Meeting Minutes - Ross Brewitt - The Five Hole Diaries
This meeting opened at 9:55 am in the Sanctuary of Trinity United Church with President John Proctor chairing the meeting. John welcomed the 38 members in attendance with Ross Brewitt as special guest speaker and one guest, Lorne Hill. Special welcome was also extended to a new member, Geoff Pantling, who has just recently joined the club.
Under news of members, President John mentioned Murray Matheson, a recently deceased member, who was instrumental in helping to start RCMC while still active in Guelph-Wellington Men’s Club and then becoming a very active member in RCMC. A card has been sent with our condolences to Murray’s wife, Fran, on behalf of our members.
A round of applause was given to Bruce Whitestone for he regular attendance given that he is one of the members who travels the furthest, coming from Breslau.
John also mentioned that several members ran into Bob Ackerman recently. Bob passed along greetings to the club members.
A special thank you was extended to Tom Beale, a former Club President, who for many years took on the responsibility of seeing the Annual Report put together and then getting it printed for distribution at the Annual Meeting. Kerry Gennings will now do that job.
Len Johnstone introduced today’s guest presenter, Ross Brewitt. Ross Brewitt left Thunder Bay for Toronto, following a business trail that led from advertising sales, to becoming the General Manager of Maple Leaf Sports Productions, the marketing arm of Hockey Night in Canada. He also worked directly with the MapleLeafs, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, and as a consultant for NHL “Goal” Magazine. Through those roles he was afforded the beginnings of his own professional writing career eventually turning his attention to books…, now numbering six,… four making the bestselling lists, including Clear the Track: the Eddie Shack Story, which remained in the national top-ten non-fiction charts for 15 straight weeks. The Globe & Mail called him "... one of the best, if not THE best storytellers of this, or any age." He continues to write his regular weekly column, a consecutive string of over 1,100 Friday articles, now into its 20th year.
In 2015, he was lured back into the business side of hockey, being appointed Vice-President and General Manager of the “Players Helping Players” organization, a group working directly with all ex-NHL players.
Ross Brewitt on “The Five Hole Diaries” – His newest book. Ross opened by telling us that he and his wife have been married for 61 years. He said she has always been concerned for him and helped him with his medical problems. One time when he had to have emergency knee surgery he was in a hospital that didn’t have sufficient emergency recovery rooms so unbeknownst to him he awoke following surgery in the maternity wing. While wearing only a hospital gown, his wife took him by the arm to go for a walk in the corridor. While they were walking in the corridor some guy came out of a room from visiting his wife and was puzzled to see Ross. He looked around to confirm that this was, in fact, the maternity wing. In passing this fellow in the hallway, Ross’s wife quietly remarked to the other guy, “He’s just had a hysterectomy.”
Ross then talked about hockey and the recent playoff games in which the Leafs played. He said he had not seen such a display of coaching mastery as what Leafs’ coach, Mike Babcock, just pulled off. From day one when Babcock was hired you could tell there was a new system in place. It was a team with many interchanging parts, all of them young, right from the beginning of the year until the last Leafs’ playoff game. When Babcock was hired the plan was that in five years the Leafs would be in the playoffs and that happened the first year and this was due to his coaching. It was much like this when Babcock took a bunch of kids to the Olympics to win a gold medal. All of these kids said they liked being coached by Babcock and no matter where they ended up they’d rather go back and play for Mike.
Ross regaled us with inside stories of some of the hockey greats that he encountered during his time with hockey in various capacities but finally as a sports writer. His stories included players such as Tony Esposito, Billy Sweeney, Gilbert Perrault, Phil Goyette, Pat Quinn, Derek Sanderson, and hockey franchise owners such as Seymour Knox III, Harold Ballard, and Sid Salomon.
Another story was about Noel Picard and his time as a NHL colour commentator and how his French accent sometimes elicited considerable humour.
Ross has written three columns this year about dirty hockey players. One player in particular has been fined the maximum amount, $10,000, under the Collective Bargaining Act but this means nothing to most of the these players because the fine goes to the Player Benevolent Fund and it’s peanuts compared to their salaries. In Ross’s opinion it would be more of a penalty to these players if they were suspended from playing for a greater period of time.
Ross has recently published his latest book, “Five Hole Diaries” which is a collection of 90 of his 1250 columns over his 22 years as a NHL writer. This book is selling so well that he will probably write a volume two and maybe a volume three.
Julian Sale thanked Ross Brewitt for entertaining us with his wealth of humourous hockey stories and presented him with a token of our appreciation.
Announcements Nominations Committee - John Proctor announced that the Nominations Committee this year is comprised of David Wallace, Past-President and Chair; Ed Herold, Vice-President; and Gordon Framst. - Members are invited to speak to one of these three committee members if you wish to stand or nominate someone to be a Director of the Board.
Coffee Group – John Proctor - The Coffee Groups now meet on alternate Thursdays at 10:00 am at both the Airpark Café and the Boat House
Activities – David Wallace - After much deliberation the Activities Committee has decided there will not be the Annual Picnic this year due to lack of significant interest; - However, two outings are being planned: - Mon. May 29th, @ 10:30 am we have the opportunity to visit and tour the UoG Honeybee Research Center with 20 minutes inside and about and hour outside close to the hives. - Wed. May 31st, @ 5:30 pm we can tour RWDI facility. - A sign-up sheet will be available in 2 weeks.
Next meeting May 11th, with guest speaker, Danna Evans who is the Culture, Tourism and Community Investment Director for Guelph.
Adjournment @11:02 am Recording Secretary: Kerry Gennings