‘A great ath­lete and a true gentle­man’

Burin’s Pat Hol­lett ex­celled in nu­mer­ous sports in the 1950s and 1960s

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Al­lan Stood­ley Down Mem­ory Lane Al­lan Stood­ley is a long-time res­i­dent of Grand Bank. He can be reached at am­stood­[email protected]­mail.com, and he wel­comes any com­ments on this or any other ar­ti­cle he has writ

A man who has been de­scribed as one of the prov­ince’s finest ath­letes of his era re­cently passed away in Burin.

Mor­ris “Pat” Hol­lett ex­celled in ev­ery sport in which he par­tic­i­pated, in­clud­ing soc­cer, hockey and bas­ket­ball, as well as a mul­ti­tude of track and field events.

As a young lad in the early

1950s, while a stu­dent at the Angli­can Par­ish

Hall School in Burin, Hol­lett was in­tro­duced to track and field sports.

From the mid-1940s up to 1960, a Burin Penin­sula In­terTown School Sport’s Day was held an­nu­ally, and healthy com­pe­ti­tion among the var­i­ous towns vy­ing for top hon­ours was the or­der of the day.

Frank Pearce, prin­ci­pal of the Angli­can Par­ish Hall School, saw the ath­letic po­ten­tial of the six-foot, three-inch teenager – he’s the man Hol­lett cred­ited for play­ing a ma­jor role in his de­vel­op­ment in track and field.

Hol­lett honed his ath­letic skills on the Burin Penin­sula, but when he trans­ferred to St. John’s to at­tend Prince of Wales Col­le­giate in 1956-57, he be­came no­ticed provin­cially.

Dur­ing his two years at PWC, he was a valu­able mem­ber of both the school’s hockey and soc­cer teams, but track and field was where he re­ally shone. He was the school’s ath­lete of the year for both years, set­ting nu­mer­ous records and win­ning the open dis­cus, shot put, pole vault, javelin, high-jump, broad jump and 440-yard dash.

He also com­peted in track and field events in­volv­ing all St. John’s schools.

A quote from a 1956 news­pa­per reads: “A lad from Burin, Mor­ris Hol­lett, came in to com­pete in the Ju­nior Pole Vault but as there was only a Se­nior Pole Vault event go­ing ahead, he en­tered that and he won … not bad for a ju­nior.”

Lew Fiz­zard was one of Pat Hol­lett’s clos­est friends for many years. Fiz­zard went with him to Bell Is­land for the Pro­vin­cial Track and Field Meet in 1955, and of course “the lad from Burin” didn’t dis­ap­point. He won the pole vault event, beat­ing all com­pe­ti­tion from St. John’s and other cen­tres.

After grad­u­at­ing from PWC at St. John’s, Hol­lett went on to the Uni­ver­sity of New Brunswick where he led the soc­cer team to a cham­pi­onship and was named as MVP for the sport.

Upon re­turn­ing to New­found­land, Hol­lett es­tab­lished him­self as one of the top soc­cer play­ers in the prov­ince. A solid de­fender, who played in the left full­back po­si­tion on the Burin Ea­gles in pro­vin­cial se­nior com­pe­ti­tion in the 1960s, Hol­lett pos­sessed ex­cep­tion­ally tal­ent and skill.

Ear­lier, when he played soc­cer while liv­ing in the cap­i­tal city, a quote in the lo­cal pa­per stated, “He is known to pos­sess the most wicked kick ever seen in St. John’s foot­ball.”

Hol­lett is a mem­ber of both the Burin Penin­sula and the pro­vin­cial soc­cer hall of fames.

Fiz­zard was also a team­mate of Hol­lett on the Burin Ea­gles. In his words, “Pat Hol­lett had it all. He was a great ath­lete and a true gentle­man. I can’t say enough about him. He was al­ways so very re­served and hum­ble.”

Hol­lett died at the Burin Penin­sula Health Care Cen­tre on Aug. 3 at the age of 77. His fu­neral took place at the Zion United Church at Burin on Aug. 7. He left to mourn his part­ner of 32 years, Blanch, as well as his two sons, Dou­glas and Rob, and their fam­i­lies; Blanch’s chil­dren and their fam­i­lies; one brother and two sis­ters, and many other rel­a­tives and friends.

An ar­ti­cle car­ried in the Evening Tele­gram in 1960 noted Pat Hol­lett’s ath­letic skills.

This photo of Pat Hol­lett ap­peared in the Evening Tele­gram in 1962 when he was at his peak in sports.

Mor­ris “Pat” Hol­lett

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