 80’s until the leagues folded.


Roger was known for his pitching longevity and stamina and would often pitch 3-4 games in a week. In 1978, Roger won tournament MVP at the Deck Transport Invitational tournament in Lakefield, Ontario. He pitched fifty-four innings on that weekend for the Cats, then the next day pitched a Cobourg Men’s league game. He was named top pitcher in 1979 in the Eastern Ontario Fastball League with a 0.5 ERA. He also received the top pitcher award in the Oshawa City League in 1980.


That same year, the Cats moved up to the Senior A level of competition and surprised everyone by winning the Ontario Championship in London. They became the first and only local team (to date) to win the Senior A title and went on to represent Ontario at the Canadian Senior A Championships in Saskatoon. While in Saskatoon the Cats defeated both the gold and silver medalists in the round robin. Roger pitched both games, allowing only one run in two games. That was the only loss the gold medal Nova Scotia team took. In 1989, Cold Springs won an Intermediate B Ontario title and Roger was named top pitcher. In 1995, he helped Baltimore to an Intermediate B Ontario crown.


The Cold Springs Cats moved to the Masters division and won Ontario titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Roger was named top pitcher in 1996 and 1997. The team also won back-to-back Canadian Masters Championships in 1997 and 1998.  At the 2000 Ontario Masters Championships (at the age of 47) he was named tournament MVP after pitching 5 1/2 games in one weekend. In all, Roger played on nine Ontario Championship teams and two Canadian Masters Championship teams, while several Hamilton Township League and Cobourg Men’s League Championships were also claimed.


Roger played and managed teams in the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (CMSL). In 2003, he received a milestone award from the CMSL with 2059 strikeouts and counting. He also received a dedication award in 2006, and served many years on the CMSL executive. He received multiple MVP and top pitcher awards in both leagues, pitched two perfect games and 10-12 no-hitters during his 30+ years of pitching.


During his playing and managing years, Roger concentrated on giving younger players a place and a chance to play. Many turned out to be good ball players and even better people, and he was most proud of that.


In the winter, he followed his daughter’s hockey but also played himself, in a recreational league in Bewdley. He joined the Rice Lake Oilers team in 1989 and played for 28 years, retiring at the age of 63. A highlight of the year was always the annual Oilers tournament that has been going on for close to 40 years.


Softball is a team game and none of Roger’s personal achievements would have been possible without the great cast of ball players amassed by Ewart Timlin. He is quick to point out that his journey would not have been possible without his Mom, Dad and brothers who would manage the workload on their dairy farm while he was at the ballpark.


His wife, Donna, was also a huge supporter and made many sacrifices so he could pursue his dreams. Roger continues to work on his family farm, enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren, and now satisfies his love of sports on the golf course. 



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Softball-Paul Currelly

Paul Currelly w-wife




Paul Currelly’s leadership contribution to the longstanding success of the Cobourg Angels is well documented in the records of the CDSHF. Shedding light on the important aspects of Paul’s leadership style might serve to provide insight into how the unparalleled and long-term success of the Angels transpired.

Seen as one story, the narrative connects 6 decades with many worthy individuals contributing to the success for various lengths of time. There is a common thread that links all of these very capable people, players, and coaches alike. Paul Currelly meticulously built an organization that was often one step ahead of the changing circumstances that local sports almost inevitably face.

So, what were the skills that Paul Currelly had that went far beyond the teaching of fundamentals? A focus on detail and organization, an eye for talent (coaches and players) as well as persistence and planning for the next stage of team development.

Little of the long term and sustained success of the Angels could have been anticipated when the foundation of the team and organization was created during the 1960’s. Cobourg Baseball, Legion Branch 133 Minor Softball and Church League Hockey were already in place as athletic outlets for boys. The fact that Paul and his lovely wife Marian had 3 daughters was the first act that directed Paul’s considerable energy towards making athletic opportunities for girls.

At no point would it be suggested that Paul (and Marian of course) claimed that family planning was part of the early beginnings of the Angels story.  As it turned out, perhaps hundreds of girls and young women would end up seeing themselves as a part of a very special sports family. Indeed, many of them would have viewed the Currelly residence as a welcoming second home.



Long before the term “hub” became popularized, a relatively spacious back yard in the east end neighbourhood of Coverdale became a hub or gathering place for the friends and neighbours of the two older Currelly daughters, Carol and Nancy. Time spent there was often dedicated to playing “mildly” competitive games such as tag, running and jumping and of course softball. The kids had a safe and nurturing place to play centred on sports and most probably numerous breaks for snacks. He and Marian initially provided their own equipment from their former playing days. When the Coverdale area kids began house league play, Paul scoured the town and the local district for all manner of used articles. He also sought contributions from people such as Clarke Sommerville (another CDSHF inductee) to round off the considerable stockpile.

As is almost always the case, young children outgrow the limits of the backyard. In the case of the Angels’ story, this may have been the first time that Paul displayed his capacity to adapt to changing circumstances during the long history of the Aces/Angels organization. He helped initiate the idea of developing a house league based on geographic neighbourhoods. Other key founders from the various neighbourhoods included Max Smith, John Copeland, Jack Bevan, Garry Jones, Donald Dunn, and Ross Burgess. Their combined efforts came to fruition as the Cobourg Town League’s inaugural season came to pass in 1963.


Participation in the newly formed league was enthusiastically received by the neighbourhood girls. Registration was held at nearby Merwin Greer School where the Coverdale Aces also played their home games.

During the early years, the Coverdale neighbourhood was amalgamated into the Town of Cobourg and Paul negotiated a deal with the municipality to build a softball diamond located in what is now Peter Delanty Park. This achievement was characterized by a somewhat unique innovation. The topsoil from the construction of Brook Road North was redeployed to the park. Paul, as the story goes, agreed to spread the topsoil himself using a borrowed tractor in exchange for having the municipality build a backstop and infield for a softball diamond.

Of the three Currelly sisters, Patsy ended up playing house league games there while the older sisters moved their games to the Victoria Park diamond. Certainly, Paul’s facilitation benefited his youngest daughter, but he also helped leave a legacy for the Town and the local neighbourhood as a whole. Subsequently, the diamond was suitably named, The Paul Currelly Diamond.

Over the course of the time that the Coverdale Aces played in the Cobourg Town League, the team registered a winning streak of 52 games and numerous undefeated seasons. Ironically, Paul and his teams never again quite reached that level of statistical accomplishment. Yet the early successes, foreshadowed a story of outstanding and enduring achievement that continued even after Paul Currelly had passed.



By 1968, the era of house league dominance had ended for the teams that the older sisters, Carol and Nancy, played on. A Juvenile team was formed from the best players in the house league. Now that Paul’s teams played at the central softball venue of Victoria Park, he often could be seen spreading sawdust on the wet diamond or even going as far as borrowing a pump from Cobourg Lumber to make a soaked diamond playable for an early evening game.

Previous to the season, Paul saw the value of having the Juvenile team participate in the nearby well-established Durham League which was principally composed of a group of adult teams. The quality of the league provided a new challenge and motivation for Currelly’s Juvenile team. In that very same year, the Juveniles successfully made the competitive leap by winning the Durham League Championship. The beginning of a new chapter was being written.



By 1972, Paul spearheaded the formation of The Lakeshore Juvenile Girls Softball League and his third and youngest daughter Patsy joined the team as a bat girl. Her inclusion as a bat girl was the first step that would eventually see her develop into a first-rate catcher. Both Carol and Nancy had successful early stints as pitching mainstays before they transitioned to infield positions. The Cobourg Angels experienced nearly immediate success as they were PWSA Juvenile Finalists in 1973. This was followed by a league championship in 1975 and two provincial Junior gold medals in 1975 and 1976.

What has always been a hallmark of Paul Currelly’s managing style, namely adapting to the needs, and changing circumstances of his players, manifested itself when Paul helped to establish a new league for his now Midget Angels. Patsy, Paul’s youngest daughter became a catching mainstay throughout the Angels’ most successful era.


Paul’s accurate evaluation of his players’ talent resulted in near immediate results. In 1977, the Midget Angels captured both the Claremont Tournament and the Lakeshore League Championship. By 1979, the Juvenile Angels claimed another PWSA championship as well as a number of provincial tournaments including the well-established local Grafton Tournament run by Dick Raymond. It is probably worth mentioning that the ‘79 team had a 50-7 season record which came close to the 52 wins recorded during the earliest house league seasons.

After 1979, the Angels transitioned to the Junior classification. In 1981, the Angels were provincial finalists, while in 1981 and 1982 the team accumulated a number of tournament and Lakeshore League successes. By this time, Paul may have seen that the team had perhaps reached a competitive ceiling and so, as the 1980’s unfolded, he shifted gears and directions once again. By the end the 1980’s, the decade might have been considered as the golden era for his Angels.



Most highly competitive sports organizations eventually need to recruit in order to maintain or improve upon their competitive position. Once Paul’s teams emerged from a neighbourhood house league format, he began to attract players such as Peggy Kernaghan from the local rural area. The approach would eventually lead to the recruitment of players from Oshawa, north to Peterborough and east to Belleville. An early example of Paul’s approach to recruiting was evident when he recruited players from the surrounding area. Part of Paul’s recruitment strategy was to invite his wife Marian on “Sunday afternoon drives” that inevitably ended up at a prospect’s home. Currelly used his accumulated good will to arrange summer jobs for players in the Cobourg area.

Additionally, before the girls had drivers’ licenses, he would ensure their attendance at games and practices by arranging rides to and from the activity. It must have been evident to almost all of the people associated with the organization that Paul had very high expectations for himself and of course he similarly held high expectations for his players. An excerpt from one of Paul’s season end banquet speeches reveals the understood contract between players and the community they represented...


Our main objective is to have fun, to teach you the fundamentals and guide you through the wins and losses with the proper attitude. We demand a full effort at all times for we know that the harder we work, the more successful we will be. We also want you to realize that when you pull on the green and gold uniform, you represent a lot of people, the Town of Cobourg, Harnden and King Construction, your coaches, your parents, and most of all, yourselves. I must say that we were proud of the way you conducted yourselves this past season.


Outstanding players generally want to have a well-supported and structured environment with high expectations. Early hints of Paul Currelly’s successful recruitment based on the “Angels Brand” was manifested when outstanding Oshawa area pitcher Joan VanderZyden joined the team during the 1970’s. Another significant recruiting move brought in Hastings area player Su Morrow to play first base and pitch. Jim Morrow, Su’s father, would also join Paul Currelly to form a coaching combination that lasted into the 1990’s.

Over the course of the 1980’s, Paul identified considerable talent that would blend with the team’s character and positional needs. His efforts yielded 2 elite pitchers, (Elaine Devlin and Janice Cosgrey), the return of CDSHF Hall of Fame inductee Margie Mathews as well as perhaps the most prolific, fence clearing power hitter in PWSA history, Isobel “Izzy” Nichols. Speedy, hitting outfielders, Lea Ann Quinn and Vicki Wodzak were also recruited while the addition of Cathy Fertile and Lynn Lucas added depth to the infield.


The recruiting efforts yielded impressive results which allowed the Angels to make the competitive leap to Senior Tier II. Joining the Senior Tier II bracket cleared the way for the Angels to eventually leave their mark at the highest Provincial Tier I level. This tier of competition also provided the possibility for the Angels to compete for a Canadian National Championship nearly a decade later.

The decision to join the Senior Tier II bracket immediately paid off! The reorganized 1983 Angels won a bronze medal at the provincials that year and acquired Senior Tier II Provincial Championships in ‘84 and 85 and again in 1987. In 1988, the team was one out away from going to the Canadian Championships and settled for a Tier I silver medal.

Thereafter, Paul began to step back from his lead managerial role but the team continued its success by winning a Tier I Gold medal and with it, an unexpected storybook trip to the Canadian Championships in 1990.



In 1987, Paul Currelly, along with Faye Gaudet, Su Morrow, Jan (Bevan) Bradford and Bill Zinkie, among others formed a new minor girls’ organization with the appropriate title of Junior Angels. This organization served both competitive and house league female players. Paul was prominent as an organizer while spearheading the recruitment of sponsors and coaches as well as securing the use of playing fields, the purchase of equipment and the establishment of a league for the 4 provincial teams.

The present Angels continue to thrive as a highly successful entity despite a general decline in the sport within Canada. Since its birth, 6 provincial championships, as well as an Eastern Canadian Championship, have been accumulated as preparations begin for the 2022 season.



The impressive accumulation of provincial championships and other accolades cannot be the sole measures of success for someone such as Paul Currelly. A huge number of individuals have been influenced by his efforts and example. Paul’s consistently high expectations and structure provided an attractive environment for those players who had a competitive attitude. He must have held a deep affection and respect for the people who were fortunate enough to have been part of his extended sports family. 50 years is a long time to be so highly committed to creating such an excellent environment for girls fastball players.

Post Script

If Paul and Marian had 3 boys instead of daughters Carol, Nancy and Patsy, there is every reason to believe that a different path would have yielded similar results for all of those individuals fortunate enough to have been included in the journey.

Paul continued to coach into his late years as he joined with longtime friend and beloved Angels coach, Jim Morrow to guide a women’s Intermediate team. As a fitting bookend to Paul Currelly’s devotion to his family and sports community, he volunteered as a baseball coach for his grandson, Matt Williams. One of these teams, The Cobourg Black Sox, won a provincial championship in 1998.



The considerable number of articles, photographs, newspaper articles (Layton Dodge), memorabilia posted on the CDSHF Website, Paul Currelly’s notes and year end speeches and my personal memories from the 1980’s provided the foundation for the article.

The quality of the final version was improved by being granted the privilege of having numerous conversations with Carol Currelly-Burnham, Nancy Williams, and Patsy Hand (the 3 “sissies”). Their enthusiasm, warm memories, anecdotes and unrelenting “fact checking” breathed life into the narrative and allowed me to link the decades together into a story of sorts.

Finally, thanks also go out to present CDSHF Directors, Jennifer Ashley and Don Conway who both encouraged me to take on the task. I hope that my efforts will provide local sports fans and community members, as well as long distance internet visitors, a few minutes of enjoyable reading.

John Hayden Sr.


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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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