Viewing entries in
2000 Inductees

Gerry Murphy

In the early 1960’s softball was the most popular sport in Berwick largely because of the tremendous success of a team of gifted athletes anchored by the strong and resilient arms of two hard-throwing pitchers – one a southpaw and the other a rightie. The right-handed prowess was provided by Gerry Murphy who became the workhorse pitcher of Berwick teams for over a decade.

Gerry began his softball career in the late 50’s and when he was cut from the Berwick All-Stars in 1959, he decided to become a pitcher. With hard work, it soon became evident that a star was in the making. In 1960, Gerry’s strong pitching was a major contribution to the success of the Berwick Legionnaires – winners of the Nova Scotia and Maritime Junior Softball Championship. An even stronger performance was turned in the following year when virtually the same team won the Maritime Intermediate C Championship. During the 1961 season, Gerry was the winning pitcher in 22 of the 34 games won by the Legionnaires including all 9 play-off games. In 1963, the Legionnaires also captured the Maritime Senior B Championship again led by the dependable pitching of “Big Murph”. After losing the first game in New Brunswick against Camp Gagetown, Berwick came back to win two 1-run games before capacity crowds at Rainforth Park – both victories pitched by Gerry. He was a particularly strong in the final game of the championship series. After a couple of jittery errors by his teammates in the final inning to bring the score to 5-4, Gerry didn’t allow a ball out of the infield for the final outs.

Gerry was one of the most consistent and reliable pitchers in Nova Scotia during the 1960’s and he enjoyed much success at all levels from Junior to Senior A from 1960 to 1973. Among his accomplishments was pitching a nine inning no-hitter against Trenton in the 1965 play-off’s – a first for Rainforth Park. He also experienced great success in the Nova Scotia Mainland Senior Softball Association during its period of greatest prominence and popularity. He continued his association with and support of the sport after his playing days be becoming a well-respected umpire in softball.

Championship Teams on Which Gerry Pitched:

1960 Nova Scotia and Maritime Junior Champs
1961 Maritime Intermediate C Champs
1963 Maritime Senior B Champs

Inducted June 2000

Donald Stewart

The success of the sports program of any small town often depends on the quiet and determined work of unassuming volunteers who work behind the scenes far removed from the publicity and accolades. Such was the case of Donald Stewart – a man who quietly and without fanfare laid the foundations for many of the youth programs now taken for granted in Berwick.

In 1960, Don was the driving force behind the efforts to have artificial ice installed in the Berwick Arena. A group headed by Don was successful in raising over $20,000 to allow the artificial ice system to be installed in time for the 1961 season. In the same year, the Berwick and District Athletic Association was formed and Don served as its president for over eight years. Don also held the position as Director of the Berwick Arena for six years and was chiefly responsible for organizing bingo and wrestling events to raise funds for the arena. At the same time, he was the secretary and Director of the Berwick and District Community Association from 1962 – 1968. In his “spare time”, Don ably served as Chair of the Berwick Gala Days Committee from 1965 – 67. Don was always very active in seeking grants for figure skating, hiring coaches and skating pros, or acting as a coordinator and organizer for minor hockey and baseball programs. He also served as a Director of the Atlantic Figure Skating Association in 1963 – 64.

Don’s tremendous contributions to Berwick and its youth were recognized in a newspaper article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald in December, 1966. The article cited Don for his community mindedness and praised him for “utilizing all his spare time for the promotion of youth projects through the development of the town’s athletic association.”

Don also helped to organize the Metro-Valley Junior Hockey League and was its first league president for two years and at the same time was paramount in the development of the Junior B hockey program in Berwick. As the Chronicle Herald so well recorded, it is appropriate and vitally important that we recognize and praise Donald Stewart for “voluntarily contributing his time and imagination to provide programs which are both recreational and character-building” for our youth.

Inducted June 2000

Bob Book

bob_book_picture.jpg

In 1976, when coach John Prall needed someone to run in the distance events for the Berwick High School Track and Field Team, he convinced a skinny grade 10 student named Bob Book to give it a try. Thus, a running star was born. Almost immediately Bob showed great promise by going undefeated in his events that first season. The next year while a student at West Kings District, and under the training and tutelage of coach Clary Laing, Bob became a dominant distance runner on the Nova Scotia High school scene. He placed 2nd individually in the provincial High school championships in both Grades 11 and 12 and led his team to the Provincial cross-country championships in both years. During Track and Field season, he went undefeated in high school competition in the middle distance events – including 880 yards, the mile and 3 mile events during these last two years of school competition. During this time Bob established a provincial record in the 3 mile distance which lasted for many years. In 1969, even though he was still a high school student, Bob was selected to be part of the Nova Scotia Track and Field team at the first Canada Summer Games held in Halifax-Dartmouth. For these achievements, Bob was elected Male Athlete of the Year at West Kings District during his graduation year.

Following high school, Bob went on to star at Dalhousie University in both Track and Field and cross-country running. Among his collegiate accomplishments were two AUAA team cross-country championships, a 7th and 10th placing at the CIAU(National) cross-country championships, winner of numerous AUAA Track and Field events and selection to the CIAU All-Canadian team in 1973/74. As a culmination to his extraordinary collegiate record, he was named Male Athlete of the Year at Dalhousie 1973/74.

Bob’s tremendous string of running accomplishments extended well beyond collegiate competition. He was the Nova Scotia distance running champion from 1971 – 1974 including being undefeated in road-racing for two of those years. During this time, he was a 4-time winner and record holder of the prestigious Halifax Natal Day Road Race, finished 5th in the 1971 Canadian Junior cross-country championships, placed 2nd at the Eastern Canadian 10 mile championship, broke the 35 year-old Nova Scotia record for 10 miles, and represented Nova Scotia numerous times at the national championships.

Following his graduation from university, Bob continued his association with Track and Field and running as a coach, official and administrator and has an impressive list of career accomplishments:

● Coach of the 1977-79 Dalhousie University Track and Field and cross-country teams (4 AUAA team championships, one 3rd place team finish at CIAU)
● 1979-1988 Executive Director of Nova Scotia Track and Field Association
● 1981 Nova Scotia Team Manager – Canada Summer Games
● 1985 Canada Games – Chief Track and Field Official
● Chef de Mission – Nova Scotia Canada Games Team in 1991, 1993 and 1995
● 1995 Graduate of Canadian Olympic Academy; Level IV Official in Track and Field

Inducted June 2000

1966 – 67 Western Valley Flyers Nova Scotia Midget Hockey Champions

When the Western Valley Flyers hockey team was formed late in December 1966, it was never thought that they would become such a high scoring machine and go on to challenge for the Nova Scotia Championship. The team was composed of eleven players from Berwick and seven from Greenwood and were put together largely through the efforts of Bill Franklin and Stu MacDonald of Greenwood and John Prall of Berwick. The Flyers called Berwick Arena thief home and during an ambitious exhibition schedule leading up to the Nova Scotia championships, the aptly named Flyers outscored their opposition 54 to 23.

In mid-February, the Flyers started on their road to destiny. They first disposed of the Cornwallis Midgets by a lop-sided scored and then quickly handed Chester the same fate outscoring them 21 – 6 in a two-game total series to win the Zone C Championship. This entitled the Flyers to advance to the Nova Scotia Midget Provincial Championship tournament held in Truro that year. After eliminating Pictou 5 – 1 in the semi-finals, the Flyers met their season nemesis Windsor in the provincial final. This same Windsor squad had twice defeated the Flyers in exhibition play during the regular season. Western Valley got off to quick start, built upon an early lead and never looked back. Placed by Willis Huntley with three goals and two assists, the Flyers exacted sweet revenge by outclassing the Windsor team 8 – 2 and taking the provincial championship.

This entitled the Western Flyers to represent Nova Scotia at the national championships – the Centennial Midget Hockey Championships held in Kingston, Ontario during the Easter break. The tournament featured the best midget teams from every province and territory. The Flyers finished a very respectful 2 and 3 in their division and displayed a tenacious style of hockey in all their games. An ex-patriot Nova Scotia watching the team in Kingston said of their play:

“Although down by an early 3-goal deficit to the tournament favorites,
largely because of stage fright, from the second period on, a new game
emerged. The Nova Scotian lads met the Toronto team, check for check,
stride for stride….. This club made one proud to be a Nova Scotian.”

Looking back on the experience, the players agreed that the team’s success was the result of superior coaching, strong management, and hard training – often winning by exceptional physical conditioning alone.

1966 – 67 Western Valley Flyers – Nova Scotia/Maritime Midget Hockey Champions

Coach: George Lipkin Managers: Paul Huntley, Doug Earle

Players:
Lester Appleby
Bruce Beattie
Bill Dook
David Chisholm
Arnold Darling
Gord Franklin
Joe Gillis
Barry Hackman
Michael Hughes
Alden Huntley
Willis Huntley
Tommy Keith
David Kinsman
James Lamb
Stewart MacDonald
Henry McArthur
John Millet
Frank Philips
Garnet Smith
Greg Spicer

Inducted June 2000

1946 – 48 Berwick Foresters Ladies Softball Team

With the return of service personnel at the end of World War II and the promise of better economic times for the Annapolis Valley, 1946 was an exciting and optimistic time for Berwick. This year also marked the beginning of two long-time traditions in Berwick – winning softball and Berwick Gala Days – and the two had a close connection.

Three Berwick sports enthusiasts, Irving Bickerton, George Adams, and Marita Veno recruited a group of highly talented athletes from Berwick and the surrounding area and formed the first softball team in the town - the Berwick Foresters Women’s Softball team. With hard work, this group improved rapidly and soon became the top women’s team in the Annapolis Valley. They were often invited to play at special events such as the Annapolis Royal Natal Days, the Bear River Cherry Festival and as far as Truro and Halifax. In fact, a game involving the Foresters was the feature sports event during the very first Berwick Gala since there were no bleachers at the time. After passing the hat to collect donations, over $350 was realized. Imagine just how many people there must have been to account for that amount of money in 1946! The money of course was donated to the Gala Days fund.

The foresters were the Valley Champions from 1946 to 1948 and went through the 1947 regular season without a loss often beating their Valley foes by lop-sided scores. In August of 1947, after winning the local championship again, they faced the Halifax Arcades – the top team in the Maritimes – in the Nova Scotia play-downs. In the opening game of a best of three series, the local squad was defeated 14 – 2. Back in Berwick on a hot August 24th afternoon, and before a crowd estimated to be near a thousand, the Berwick team eked out a 7 – 6 victory in the second game making a third game necessary that evening. Unfortunately, in that third game the Halifax team pounded out hit after hit and with the visitors leading by a wide margin, the game ended on a bizarre note. In the sixth inning when, after chasing a foul fly ball, catcher Bonnie Corbin collided with third sacker Pauline Hutchinson and was unable to finish the game, the umpire awarded the game to the visitors.

After the 1948 season, the team name was changed to the Bruinettes and although the team continued for many years, the nucleus of the team moved on to educational and family pursuits.

1946 – 48 Berwick Foresters Ladies Softball Team

Manager: Major Irving Bickerton (46) Manager/Coach: George Adams (46-47)
Coaches: Gordon Daniels (47); Wilmot Newell (48)

Jean Fredericks (47)
Marita Veno (46-48)
Margerite Palmer (46)
Pauline Hutchinson (46-48)
Mildred Clark (46-48)
Audrey Huntley (48)
Jessy West (46-48)
Geraldine Jones (47)
Florence Nixon (48)
Rose Fancy (46-48)
Erma Forsythe (46-48)
Vesta Carey (48)
Doris Hutchinson (46-48)
Bonnie Corbin (47-48)
Betty Lutz (48)
June Herbert (46)
Myrna Bishop (46)
Margaret Bain (48)
Ann Baltzer (46)
Alta Kinsman (46)
Love Armstrong (48)

Inducted June 2000

1943 – 44 Berwick Bruins Maritime Intermediate Hockey Championships

Although history often only remembers the glory and glowing press clippings associated with a sensational small-town sports team, the reality often more likely involves much sacrifice and considerable challenges as well. The expenses of maintaining a team and playing for its traveling expenses often is a major hurdle as the team proceeds along the road to a provincial or Maritime Championship. Such was the case of the 1943-44 Berwick Bruins as they sought the Maritime Intermediate hockey championship . In an era when all post-season play-offs involved 2-game total-goal home and home series, the Bruins had to rely on the gate receipts from the home games to pay for the considerable costs associated with traveling by railroad to other parts of the province and Maritimes.

It was in this uncertain economic situation that the Berwick Bruins began the 1943-44 season. President R.A. Moreash and Vice-President Bill Wilson had recruited a talented team. How far they would go might depend on the home-town fans as much as the talented on the ice.

In the long trail to the Maritime championship, the Bruins first won the Valley championship by eliminating the Aldershot Army team. This was followed by a close victory 8–5 over the Halifax Canadians. After a drubbing of the New Glasgow Industrialists, the local squad met the New Waterford Hawks for the Nova Scotia championships. The hockey fever was high in Berwick winning by a two-game margin of 14-6. Equally large and boisterous crowds watched the Maritime final with the Borden (PEI) Nationals. When it was over, the Bruins had won handily by a 23-11 score and were able to hoist the Halifax Herald Trophy, emblematic of the Maritime Intermediate Hockey Championship. Considering the financial constraints and considerable travel required, it was a remarkable accomplishment for a small-town team of only 12 players.

1943 – 44 Berwick Bruins
Maritime Intermediate Hockey Champions

President: Dr. R. A. Moreash Vice-President: Bill Wilson
Manager: Spencer Horsburgh Mascot: Don Morse

Players:
Munroe MacDonald
Ron Anderson
Don Ogilvie
Allison Ward
Win Langille
Vic Fowler
Reg Crosby
Max Noseworthy
Hugh Smith
Fred Fiske
Leon Fiske
Fred Sanford

Inducted June 2000