Viewing entries tagged
2010

Bruce Beattie

Bruce Beattie played many sports in his youth, including baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. In high school he participated in soccer, volleyball, and track and field. His real passion in sports, though, was hockey.

Bruce played his entire minor hockey career in Berwick and became known and trusted as a steady stay-at-home defenceman.

The highlight of his minor hockey career was the 1967-68 season. The Western Valley Flyers were formed to challenge for provincial, maritime, and national honours in midget age hockey. This stellar group of young men were primarily from the Berwick area and played out of the Berwick Arena. Bruce anchored the defence and was chosen to captain the team in their bid to win to the national title.

The Flyers captured both the Nova Scotia and the Maritime titles, giving them the opportunity to represent their province at the national championship in Kingston, Ontario. The team did their home province proud, placing 4th in Canada. The Western Valley Flyers were inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

After what Bruce remembers as "the best hockey year he ever played", he moved on to the Berwick Junior Bruins. In the 1969-70 season, Bruce was chosen the Bruins' MVP. He was also the key to the defence at Central Kings during his high school years. His former high school coach, John Prall, remembers him as "a great skater, a good all-round player, a leader, and a true gentleman".

After Bruce graduated from Central Kings in 1971, he enrolled at Acadia University and joined the Axemen blueliners. Bruce's steady play did not go unnoticed in the Junior "B" ranks and he and Joe Gillis were recruited by Moe Smith to join the Windsor Royals for the playoff run.

Bruce continued to toil in the AUS with the Axemen until 1974, when a broken knee cap forced him to miss most of the season. After graduating from Acadia, Bruce moved to the Northwest Territories. He returned to Berwick in 1980 and with his brother Brian started Universal Sports sporting goods store. He played in the suburban league and turned his attention to coaching with Berwick Minor Hockey. He returned to the north and spent a total of fifteen years in various communities there.

Since his return Bruce has been a tremendous contributor to the Berwick community as a volunteer with Gala Days, the Berwick Arena Slow Pitch Tournament, the Apple Dome Steering Committee, and with many Apple Dome fundraisers.

The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Bruce Beattie.

Inducted June 2010

Laurie Ward

Born into a sports-minded family, Laurie grew up in Weston and loved to join the games that surrounded him. He remembers playing ball with great delight, as young as age five, in the backyard after supper with his brother Paul and sister Marilyn, his uncle Bernie, and any neighbors that happened along. One night in particular, he remembers his mother coming out, taking him inside, and putting him into bed. He waited until she returned downstairs, and then snuck down the back stairwell to rejoin the game outdoors. This desire to play and compete continues to this day.

Laurie played Little League ball in Aylesford, but one day at the age of thirteen, he tagged along with his older brother Paul to one of his games in Berwick. He was invited to join the game. The teams were comprised of men ten years his senior. The opposition, noticing the youngster at bat, pulled the outfield in. Laurie hit the ball fifty feet over their heads. He was immediately invited to play in the Berwick league. Laurie continued to play softball in Berwick. He played for the All Stars at the age of fifteen and hit a .327 average. In the following years his batting average was over .400. He was a member of the Berwick Legionnaires team that won the Nova Scotia and Maritime softball titles in 1961. This team has previously been inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall-of-Fame.

The same year, Laurie played baseball with the Kentville Hoppers Juvenile Team who won the Nova Scotia and Maritime Championships. In fact, after finishing one championship game in Saint John with the Hoppers on Saturday, he went to play in Woodstock with the Legionnaires on Sunday. He also played a year in the Halifax & District League, known as the H&D League, for the Kentville Wildcats. He was known to be a power hitter with a high batting average, a very good bunter and base stealer, and an outstanding outfielder who made many sensational catches.

During his high school years at West Kings, Laurie excelled at many sports. He was a member of a relay team which set a record at the Kings County zone trials and went on to the Acadia relays. He held seven records at West Kings in track and field. He was the pitching and hitting star for the softball team. His basketball years were phenomenal. The West Kings team won the Headmasters “A” Championship in 1960, and as it was reported in the Chronicle Herald, Laurie was “the big gun for West Kings, the kingpin for the attack throughout the tourney.” He was also a member of the West Kings teams that won the provincial titles in soccer and volleyball that year. Laurie was named the athlete of the year at West Kings for his stellar contribution to sport.

In later years, while stationed with the RCMP in Gimli, he played fastball for the Winnipeg Molson Canadians who won the Manitoba Senior “A” League Championship. In 1966, he was voted All Star left fielder for the league.

Laurie was also a very good hockey player. While playing for the Berwick & District League he finished third in scoring and led the league in assists. He played for the RCMP in New Brunswick, and also for the RCMP Old-timers who toured Nova Scotia playing benefit games.

Laurie is an accomplished golfer. He has had three hole-in-ones (two at KenWo and one in P.E.I.), played to a 2 handicap, with a low score of three under par, 67 at KenWo, and has won the Midas Invitational Tournament.

In addition to playing sports, Laurie has coached hockey; taking the Kentville Pee Wee hockey team to the International Hockey Tournament in Quebec, in which 200 teams from Canada, the United States, and Europe participated. He also coached Little League baseball in Kentville, as well as several ball and hockey teams while living in Manitoba.

The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Laurie Ward.

Inducted June 2010

Stuart E. Johnstone

Sometime during the mid 1940s Stuart E. Johnstone wrote about a ball game. He then took the story to John Scott, owner of the Berwick Register, and asked if he would print it. He did and a few days later he called Stuart and said, "Bring more." Mr. Scott's support launched Stuart's career as a sports reporter and the rest is history.

His play-by-play writing style was so descriptive that if you missed the game you could just pick up the Register and read Stuart's article to visualize exactly how the game had been played. As Dr. Ron Thorpe said, "Stuart, you use too many adjectives."

Stuart started out as a scorekeeper but, as his interest grew, he qualified and wrote his exams and became a registered umpire for the Nova Scotia Softball Association. He umpired many games throughout the province, including the final two games of the 1950 Intermediate "A" Championship between Springhill and the Greenwood Flyers. The Flyers were allowed to pick up two players, Carl Best and Carl McDow; they won a hard-fought 2-1 series. Stuart recalls "good times and bad" calling balls and strikes.

Stuart's real passion was writing. He garnered much space from Berwick Register owners John Scott and Murray Bezanson, both sports enthusiasts. Occasionally, the press was held up to wait for reports on an important series or provincial championship. Stuart's writing was so good, requiring so little editing, that his editor suggested that he write on yellow paper so that his reports could be recognized at a glance and could be sped past the usual editing process. Frank S. Bums, president of the Maritime Newspaper Association, wrote to Murray Bezanson, saying, "Congratulations to you and your writer S.E. Johnstone that is the sort of material that will keep your weekly newspaper alive."

Of course, his favourite team was the Mohawks from his beloved Waterville so many great players, so much to write about. Stuart was offered a job writing promotions for the Berwick Arena, but he had to decline as his painting contracting business was keeping him too busy.

For many years Stuart coached the Berwick Graves Oldtimers hockey team. In 2010 Stuart celebrates sixty years of service as a firefighter. He also serves as a village commissioner, church deacon, RCMP citizen patroller with well over five thousand hours of service, reporter for AVR and CHNS radio stations, and longtime member of Masonic and Eastern Star Lodges. Married to Murielle for fifty-eight years, with three children, Wayne, Elaine, and Bryce, and two grandchildren, Kristen and Adrian, Stuart continues to write for the Berwick Register.

The Berwick Sports hall of Fame is proud to induct Stuart E. Johnstone.

Inducted June 2010

Arthur D. Newton

With the arrival of Art and Eleanor Newton in September of 1959, the development of sports in Berwick was about to take a gigantic leap forward.

Art played several sports. He played baseball, hockey, and tennis while in the Air Force from March 1955 through April 1958. He played fastball and hockey in Greenwood in 1960; however, it was as a builder that Art would make his main contribution to local sports. He began by organizing and coaching Midget softball, with the help of assistant coach David Miller, in the summer of 1961. The creation of this team began a resurgence of interest in softball in the area.

In the late fall of 1961, with the arrival of artificial ice in the Berwick Arena, Art, along with George Hamilton, coached a hockey team representing Aylesford in the Berwick & District Suburban Hockey League, referred to by locals as the Apple Knocker League. This team competed with teams from Berwick, Grafton, Morristown, and Graves Ltd. Aylesford won the championship in the spring of 1962.

Education and employment opportunities took Art and his family away from Berwick in 1962. They returned in 1968.

In the summer of 1969, Art organized and coached a Midget baseball team, playing on the old field in Berwick and competing against teams from Kentville and Greenwood. In the fall of that year, Art coached the Berwick Bruins Junior "B" hockey team, playing exhibition games throughout the regular season until the playdowns, which they lost, late in the run, to New Glasgow.

In the summer of 1970, Art managed the Berwick Alpines Senior "B" fastball team. Art brought in Canada Games All Star shortstop Roy Mansfield and many other star players. Not only did he coach and manage, but he built the dugout and fence and he maintained the field. The team won the Valley Fastball Championship that year and advanced to the N.S. Senior Fastball Championship, losing to New Glasgow, one home and one away, 1-0 in each game.

In the summer of 1971, Art started two teams: a Senior "A" Fastball team in the Mainland Senior League, coached by Pat Hampsey and managed by Art, and an Intermediate "A" team in the Valley Fastball League, coached by George Moody and assisted by Randy Holmesdale. The Intermediate team won the league championship. In the summer of 1973, the two teams merged into one Intermediate "A" team, which Art managed and for which he was able to secure sponsorship by Eassons Transport Ltd. Sponsorship by Eassons for Berwick softball would continue for over thirty years.

In 1981, Art assumed the position of Player-Recruiter for the Valley Wildcats Junior "A" Hockey team, a position he held for two years. This team included many Berwick players, such as Bobby Best, Brian MacAskill, Larry Morse, and Craig Prall.

Art has served on Berwick Town Council, the Western Kings Hospital Board, and the United Church board. For fifteen years, Art assisted with the organization of the Apple Tree Foundation Golf Tournament for the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre. For the past nine years, Art has helped to organize and run the Annual Apple Dome Golf Tournament and Auction. The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Arthur D. Newton.

Inducted June 2010

Dr. Thorpe Curling Team

During the late 60s, the 70s, and the early 80s, the Berwick Curling Club was well respected locally and across the province for having strong, competitive teams. With the recruitment of Dr. Ron Thorpe, Tom Beattie, Dave Miller, and Bill Wilson, the Berwick Curling Club became even stronger. Looking more like NFL linebackers than curlers, these four men combined style, strength, strategy, size, agility, shot making, and tremendous “sweeping ability”. Back in the day before push brooms, these men drew raves from spectators for their sweeping efficiency, pounding in unison with corn brooms, rink rats, and mid westerns (with leather inserts). One Digby Hall-of-Famer, Hymie Webber, even checked their brooms one day for real vacuums!

All the practice and play would pay off. Most of the games played in the Berwick Curling Club were full of tension and excitement. All of the teams wanted so dearly to represent the club, especially at the provincial level. There was even the odd call to world champion Ernie Richardson for a bit of advice.

Holes-in-one in golf are rare, but eight enders in curling are extremely rare. In January 1971, the boys pounded Dr. Thorpe’s last rock all the way to the rings to score the first eight-ender in Berwick Curling Club history and to win the right to represent Berwick in the famous Johnson Cup, played in Halifax.

It was fun to watch Dr. Thorpe’s methodical approach to the game, Tom Beattie’s style of bringing the rock back to should height and finishing with a gentle delivery, and the shot making and sweeping of Dave Miller and Bill Wilson. Bill became known as “Double” Wilson for his ability to make double take-outs when needed the most. And they were hugely successful. They were runners-up four times in provincial play; the 1971 Johnson Cup, the 1972 Provincial Branch Junior, and the 1973 and 1975 British Consols (the provincial men’s championship now known as the Labatt Tankard). As Dave Miller said about the team, “We were pretty strong”.

One of the most prestigious events of the time was the Western Counties Bonspiel, which brought together the best curling teams from throughout the western part of the province, included several that went on to provincial championships. The individual members of the Ron Thorpe Curling Team, on various teams over three decades, won nine times. Bill Wilson was elected to the Western Counties Hall-of-Fame as a five time winner. Dave Miller won twice and Dr. Thorpe and Tom Beattie each won once.

Not only were these curlers great ambassadors of the game, but they also gave freely of their time to make the home club successful; holding office, working on committees, and running bonspiels. It would be interesting to put this team up against today’s teams.

The Berwick Sports Hall-of-Fame is proud to induct the curling team of Dr. Ron Thorpe, Tom Beattie, Dave Miller, and Bill Wilson.

Inducted June 2010