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.
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 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,
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.
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.
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.