Joan Benton | Don Blaney | Bob Boisvenue | Len Pecore | Cliff Rae
After joining the Alexandria Ladies’ Fastball Team, she was the winner of the Top Batter Award for five consecutive years. In addition, Joan was named the MVP nine times from 1976 to 1992. Joan excelled in both hitting and pitching, as well as being the centre of Art Benton’s Apple Hill Club’s success in the Alexandria League. She pitched competitively for ten years in the ‘80’s “windmill” style. However a rulebook amendment was enacted banning the “whip” or windmill style of pitching, which Joan had learned as a kid on the farm, playing softball “with the guys.”
Every weekend saw her travelling to Ottawa and surrounding areas to take part in fastball competitions.
Joan also was a formidable broomball player for teams in several different leagues: Alexandria, Cornwall, Embrun, Maxville and Williamstown for a period covering thirty-five years. She took part in many 24-hour broomball tournaments, participated in both regional and provincial broomball showdowns, and won numerous awards for best defense in broomball – nine times at least!
In 1999 she was the winner of the Elaine Avery Award. At age 57 Joan still plays broomball in Williamstown during the winter. In addition Joan played sponge puck hockey in Alexandria until the league folded, winning numerous best defense awards. She still plays ball hockey in Alexandria during the summer.
Along with winning many individual awards, Joan won many team championships in the various areas of play.
Joan has two daughters, Danielle who resides in Vancouver and Michelle who is at home. Joan presently works for Canada Post out of Williamstown.
While attending Maxville high School, Don played football, was a baseball pitcher, a versatile hockey player and entered in many track and field events. He would run home from school for lunch and then run back to keep in shape. In April 1968, Don was awarded the Jim McCaffrey Memorial Trophy as Glengarry’s outstanding athlete of the year. At that same induction dinner, he was also presented with the Father Charles Gauthier Trophy, which was awarded for the first time, to the area’s outstanding football player.
Don had starred at both pitching and batting in baseball, had played Junior B hockey, won a number of EOSSA events in track and field as a runner and had shown such promise in football to be invited to the Rough Rider school that summer. At this time, Don planned to attend the University of Guelph in the fall to study Agriculture.
While attending Guelph University, Don played hockey for the Guelph Gryphons in the 1969-19790 season. Coach Dave Chambers described Don as a “good all around hockey player with a booming shot”. He captured the Walter Rickard Memorial trophy for “Rookie of the Year” and also tied for top-scorer on the team. Coach Chambers was approached, on Don’s behalf, by the NHL Philadelphia Flyers to attend training camp, but Don decided to come home to farm instead.
Once home and working on the farm, Don continued to play sports. He played hockey for the Maxville Flames, Millionaires, No-Stars, Avonmore Aces and anyone else that would ask. He played many tournaments and was presented with countless MVP awards through out the years. He continued to play hockey until age 56.
He also played broomball for Alexandria, Baseball for Maxville and Moose Creek, fastball for Avonmore and still enjoys the sports of curling and golf.
In order to share his love and knowledge for the sport of Hockey, Don coached the Maxville JR. C team for 2 seasons. He was a member of the Maxville and District Lions Club for many years and he served as a Treasurer and the President. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Maxville Curling Club where he was President during the 2001-2003 curling seasons.
Don married the lovely, talented, beautiful, thin Janice Reilly in 1974. Fittingly enough Don and Janice met at the Finch Arena while he was playing hockey for the Avonmore Aces. Sixteen months later Don presented her with an engagement ring while sitting in the car at the same Finch Arena. He then went inside to play hockey.
Don and Janice have two sons, David and Krystopher, who both live in Ottawa and are themselves still on the family farm.
Robert started his minor hockey coaching career at age fourteen and continued uninterrupted for the next twenty-six years coaching at every level from B to AA to Jr. B. In 1996 he declined a scouting position for the “ Foreurs de Val d’Or” of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League due to the pressure of raising a young family at the time.
Robert was also an accomplished fastball player both in the local league and in the Cornwall Fastball League. In his rookie season at the age of 16, he finished second in the league batting with a .358 average in the Alexandria Fastball League. He won numerous league batting titles, most runs batted in and most home runs n regular and post-season play. He was the first player to finish with a batting average over .500 in regular season play. Winner of the Triple Crown, awarded to the hitter who lead in all of these hitting statistics: 1) Home runs 2) Batting average and 3) Runs batted in. Robert also won numerous tournament MVP awards. He was named shortstop for every All Star game played. In the 8 years he played in the Alexandria Men’s Fastball League he maintained a batting average over 400.
Among his personal highlights was playing against the California Cuties (comedians of softball) a team that has played across North America for charity events. Second was a game played against Jack and the Jesters, a 4-man softball team, featuring the world’s greatest and fastest junior trick pitcher Rusty Jack Sparks. He was one of the very few players to get a hit off their star pitcher. He hit an inside the park home run against Rusty Jack Sparks and won the game!
In 1977 he declined an offer to play professional fastball for the Red Deer Corvets of the Western Professional Fastball League.
Moving on, the Alexandria Team joined the highly competitive Cornwall Sportsman’s Fastball League that featured some of the best pitchers and fastball players in the area. Robert was awarded the CSSL player of the year in 1979. This was for the top league individual award and was also awarded the most sportsman-like player the same year. He was honoured at the 1980 Cornwall Lion’s Club Annual Sports Dinner as the Outstanding Defensive Fastball Player in Cornwall and awarded the Most Sportsman-like Player for 5 consecutive years. Robert won numerous CSSL Player of the Week awards and was named starting shortstop for every all-star game played, in which he won numerous MVP awards. Robert played on numerous Cornwall Teams after Alexandria folded. Robert has won tournament championships across Ontario, Quebec and the U.S.
Personal Highlights from this league included hitting a triple and a double against Eddie Feigner, the world’s best known fastball pitcher who toured around the world with the King and his Court. Robert was awarded the MVP for the team Cornwall All-Stars. He also played against the Prince and his Knights, a four man fastball team and was again awarded the MVP. The Cornwall All-Stars awarded Robert yet another MVP after an exhibition game against Team Eastern Ontario. Robert also played in the prestigious Thetford Mines, Quebec fastball tournament that featured teams from Quebec, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the U.S.
Robert declined an offer to tour with the “Prince and his Knights” the four man fastball team founded by Cornwall Sports Hall of Famer Jim Martel. He also declined an offer to play in the 2005 World Master Games in Edmonton, Alberta.
Robert was also one of the first volunteers with the short-lived Alexandria Boys and Girls Club. He also volunteered his time with Jeunesse 225, a group of young people who helped organize teen dances in the basement hall at Sacred Heart Church.
His present interests and hobbies include Martial Arts (Karate) holding a first degree black belt (Shorin-Ryu). He also does weight training, plays golf and tennis, and roller-blades.
Len played with the Intermediate Lacrosse League with teams from the surrounding areas, then progressed into the Seniors “A” Lacrosse League. This league covered an area from Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Orillia, Toronto, Cornwall Island and Syracuse. The team participated in the “Mann Cup” play downs of Canada ending up in either 3rd or 4th place. He continued playing Senior Lacrosse for a period of sixteen years.
As the years progressed, Len became a member of the Old Timers Lacrosse team in and around Cornwall.
While in public school, Len was playing hockey, then continued to play hockey while in high school with several junior teams. Intermediate hockey was played with the “Central Park Flyers.” The team won the Ottawa and District “Citizen Shield” then entered the Allen Cup for Senior A hockey superiority where they were beaten by the Noranda Copper Kings in 1951. Len became a member of the Lancaster Dodgers in the early ‘50’s as a player, captain, playing coach and eventually becoming the coach. The Dodgers won many Border League Championships and were always in the play-offs. In 1961 the MVP award went to Len Pecore. In his four years as a coach of the Border Hockey League Dodgers, Len piloted the team to three league pennants and two championships.
When the Charlottenburgh Arena had a face-lift in 1979, one of the festivities which organizers had planned for the re-opening was an exhibition game pitting the Montreal Canadiens Old-Timers, led by Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard and Dollard St. Laurent against the Charlottenburgh Old Timers which included Len Pecore from the Glen Walter Old Timers.
Playing with the Glen Walter Old Timers was the end of Pecore’s long hockey association. In addition to hockey and lacrosse, Len played ball in the ‘40’s with the Northern Lights entry in the Cornwall league. Later he played ball in a South Glengarry Seniors League playing for Summerstown against teams from Lancaster, Martintown, Bainsville and Glen Walter.
Len worked at TCF-BCL for approximately thirty-six years and while there played ball, hockey, broomball and bowled in the House League and Industrial League of Cornwall. For his broomball prowess he was the leading point-man for four years in the league. He competed in horseshoe tournaments with the Fire Departments and won the Championship eight times in the twelve years he played. Len served as a fireman and later captain of the Glen Walter Fire Department for about twenty years.
Cliff’s interest in golf began as a caddy at the St. Lambert Golf Club. The first tournament he won was a Caddy Tournament. He recalls they were not the best, and all shot over 100. After his return to Montreal in 1953, he joined the golf course in Rouses Point, New York where he met a former assistant Pro who helped improve his game. Although his chipping and putting were good, his driving was rather erratic. He played in many tournaments in and around the Rousses Point area and finally won his first tournament in St. Albans, Vermont.
Cliff organized Cameo Craft’s Golf Tournament for seven years, and won it each year. Cliff also played in the tournament run by MacTac of Toronto and won there a number of times. He also won the purchasing Agents Tournament three consecutive years.
Cliff met Dorothy MacLeod in Montreal and was invited to spend the weekend at her parent’s farm in Dalkeith in order to attend the Highland Games. Cliff considers himself fortunate that this led to a marriage not only to Dorothy, but also to Glengarry County.
In 1965, Cliff joined Glengarry Golf Club. The late 60’s and early 70’s were the best years of golf for Cliff. He was the club champion for numerous years: ’67,’69,’70,’71,and ’72. He played in many tournaments such as The Club Championship Glengarry Open, which he won five times. He also won many tournaments in this period sponsored by Molson and O’Keefe. It became obvious that his driving had improved dramatically.
Cliff was elected president in 1973 and 1974. He worked with Red McHugh to purchase the land for the additional nine holes, and in the following year worked with Richard Bellefeuille to put in the pumping station for these nine holes. Cliff also spent three years working as the Pro Shop Manager.
As arthritis has since made it difficult for Cliff to hold a golf club, he now no longer competes but continues to play for his own enjoyment.