Former Fort Frances hockey player launches hockey scholarship to Brock University – Fort Frances Times

Ed Davis, originally from Fort Frances, was the founding coach of the Brock University hockey team in St. Catharine’s. In September, a scholarship for Brock hockey players will be awarded for the first time in his name.

Ed Davis grew up and learned hockey in Fort Frances in the 1940s and 1950s. When he finished high school, he left Fort Frances to play Junior A hockey in Leamington, southern Ontario. After playing at the Junior A level, he started playing Senior A hockey and began attending the University of Waterloo. While there, his hockey coach, Don Hayes, asked Davis to help him coach the fledgling hockey program. Davis worked with the team while attending school until he was offered a job.

“I had another year to go to college when the pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis offered me a position in St. Catharine’s employing physicians and physicians,” Davis said. “So in 1965 I moved to St. Catharine’s and started using doctors and hospitals on the Niagara Peninsula. “

After working for a while, Davis got a call from a doctor he had never met before.

“It was in ’66, I remember it well,” Davis said. “And Dr. Gibson, the first president of Brock University, gave me a phone call and I thought he was a regular doctor. So I said, ‘You know, I’m sorry because I wasn’t calling you.’ But he said, ‘No, I’m a doctor at Brock University and I’m not in medicine.’ “

As it turned out, Gibson had attended a retreat for university presidents and had met with the president of Waterloo. After a conversation with the president of Waterloo, Gibson decided to start a hockey program at Brock. At that time, they did not have a sports director and the only sport in the school was rowing.

After thinking about it for a week, Davis met Gibson and took on the volunteer role of coaching a men’s hockey team at Brock.

The role was not without challenges. As Brock was in his infancy at the time, there were only 1,000 students altogether, about half of whom were women, so there wasn’t a very large pool to tap into. In their first year, the team struggled to find a goaltender, Davis said.

“The first hockey team there didn’t have a lot of talent because we just picked whoever came,” Davis said. “The big problem is that my first year in 66 was having a goalie. So I put a defenseman in the goal that had played a bit of a bantam hockey goalie or something, so we had at least one team to start.

The team played exhibition games against teams from New York State and other newer Ontario schools like Niagara College and Trent University.

The following year Davis had the opportunity to write to high school programs to tell players that they could have more playing time if they came to a small school like Brock rather than a large one. school like the University of Toronto.

“So I sent letters to all the physical education students. directors of all [schools] in southern Ontario telling them Brock has a team, ”Davis said. “If you want to come here, you’ll get a chance to play, you’ll go to Toronto, you’ll probably be sitting on the bench. So I had better players in 67.

That year, the team was invited to join Ontario University Athletics. Although they knew they weren’t a great team and might not be successful right away, they joined anyway; they didn’t win a single league game that year.

In the third year, they were more competitive as the school grew and had more funds, but they still didn’t win. After that third year, Davis moved out. Her day job was getting busy and doing both was too much work. He handed over the reins of the hockey team to one of his assistants.

Now the Brock Badgers have grown into one of the OUA’s top hockey teams. Currently, they lead their division, playing against the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Lakehead University and York University.

Davis then enjoyed a distinguished career in pharmaceutical sales, retiring as Director of Sales for Pfizer Canada, which acquired Parke-Davis. Davis said he wanted to give back after everything Brock had done for him.

“I was sitting here, looking back, I’m nearing the end of my time,” Davis said. “I’m not there yet but I’ll be 82 in March. I thought, what could I do? I said I would do something right. I finally graduated from Brock University, coached them, and started their curling program as well, actually. I just sat down and said ‘I have to give back, I have to do something because they inducted me into their sports hall of fame, they named the most valuable player trophy after me. , and I graduated from school. ‘ “

Davis said he discussed it with his wife and decided that a hockey scholarship was the way to go. It was presented to the Brock University Senate and approved for availability next year. To this end, Davis endowed a scholarship fund of $ 25,000.

“The college senate approved it,” Davis said. “They don’t just approve of all these kinds of things. But because of my experience at Brock and the start of the program and stuff, they thought it was a good thing to have.

The scholarship is for outstanding hockey players leaving grade 12 and will also consider academics.

One of Davis’ greatest hopes is that a Fort Frances hockey player might win the scholarship someday.

“Wouldn’t it be great if a student from Fort Frances were to win this scholarship one day?” Davis said. “I would be delighted if someone from up there applied and got it.”


Catherine J. Martinez