There is only one Canadian basketball Hall of Fame and to expect Basketball Canada to represent the history I witnessed would be ideal but unfortunately right now it does not. As leader of my organization my responsibility is to the history of our thousands of alumni. I do hope many of P.H.A.S.E. 1’s alumni will be included in Basketball Canada’s one day however until then, these stories about our Elite 1’s will hold their place in history.
Who I would also like to see one day in our Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is the generational leaders of my time, who propelled basketball to its current explosion at the youth level. Men and women like Lou Sialtsis (Eastern Commerce), Ron Burrows (Mother Teresa CSS, St. Augustine CSS), Mike Katz (George Harvey, Humber College, York Memo, U. Toronto). Others like David Joseph (Eastern Commerce, Pickering HS, Centennial College), Willie Delas (George Brown) Donavan Dill (Power Basketball Camp), John Petrachek (Runnyemede), Cleveland Clunis (ETBA), George Krause (Markham District H.S.), Al Wolch (West Hill CI) all deserve recognition.
These people may not have represented Canada on a national stage, but their impact is still deeply rooted. It would not be hard to find the foundations of what they built or the sacrifices they made in lives and careers of the most prominent Canadian ball players today playing professionally, coaching at the highest levels, or running leading organizations.
There are many great coaches that can be named, but only a few coaches that have also adopted the communities in which they coached. Understanding they are fathers to the fatherless, and that they are in fact helping to break generational poverty by moving each young person forward to post-secondary education. They are life coaches, community builders, and that was enough for them to feel like they were making a difference, regardless of if the player showed pro potential.
The times have changed because I’ve seen a generation of leaders who have been celebrated for arriving at the top of the work built by others, which I do understand is a natural course of history. As the landscape changes the need for new leaders is a reflection of where Canadian Basketball is today. However, we need more leaders who can see the potential in all young athletes to use the game to better their lives and not just make it to the NBA. Leaders who can manage professional athletes and teach them how to build their own backyards, honor their forefathers and help prepare the next generation.
We need to learn from the generation of leaders who did not build Canadian basketball for their own glory and opportunity, but for the children of the children they so tirelessly helped.
Please send me the names and stories of the men and women who coached teams and ran organizations not just for their own child, or to land their first pro. They deserve their place in history as much as those that benefited from the roads to success paved for them.