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Sports with Patrick Townes, Springwater and area

Diverse group of kids playing soccer.

SPORTS with Patrick Townes

During the month of January, the community of Elmvale and beyond has lost key members of its sports heritage history.  Elmer McFadden passed away in his 92nd year on January 17, 2021.  Elmer and his wife who shared their first date at the Elmvale Fall Fair moved to Shelburne in 1954 and then Woodbridge in 1959.  In 1984, they returned to where it all began.

Elmer was heavily involved in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) throughout this life, including roles as a coach, regional representative, and then President of the OMHA.  After returning to the Township, it was during this time that Elmer served as the President of the OMHA.  He was a dedicated volunteer and was a cornerstone of local hockey in Ontario.  One can only guess the total number of hours he put in over his career.  Elmer was elected as a Life Member of the OMHA in 1999.

Elmer also was a member at the Elmvale Curling Club.  He curled up until the end of the 2019/2020 season when the pandemic resulted in a shortened schedule.  It is rare that a Curling Club can say that they have a member in their 90’s, and still was performing some big weight shots with the stick!

Elmer was inducted into the Springwater Sports Heritage Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2016.  A quote from the Springwater Sports Heritage website includes the following:  “Elmer muses about the size of the OMHA now as compared to when he was an executive. His recollection is paraphrased as…Times have changed during those years as president, secretary and treasurer when the work was done part-time and often in the basement of one’s home. Now the OMHA has an executive director and 15 employees with him in a big office.”  During his speech at the banquet in 2016, Elmer remarked, “First of all, I want to thank the Committee for this privilege of coming into this Hall of Fame, and I’m so tickled pink, that you did it when I’m alive!”.

Elmer’s wife Ev McFadden, who passed away in September of 2020, is also a member of the Hall of Fame, as a member of the team that won the Ontario Masters Curling Championship in 1996. They were the first and only team representing the Elmvale Curling Club to win a provincial championship.  Ev was the lead alongside Dorrie Fiegehen (skip), Marlene Tinney (vice), and Lorna Quesnelle (second).

The name Ritchie is known in this area to all locals, and is also a name recognized in other communities well outside of Elmvale. Stan Richie passed away in his 86th year on January 24.  Stan accomplished a lot throughout his life, and in terms of sports, culminated with an induction in the Springwater Sports Heritage Hall of Fame for both an Athlete and a Builder.

Stan played defense for numerous years on many hockey teams in Elmvale and surrounding towns. He was a force to be reckoned with on the blue line for decades. He was a leader with teams in Stayner, Midland, Collingwood, Barrie and Elmvale over five decades. In 1953-54 season at 18, he was a member of the Midland Red Wings coached by NHL great Roy Conacher that won the OHA Junior “C” Championship. During his career, Stan was not only a great hockey player but also was an example of unwavering strength of character. I am glad I never had to go in the corner with him but he was always a gentleman on and off the ice. His strength on the ice parallels Tim Horton who was known as one of the strongest hockey players ever. For his accomplishments on the ice, Stan was elected to the Springwater Sports Hall of Fame as an Athlete in 2016.

Stan also played fastball during the summer in Barrie and Elmvale but was always known as a hockey player first. He also embarked on numerous local and regional coaching and executive positions in hockey and baseball. As a business owner, he sponsored local teams and events. Over the past several decades he was the recipient of many awards for his dedication to sports and community including Elmvale’s Citizen of the Year award in 1996. Stan spent 14 years teaching Mini-Tykes the skills needed to play the game. He was inducted into the Springwater Sports Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2016.

Our community has lost three Hall of Famers in a very short time. For more information, please visit the Springwater Sports Hall of Fame website.