Our sport says good bye to a friend.
Richard Lapp was also a great fan, a supporter and administrator of our game. He was a pioneer, one of the original building blocks of ball hockey in Ontario.
A truly worthy inductee into the OBHA Builders Hall of Fame in 1996, Richard began his involvement with Ball Hockey back in 1974 and exerted a great influence on the sport until the mid-1980’s.
He was the President of the Orillia Ball Hockey League for over 10 years and the OBHA Tournament Director for a number of seasons.
Richard is remembered for operating possibly the best Men’s Tournament in OBHA history annually for 10 seasons. The Mariposa Tournament was looked forward to by teams from around the province, not only because of the high caliber of teams participating, but also because of the social events attached to the tournament.
With Richard’s hard work things like programs and booster club always made the teams feel welcome and showed the class of the well organized event. But the icing on the cake was the Saturday evening dinner and dance which he hosted with the Mariposa tourney each year.
Richard will always be remembered for his unassuming manner, the smile he always had on his face, his dishevelled hair and of course his suit and tie he wore at all events.
OBHA Founder, Ken White, ‘he was a tireless worker and he believed in people. He never got angry, he simply forged ahead. We talked on the phone for hours. Our conversations ranged all over the place, but mostly he talked about his wife, his kids and the grandkids.’
White continued, ‘never tell him that Orillia was too small to compete with the big towns. His passion for hunting was legendary. We used to kid around that I always had to be near a grocery store while he would trek out into the woods in sub zero weather. He was a faithful buddy and we will miss him dearly.’
Richard operated one of the smallest Men’s leagues in the Ontario, but also one of the most competitive league’s, with his teams more than able to compete with the big boys from Toronto, Ottawa and London. His clubs were always tough during an era when body contact was allowed and many players did not wear helmets.
Richard’s passion, heart and commitment to the game cannot be disputed. He lived ball hockey and was always interested in its development over the years. He continued to follow our sport across Ontario in the newspaper, on the internet and connecting with long-time ball hockey aficionados like himself.
He was still actively involved as a coach of his grandson’s team this past summer as he had done for many years coaching both of his sons.
Our sport will miss him and we owe him a huge debt and our gratitude.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.