Ge­or­gian Col­lege golfers among Canada’s elite

The Barrie Examiner - - SPORTS - IAN SHANTZ POST­MEDIA NET­WORK Jack Do­minico, owner of the In­ter­county Base­ball League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, is com­ing up on 50 years and still go­ing strong in Toronto.

In came the calls, al­ways from a blocked num­ber.

Paul Spol­jaric, the for­mer Blue Jays pitcher and Olympian, could only sigh and an­swer his phone.

“Are you ready, kid? Are you good to go?”

It was Jack Do­minico, owner of the In­ter­county Base­ball League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, on the line, want­ing to know if Spol­jaric, the lefty from Kelowna, B.C., who’d just wrapped up a six-year MLB ca­reer, was pre­pared for his weekly start at the field named af­ter the team owner and his late wife, Lynne: Do­minico Field at Christie Pits.

“‘Jack, this ain’t my first rodeo’,” Spol­jaric re­mem­bers of his re­sponse to those cease­less calls upon ar­riv­ing on the IBL scene with the Leafs in the early 2000s. “‘Stop call­ing me. You’re start­ing to piss me off. I know how to get ready for a game, don’t worry about that’.”

In­deed, Spol­jaric did just fine, lead­ing the Leafs to two of the fran­chise’s eight cham­pi­onships over a dom­i­nant half-dozen sea­sons as the team’s ace.

When Spol­jaric did have the oc­ca­sional rocky out­ing on the mound, though, he’d in­evitably hear from the team owner.

“He’d call me if I had a rough start and he’d say, ‘Oh, you re­ally sucked last night’,” re­called Spol­jaric, who later signed with the ri­val Bar­rie Bay­cats to be closer to his Lislearea home. “‘OK, Jack. It’s base­ball. Maybe I sucked, maybe they were bet­ter than me. I don’t know.’”

Those colour­ful con­ver­sa­tions, in a nut­shell, as any­one who has ever crossed paths with the face of Maple Leafs base­ball will at­test, can be boiled down to a trio of words that are per­haps the only way to ac­cu­rately de­scribe the base­ball lifer’s truly unique per­son­al­ity: “Jack be­ing Jack.”

Per­son­al­ity must be the key to longevity. How else does one ex­plain the same man own­ing the same sports fran­chise for 50 sea­sons, a mile­stone the 78-year-old Do­minico will hit when the new sea­son kicks off next spring. Fifty years. We searched high and low for a sports team owner at the pro­fes­sional or am­a­teur level, in the U.S. or in Canada, whose ten­ure at the helm has lasted 50 years, com­ing up empty and cross­ing off Ge­orge Stein­bren­ner, Gene Mauch, Al Davis, Jerry Buss, Ed Snider and IBL coun­ter­part Ar­den Ed­die of the Lon­don Ma­jors fame along the way.

For per­spec­tive, the IBL, an in­de­pen­dent league with teams through­out south­ern On­tario com­pris­ing a mix of col­lege play­ers and for­mer pros such as Spol­jaric, Fergie Jenk­ins and Pete Orr, will mark 100 years of ex­is­tence in 2019.

Do­minico has owned his team for ex­actly half that cen­tury.

And from time to time, he’ll raise his voice at you.

“He’ll call up — and Jack and I have got, I’d de­scribe it as a won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship — but it’s not un­usual for Jack to scream at me, tell me I should be fired; tell me I should get out of base­ball for all eter­nity, no idea why we hired you in the first place, and just say the most aw­ful things to you,” said IBL com­mis­sioner John Kast­ner, who has known Do­minico since his sea­son play­ing for the Strat­ford Hillers in 1979, through­out his lengthy ca­reer as the sports edi­tor with the Strat­ford Bea­conHer­ald and the past few years as com­mis­sioner.

See |B2 (STAFF) - The Ge­or­gian Griz­zlies men’s and women’s golf teams were fea­tured promi­nently in the ini­tial Cana­dian Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (CCAA) rank­ings for the 2017 sea­son. Ge­or­gian’s women’s team was ranked first in the rank­ings and is com­ing off a sea­son where they won gold at the 2016 CCAA Ping na­tional cham­pi­onships. Two of the team mem­bers from that cham­pi­onship are re­turn­ing in Bar­rie na­tive Ad­di­son Wall­win and Mon­treal’s Em­i­lie Tyn­dall. Wall­win won the in­di­vid­ual gold medal at na­tion­als a year ago. The men’s team is ranked fourth in the na­tion and earned a sil­ver medal at the On­tario Col­leges Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (OCAA) cham­pi­onship last year. Re­turn­ing vet­eran Matt Le­may (Water­loo) earned the in­di­vid­ual bronze medal at the na­tional cham­pi­onship the last two con­sec­u­tive sea­sons. The men’s and women’s golf teams will play in their first tour­na­ment of the sea­son Satur­day at the Fan­shawe In­vi­ta­tional in Lon­don. Ge­or­gian will host its own in­vi­ta­tional tour­na­ment next Thurs­day at the Her­itage Hills Golf Club in Bar­rie. See | B2

SUB­MIT­TED

Bar­rie na­tive Ad­di­son Wall­win

JACK BOLAND/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

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