The dinner for Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be held Wendesday, Aug. 19, 2009 in Alexandria at the Sports Palace. Please call 613-527-1044 for ticket information.
Among the most seasoned DIRTcar racing competitors on both sides of the border, Laurent Ladouceur ranks today as one of the most accomplished open-wheel drivers in the northeastern United States and Canada. At the age of 57, the veteran short-track chauffeur from Alexandria, Ontario has not only continues to contend annually for point championships on the Canadian circuit, but he also adds further to his growing legacy in the region’s most recognized sanctioning body with each checkered flag.
From his humble beginnings as an amateur mini stock racer three decades earlier to reaching his current status as a professional pilot in the world of DIRTcar modified racing, Ladouceur has carried success with him to every level along the way. Racking up over 220 feature race victories in both late model and mini stock competition from 1974–86, he jumped head first into the DIRTcar small-block and was honoured as the 358-modified Rookie of the Year in 1987.
Yet that was just the start of a career that currently includes 12 DIRTcar 358-modified track championships (third all-time among 151 drivers sharing 336 individual titles) at ovals like Cornwall’s Motor Speedway, Can-Am’s Motorsports Park (NY), and Autodrome Edelweiss (QC), where he is the reigning points king for a third consecutive year. In a feat never before accomplished since the DIRTcar organization was founded in 1976, ’89 titlist Laurent was joined in 2004 by his son, Joey Ladouceur, as they become the first father-son tandem to earn the group’s highest honour: overall Mr. DIRTcar Champion.
Along with scoring three DIRTcar big-block modified wins during his trackside tenure, Ladouceur has also registered 85 victories (tenth all-time from the list of 518 drivers placing first in 4,786 events) in the 358-Modified division with still more on the horizon as he enjoys his 36th season chasing checkered flags around during the summer months.
Recognized among the all-time leaders in DIRTcar modified racing, this short-track standout was at the top of his game in the small-block ranks in both the United States and Canada, donning a dozen crowns internationally while earning hundreds of feature wins in a career that has already spanned four decades.
Winning championships has been a family goal the past few years since Joey joined his father in becoming the first father-son tandem to earn DIRT motorsports’ highest honour.
Stanley was born on Dec. 16, 1938 and lived with his family in the village of Glen Sandfield. He attended S.S.#Lochiel and Alexandria High School. His post-secondary education includes a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University and a Masters of Education from Ottawa University.
After his post-university education he began teaching at Glengarry District High School where he taught science and physical and health education and served 12 years as vice-principal.
Stanley always loved sports of all kinds and has been fortunate to participate in a wide variety of them. Without the benefit of extensive minor sports programs in the 1940s, Stanley was indebted to Father Gauthier who was the unofficial recreation director, coach and sponsor for youth in the area, regardless of church affiliation. He became a member of the Lochiel Loks hockey family. Also he began playing for Dalkeith Senior Men’s Soccer team at age 15. One or two years later, the “franchise” was relocated to Glen Sandfield. He continued to play into adulthood with Glen Sandfield, as a team captain and later as playing coach. However, the need to take summer courses away from the area interfered with being able to play locally.
In high school, there weren’t many organized high school sports leagues in the 1950s, especially at the St. Paul Street AHS because facilities were limited. When, in Grade 12, the school moved to its present location, complete with sports facilities—a gym, official playing field, etc. They had a set of tackle football equipment and students began learning the game through intramurals. Stanley has vivid memories of quarter-backing the team on their first venture into interscholastic competition—a six-man tackle football exhibition game at VCI, 1 46–6 loss. The return match was a 19–1 loss, but a moral victory! The Vankleek Hill Review noted that AHS’s bachelor point was kicked by QB Fraser.
In his second year of university, Stanley began playing soccer for University of Toronto Varsity Blues Intermediates. In the 1950s, soccer was a very “unCanadian” sport (except in our little Glengarry Soccer League enclave). The two varsity teams, Intermediate and Senior, were composed mostly of recent European-Canadians, the seniors especially, seemed to all speak with a heavy accent and be about 25 years old. Stanley’s background of playing senior soccer at an early age helped offset the more fitness skills of his teammates, allowing him to be one of the regular-scoring forwards on a championship team for the two seasons in which he played.
At university, he also played lacrosse in second and third year. In second year, the team lost in the finals to St. Michael’s College, a team led by Kevin Wheeler of the well-known lacrosse playing Wheelers of St. Andrews. In year III, the team, University of College PHE, won the championship. This was a strong intramural league among the colleges of University of Toronto and it contained an eclectic mix of players who had played on Ontario and Canadian championship teams and players like Stanley who had played before on an organized team.
For Stanley as an adult the love of sport has always continued. Through the years, in winter, he curled for many years, coached community minor hockey, downhill and cross-country skied and played indoor tennis. Playing hockey in adult life as a member of the GTL old-timers was a distinct highlight. The team played and won many tournaments and made two European trips, one to Scotland and England where they played regular club teams who played their no-contract rules (sort of) and where kids in the stands asked for sticks and autographs (sticks especially), thinking they were all NHL players. Currently, Stanley plays bi-weekly with the Alexandria Old Blades.
In the summer months, he plays tennis and golf. Over the years, he has served on two occasions as part of the Glengarry Golf Club executive, 10 years on the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame executive and a term on the Alexandria Curling Club executive. Now that he has reached a certain age, he has become part of the Ontario Senior Games District 8 executive as vice-president and convener of tennis tournaments and nordic ski events. As a participant he has been fortunate to qualify for and to win some medals in the Ontario Winter Games in nordic skiing and to participate in the Ontario Summer Games in tennis.
From the moment Stanley started teaching in 1960, he began coaching and continue to do so until retiring in 1995. In those early years as a phys-ed teacher, you coached not only your favourite sport, but also whichever team was in need of a coach. Consequently, he coached football, basketball, track and field, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. In the early years, games were often played during after school hours, evenings, Saturdays or on holidays.
Undoubtedly, the most successful sport that Stanley coached was football. When he began in 1960 at age 21, some of his senior players would have remembered him as a senior student, just a few years and grades ahead of them. As a rookie coach he probably didn’t evoke a lot confidence for them. In the first year the team didn’t win any football games; the second year, they possibly won two games; but in 1962-63 they won their first championship, then continued scoring points over the season at 210 for and 7 against.
Stanley credits the success of the teams was because of wonderful groups of young men who loved football and who were determined to give their best at all times (sometimes out of fear of not doing as well as the previous year’s team).
Among those students, some went on to a further career in football such as Ivan MacMillan (B.C. Lions), J.T. Hay (Calgary Stampeders), Wayne Lee (Hamilton Tiger-Cats). At university, Donaldson MacLeod with McGill and Burns McPherson with St. F. X. and with the Ottawa Sooners, perennial Canadian football champions, Scott Hay, Keith MacRae and Marc Titley.
Another sport Stanley coached, which was quite successful, was track and field. Almost the whole school would participate. They knew that it was the “building blocks” for all the other team sports and the entire PE department, and other staff would be involved. For 10 consecutive years, GDHS was the Glengarry Prescott Russell overall champions.
Stanley took pride in all the student-athletes as he followed them into adulthood and their chosen field, whether it was farming, law, business, real estate or teaching. As a teacher-coach, you hope that you have had one small, positive influence along their way. It was very rewarding to have some come back to teach at GDHS.
Since retiring in 1995, Stanley has coached in several capacities: midget basketball for one year, GDHS tennis team, summer school tennis for local children and Encore Seniors’ tennis. His last project will be to teach a tennis summer school with his daughter, Stephanie, for inner-city children in East Vancouver.
Stanley has had a full and very successful foray in the ever-varied field of sports.
Robert (Bob) H. Leroux
Son of Eudore and Germaine Leroux, Robert Leroux’s career in the realm of several sports began as a schoolboy playing goalie with the Green Valley Pee Wee hockey league, with coach Laurent Crevier. In 1958, he played Midget hockey with coach Father Gauthier, rector of St. Alexander’s Lochiel parish, and moved on to the Juvenile ranks with coach Adelard Sauvé. In 1959, he continued as a goalie with the border league of Glen Robertson and Lancaster, the team winning the local championship.
From 1960 to 1964, he played right wing and won top scorer each year in the border league broomball team in Green Valley, Ontario; Dalhousie, St-Telesphore and St-Polycarpe, Quebec.
He played forward right wing on the senior lacrosse team in 1961 in Maxville and in 1962 in St. Andrews with coach Cameron MacDonald. He played against Cornwall; St. Regis; St. Andrews; and Syracuse, New York. Bob gives credits to teammate Don Cameron for all the passes that helped him score.
Bob not only is gifted as an athlete but also as an administrator. In 1971, he organized a hockey match between the Glengarry Transport Ltd. Oldtimers hockey team and the Montreal Canadiens Oldtimers, in the old arena on Bishop Street in Alexandria. The GTL team was created for this event and continued on for over 20 years. Having played goalie for this team during all these years, Bob played tournaments in several municipalities. The team was very successful and won many tournaments where Bob was often awarded with top goaltending awards.
In 1976, Bob was named chairman of the fundraising committee of the Palais des sports Glengarry Sports Palace. Along with the committee and with the help of the town of Alexandria, and with the Lochiel and Lancaster townships, he raised over $220,000 for the construction of the Sports Palace. Wintario then offered $2 for every dollar collected throughout the campaign.
In 1976, he organized an official opening supper of the Glengarry Sports Palace with guest speaker NHL referee Red Storey and with other guests, new World Amateur Figure Skating Champion Canadian Kim Alletson of the Minto Skating Club, Ottawa Rough Riders defensive line and kicker Moe Racine and Expos baseball, position first base, Mike Jorgensen. The supper was followed by a performance by Miss Alletson and the Minto Skating club.
A week later, Bob organized a match in the Palace between the GTL Oldtimers and Ottawa Oldtimers. The guest of honour for the opening faceoff was Alexandria’s Doctor Dolan.
In March 1977, Bob Leroux was unanimously voted “Man of the Year for 1976” by Alexandria Town Council, for “his untiring efforts, devotion to his community and his performance as chairman of the drive for funds for the Glengarry Sports Palace.” He was presented with a plaque during an official ceremony on Canada Day. To see the Palace become reality was one of his most regarding moments. It required many hours of volunteer work, but Bob was supported by the generosity of the entire community—the municipality of Alexandria and the townships of Lochiel and Lancaster.
In 1977, the GTL Oldtimers team won the Oldtimers tournament featuring teams from Gatineau, Cornwall and Montreal. Bob was named top goaltender of the tournament.
In 1977, Bob organized the first of two international trips in Europe for the GTL Oldtimers. The team left on St. Patrick’s Day, playing eventually against four fellow teams in Scotland and England: Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh, Whitley Bay and London. Our local team came back with a winning score for each game. The average age of the Oldtimers then was 33. One player, Bruce Libbos, who helped Bob organize this tour, was playing against his old club in Kirkcaldy. The game in Edinburgh was won with only 35 seconds left.
In 1979, bob organized a trip to Holland and Belgium, and you guessed it—the GTL Oldtimers won each and every game! The team played in Amsterdam, Brussels and Antwerp. The game in Amsterdam was held on an outdoor skating rink, which was generally used for speed skating, a popular sport already practiced in Holland then.
In April of the same year, he won top goaltender in the A division at the Cornwall Civic’s third annual Oldtimers Hockey Tournament and the GTL team skated away with the tourney title.
Bob eventually moved from Alexandria to nearby Vaudreuil, Quebec in 1987. He remained involved in the Glengarry sports community with the GTL Oldtimers team for several years onward.
From 1990 to 1993, Bob cycled 70 km each year in Montreal’s popular Tour de l’île.
In order to keep in shape, he also plays squash with his old buddy, former sponsor and captain of the GTL Oldtimers, Gilles Lefebvre. **********
Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame Induction
Michel “Mike” Depratto
Michel “Mike” Depratto was born Jan. 31, 1952 to devoted and cherished parents, Ubald and Réjeanne Depratto. Mike can be characterized as an honest, hardworking leader who lives, eats and breathes sports. As an eight-year-old child, Mike suffered severe rheumatic fever and battled to regain his health. He attended and excelled at École St. Joseph and Glengarry District High School in both academics and athletics. As a junior football player in ninth grade, Mike was called up to play for the senior team and continued as an integral player through his high school career and was top lineman for two years. Mike was named team captain in grades 12 and 13, recognized as a leader by his teammates. In Grade 11, Mike was one of the original members of the school’s first wrestling team and won his EOSSA category in grades 12 and 13. Unfortunately, Mike was denied the opportunity to attend OFFSA in his senior year due to the historic snowstorm of March 1971 when roads were closed for nearly a week; trains did not run for several days. Ironically, the wrestler Mike defeated at EOSSA made it to the tournament and was OFFSA champ. During high school, Mike also attended EOSSA as a member of the badminton team. Mike also dabbled in curling, broomball and in the early ’70s played pickup hockey with the world-famous Dalkeith. Mike’s love of sports led him to a post-secondary education at Algonquin College where he graduated in Ottawa Hautes Études en Loisir (Recreation Director/Management program) and returned to teach part-time at the college following graduation. Mike soon began his dream job as parks and recreation director for the town of Alexandria and continued for over 25 years (1973–1998). He was also member of the building committee for the Glengarry Sports Palace and became the area manager from 1976–1998.
Mike combined his athletic talent with his leadership and smarts and began a successful coaching career. During his college career, he coached the Canterbury High School football team, and when he returned home to Glengarry, he was assistant coach to Jean-Yves Jeaurond’s Gaels. The Alexandria Chippers and Carnation Fastball teams won many local and Eastern Ontario tournaments under Mike’s 10-year leadership.
Mike fell in love and on Oct. 15, 1971, married his sweetheart and best friend, Catherine Mackinnon, and life for him changed forever. He began coaching his wife and best friend in ladies’ softball, broomball and sponge puck for over 20 years. He was blessed with three children, Cassie, Beth and Michael and his coaching career soon became even more overwhelmed. He coached hockey for the Alexandria & District Minor Hockey Association (ADMHA) and Girls AA in Cornwall for many years and was a faithful fan while his children played soccer, swam, figure skated, played softball, basketball, lacrosse and so much more. Mike and Cathy even drove the 12-hour return trip almost every weekend to follow their daughters’ athletic careers at a high school near Boston, Massachusetts. Despite his busy coaching career, Mike still found time to volunteer with the local chapter of the Special Olympics and as president of the Glengarry Soccer League for four years. Mike began his volunteer career in hockey in 1973 as a member of the ADMHA executive and later as president when he replaced his good friend Billy Gebbie. Mike next began his career with the Ottawa & District Minor Hockey Association (ODMHA) in 1999 serving first as a director for the branch, then as first VP and finally as current president of ODMHA. The ODMHA serves over 30,000 kids in Eastern Ontario from Pembroke to Kingston to the Quebec border. His goal as a member of ODMHA is to assist every child to play Canada’s favourite sport. Somehow, Mike still found time to run a successful farm, to be a longstanding member and occasional president of the Alexandria Lions Club, past chairman for the Alexandria Heart and Stroke Committee, past board member of Glengarry Community Living, member and chairman of the Alexandria & District Chamber of Commerce for three years, and most recently to serve as president of the Alexandria Junior B Glens. He has also participated and chaired in other community events and fundraisers. Mike was recognized as volunteer of the year in 1992 by the Alexandria Lions Club; however, his son accepted this award on his father’s behalf as Mike underwent major lung surgery. Mike was honoured with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003. Mike is known by many in the community as someone always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needs help!
Always dedicated to family and community, sports have been a major part of his life: as an athlete, organizer, coach, volunteer, and last but not least, as a devoted husband and parent. He is a quintessential example that through sports valuable life lessons can be learned and that the quality of life can be improved through participation at any level.
Ronald Joseph MacDonald
Ronald Joseph MacDonald was born in Cornwall on March 15, 1932. He is the third of four children of Archie J. (Big Rory) MacDonald and Flora (Danny Alex McIsaac) MacDonald of Greenfield. His interest and participation in sports began in childhood and has continued.
Among Ronald’s extended family are three who have been inducted into the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame, namely, Alexander (“Big Alex” McIsaac) MacDonald and Ralph MacSweyn, on his mother’s side and J. Alex (Angus John) McDonell, on his father’s.
If asked, Ronald would say that the most influential sports figures in his life would have been his father and his older brother, Donald, who was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame.
His early years were spent mainly in Newington and Crysler near where his dad was assigned as station agent for the New York Central Railroad. In 1942, a transfer to N.Y.C. Cornwall resulted in a move there by the family.
Over the years, Ronald was involved in track and field, lacrosse, football, soccer and softball with teams in Cornwall, Maxville, Dunvegan, Alexandria, Perth and Renfrew.
His primary sports interests, however, were hockey and basketball. His first organized hockey team was in 1942–42 playing defence for Cornwall’s Holy Name Society. By 1949, he was playing for the Maxville Juvenile Village League. From 1951 to 1958, he played for the Maxville Millionaires. In 1951, he tried out with the St. Catharines Teepees of the Junior A OHL. He also played one year for Alexandria, in the border league.
On moving to Perth, he played with the Perth Blue Wings. The team reached the ODHA senior finals for the Citizen Shield.
After joining the Ontario Provincial Police, Ronald settled in Renfrew and served with the force for the next 28 years. He played for the Renfrew Industrial League for several years then ended his last 10 playing in 1986 with the Renfrew Millionaires Oldtimers hockey team.
He coached the Renfrew Lions Junior B hockey team from 1963 to 1970. This team won the Citizen Shield, ODHA Junior title in 1970. Ronald was justifiably proud of his team and the dedication of the players toward their goal.
His interest in basketball started in high school. He went on to join the Holy Name Society team, playing guard. This team won the City of Cornwall title four times between 1950 and 1955 advancing to the Ottawa District finals and on to the Eastern Canadian semi-finals twice.
But there is more to Ronald than just sports; he has always been an active member of his community. He is respected by those who know him. Respect though, as everyone realizes, is something earned, and for Ronald, part of that earning came on Oct. 26, 1957.
On that day, while working on the dredging for the St. Lawrence Seaway, a fellow worker, 51-year-old Harold St. John, misjudged the distance between the barge they were on and a deep water pier. As he fell into the deep icy water, he sustained a head injury and was bleeding. Heavily clothed, he began to struggle. Judging the man’s difficulties and seeing him going down for the third time, Ronald dove in, swam toward him and pulled the forever grateful man to safety.
Ronald married Vanita Doth of Maxville in 1957. They currently live in Stittsville, not far from their two daughters, Susan and Donna, and their four grandchildren.