Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, March 29


 

Posted March 28

Posted Feb. 16

Posted Feb. 17

polls

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

 

 

 

'(Posted 3:30 a.m., May 7)
Orleans Little League celebrates 25th anniversary by recognizing dedicated volunteer
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Coach and minor hockey executive Charles Chamberlain received the Brian Kilrea Award for coaching excellence at the 2009 Civic Appreciation Awards on Tuesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


Over the past 25 years, Orleans Little League Baseball has ridden the highs and lows of the sport and come out the other end with a dozen Canadian championships to its credit and a sense of pride in having provided a summer pasttime to more than 14,000 youth between the ages of 7 and 17.

The one person who's been there every step of the way has been Carolyn Holmes who has served in virtually every capacity on the OLLB executive except president.

When Orleans Little League was first formed in 1984, Holmes was "volunteered" to serve as secretary by the other executive members. She would go on to serve as a convenor, manager and director.

Like many parents, Holmes involvement was tied to her son who was among the original group of 240 kids who registered with the fledgling Little League. Jason Holmes played Little League ball right through until he graduated from high school. He also did double duty as an umpire and both coached and umpired his mother's Slow Pitch team.

After the strike in 1994, he lost interest in the sport he once played as a kid and turned his attention to other athletic endeavours. It wasn't until the birth of his son Alexander, that Holmes love of the grand old game was reignited.

 

 

At the height of the baseball craze in Canada when the Toronto Blue Jays were winnning back-to-back World Series championships, Orleans Little League had over 700 players. For the past several years enrollment has hovered between 420 and 450.

As things turned out, he did such a good job in his twin role that he was elected president prior to his second season and volunteered as a full fledged head coach.

"I'm not exactly sure how it all happened. The first year I volunteered to help coach and then the next year I was president," says Chamberlain, who received the Brian Kilrea Award for coaching excellence at the 2009 Civic Appreciation Awards on Tuesday.

When Chamberlain took over the reigns of the GCGH, they had about eight teams in total. During his tenure as president from 1998 to 2001, registration more than quadrupled. Today, the league has over 40 teams.

After stepping down as president, Chamberlain continued to coach his daughter's team as it moved through the ranks. He's also become involved with the Gloucester Centre Minor Hockey Association thanks to his son Ian, who plays House League hockey in the GCMHA.

But it was his current intermediate girls team that nominated him for the award. Prior to the start of the season the team didn't have a coach. Chamberlain's daughter Amy had decided not to play this year, and he was looking forward to following his son's career.

When the team asked if he would coach them one more year, he found it impossible to say no, especially in light of the fact that without a coach they wouldn't have a team.

"It's extremely gratifying and humbling to know the girls nominated me. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who can create a bond with their team and have it last. I've been coaching some of these girls for five years now," says Chamberlain.

The fact that Brian Kilrea presented the award to Chamberlain made the event that much more memorable.

"It's a great honour, especially receiving the award in the same year that Brian is retiring from coaching. He's a legend and to receive an award named after him is very special," says Chamberlain.

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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