Glace Bay Colonels

  • Type: Team
  • Sport(s): Baseball
  • Year: 2017

Glace Bay Colonels — Canadian Major Little League Champions, 1987

This division of Little League baseball is for 11-12 year olds, which is the competitive [major] division for this age group in this sport.

The Colonels had a great winning playoff record in all six playoffs/tournaments in which they participated en route to winning the Canadian little League championship and the competing well at the World Championships. This team won the Maritime title in both ‘86 and ’87, although there were many new players in 1987 when they won Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Maritimes and at the Nationals in BC. COMEBACK KIDS: At the nationals in Trail, BC, they had 4 comeback wins to tie for first in the round-robin with two BC teams, including the host, Trail and Stuart Channel. They scored 2 sixth inning runs against Trail to win 4-3, then after trailing 2-0 after the 4th inning against Edmonton, they exploded for a 9-2 win. This was followed by a 5-4 late inning rally to beat Sherbrooke, Quebec. Then after being beaten soundly by Stuart Channel (BC), they again rallied after being down 3-0 to Ottawa, scoring 4 runs in the 4th to win 4-3. That win tied them for first in the round-robin with the two BC teams. In the playoffs, they gave up an early lead to Trail again, but went on to win by a lop-sided score of 8-2; and in the championship game they took an early lead for the first time on Geoff Oliver’s home run, and stayed the course for a 5-1 victory against the only team they had lost to in round-robin play – Stuart Channel. In total it was five comeback wins before winning from start to finish for the title. In the playoffs they had defeated two hometown/province teams in front of 7000 fans – truly a team to earn the label “comeback team”, before winning and representing Canada in Williamsport, VA.

The Colonels also came 5th in World Little League Championship … with a respectable even won-loss record against the world’s best baseball countries. But this didn’t happen without dedication, as it is reported that they were on the field almost daily, either practicing (up to six hours a day) or playing in the local “house league”… the team always believed that 1987 was to be their year! For them the team was always more than any individual player and goal setting was learned at an early age. They also learned character and values, which would remain with them for life. Indeed, Little League baseball is dedicated to the principles of character, courage and loyalty.

Members of the team in 1987 included: manager/head coach Henry Boutilier, John Young, Gerard Hanrahan, Jody Routledge, Dana Estwick, Doug Aucoin, Jeff Graham, Bobby Hooper, Earl Crbett, Cory Dejeet, Craig Hickman, Davis Jones, Stephen White, Kyle Curry, and Coach Ernie Pyke.

Although many teams, especially those from the vaunted Cape Breton Hockey League, competed and won at the Maritime level and beyond, until 1987, few people outside the island of Cape Breton or the perhaps even within the Maritimes, knew much of Glace Bay sports, but on the basis of this performance and the strong support of the town and the island, Glace Bay, in 1988, was awarded the opportunity to host the national Major Little League Championships (dubbed the Cameron Bowl), and in the process reinvigorated minor sport, indeed sport at all levels within the town. Glace Bay and Cape Breton became a destination for major team sports, including other regional and national competitions such as the prestigious Coal Bowl in high school basketball in nearby New Waterford. After 1987, teams at this level expanded to three competitive divisions within the Maritimes, with Cape Breton teams winning six times in two of those divisions. For the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame, this legacy was one of the important factors in selecting this team… they were trailblazers that put Cape Breton Island back on the map of great sports teams, dating back to the earlyt heydays of the Sydney Millonaires and Glace Bay Miners.

This team is also a member of Cape Breton Heritage Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame (2004).