The Ontario Ball Hockey Association family is deeply saddened by the loss of Mary Platt, a long time member of the OBHA who passed away after a very brief but courageous battle with stomach cancer.
She was diagnosed with late stage, aggressive stomach cancer on December 22nd and entered the hospital on Tuesday Jan 9th for her first visit with the cancer unit and would pass away on January 12th.
She started the Oshawa Minor Ball Hockey Association 35 years ago with just a few kids of various ages, in a small community gym. Today the league has had thousands of boys, girls, men and women, referees and coaches pass thru and continue on. What started with just a few teams with colored t-shirts is now a league taking over multiple arenas every week in Oshawa.
“Mary was truly one of the builders of the Ontario Ball Hockey Association and through her efforts both on and off the floor helped the Oshawa program to evolve into one of the best programs in Ontario" said OBHA President, Mauro Cugini. He continued, "she truly cared about every player, official, coach, executive member and the game.
Memories from the Oshawa Ball Hockey League
Doug Smart, President of the Oshawa Ball Hockey League shared some thoughts, “she was a very positive force at the arena and a calming influence when we hit a bump in the road. She was always bringing in a snack or treat of some type for the members convening on any given night. Players of all ages stopped in to see Mary and what treats she would bring to share with everyone. Many of the players had been cared for by Mary when they were toddlers, and always stopped in to chat or give her a hug. She was very dedicated to the Oshawa league and the OBHA. At Provincials Mary ensured that the Oshawa teams were well looked after, and was always ready to lend a hand.
Dave Bryan, Executive member, “I remember Provincial events where you could find Mary selling clothing and using a heat transfer iron to stamp the year and location of the event. I know because I have a number of these T shirts that Mary sold to me !!! As I write this , I am looking at a ceramic figure of an Oshawa Ball Hockey player that Mary gave to me almost 30 years ago.”
Bryan stated, “the women's division in Oshawa in particular will greatly miss Mary for her guidance, as will every member of the Oshawa executive on game nights.
Having known Mary for 35 years, it will be a year to reflect on what she had contributed to our great sport, and we must continue her legacy by providing a safe and fun atmosphere for players from 6 to 60 to participate. Mary would want us to go forward, presenting an opportunity for as many players as possible to enjoy the sport that we love.”
Sue Prior, Executive member, “the first memory I have is when I joined the Oshawa Executive. My duties included paying the referee's and timekeepers. I remember Mary telling me 'Stay with me and I'll show you the ropes'. It was at this time Mary took me under her wing and not knowing it, this is where our friendship began.
Sue continued, ‘when the Provincials were held in Oshawa, Mary and I would always be teamed up as convenors at an arena. You could always bet when we convened an arena everything would run smoothly. Mary was my bodyguard. Being responsible for updating the standings, she made sure I was able to do so in one piece without any crowd intervention. Can you picture this woman that stood less than 5 feet tall could be a bodyguard? Most definitely!! She was small but mighty. Over the years, this was an on-going joke. The joke will carry on, but when I update the standings at the next Provincials I know Mary will still be there, as my bodyguard.
The Women's division will sadly miss Mary. She was a definite asset to this division.
Mary, you have shown me the ropes and so much more and for that I will be eternally grateful.
The ball hockey community is small but strong, Mary and her husband John were inducted into the OBHA Hall of Fame in 2010 as Builders of the Sport, something they were very proud of and well deserved.
Her focus the past few years was on the girls and women's teams. Helping girls of all ages have fun, and provide opportunities, to compete in Provincial, National and International competitions.
The ball hockey community has lost a valuable member, but her legacy will live on.
As the upcoming ball hockey season approaches there will be one valuable volunteer, convenor and executive missing, but she will be looking down from above cheering everyone on.
We will miss you Mary. Rest easy.