Sid­ney made his mark in Cape Bre­ton

Bill Sid­ney was in­volved in the lo­cal hockey scene for more than 50 years

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

Bill Sid­ney came to Cape Bre­ton from south­ern On­tario to make a liv­ing in the 1950s and made Cape Bre­ton his life and pas­sion.

Nowhere were his con­tri­bu­tions more pro­found than in Cape Bre­ton’s deep and sto­ried sports com­mu­nity and par­tic­u­larly in the hockey arena.

A suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur and com­mu­nity ac­tivist, Sid­ney, who helped bring the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey league fran­chise Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles to Syd­ney in 1997, died this week at age 86. He was the first pres­i­dent of the Scream­ing Ea­gles, served as club di­rec­tor of sales for 19 sea­sons and was in­ducted into the Cape Bre­ton Sports Hall of Fame as a builder in 2005. Scream­ing Ea­gles Chair­man Stu­art MacLeod aptly de­scribed him as “an icon to Cape Bre­ton sports in gen­eral and to hockey specif­i­cally.”

Sid­ney came to Glace Bay to be an an­nouncer for the Glace Bay Min­ers in the 1950s. A few years later, he was one of the lo­cal busi­ness­men who stepped in to save the famous Glace Bay “Cin­derella” Min­ers. It was a year the team won just a pair of games in the reg­u­lar sea­son and then turned things around in the play­offs, win­ning the Cape Bre­ton and Mar­itime cham­pi­onships and com­ing just short of cap­tur­ing an Eastern Cana­dian hockey ti­tle.

In the late 1960s, Sid­ney placed a team in the Mar­itime Ju­nior A league, the Cape Bre­ton Met­ros. He made head­lines when he bor­rowed a plane to get his play­ers to games and hired ex-NHLers Forbes Kennedy and Bronco Hor­vath to coach the team.

He also de­vel­oped an elite high school hockey tour­na­ment that drew some of the top high school teams in the coun­try to Cape Bre­ton.

He served as a scout for the Detroit Red Wings and founded the Cape Bre­ton Met­ros high school hockey tour­na­ment. He was chair of the hockey pro­gram for the 1987 Canada Win­ter Games held in Cape Bre­ton.

On the Scream­ing Ea­gles

web­site, the fran­chise paid trib­ute to its first pres­i­dent: “Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the world of ju­nior hockey was noth­ing new for Bill Sid­ney.”

Out­side sports, he ran a suc­cess­ful alu­minum prod­ucts busi­ness, Mod­ern Alu­minum Prod­ucts. But his com­mit­ment to lo­cal sports forged his deep­est bond with the com­mu­nity. He was sim­ply one of Cape Bre­ton’s most pas­sion­ate cham­pi­ons of sports and his con­tri­bu­tions ben­e­fited gen­er­a­tions of Cape Bre­ton­ers.

There are count­less rea­sons to be glad Bill Sid­ney came up the road from On­tario to make his life down east. His spirit will burn brightly in the heart of hockey and Cape Bre­ton for years to come.

Bill Sid­ney

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