Going past 50



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OCAA YEARS 1972-2002

George Brown College intramural/recreation coordinator Alex Barbier in 1968, but left in ‘69 for a NHL career. While playing for the LA Kings, Barbier had a series of knee injuries that shortened his NHL career. He returned to George Brown in ‘72. He implemented alpine skiing, tennis, and cross-country running to the college. Later, he was promoted to athletic director in ‘76. Before retiring in 2002 he created the Athletics Alumni Association, and has been inducted in OCAA’s since 2005.

“He was the best dad I could ever have; we call him our coach, best friend and hero,” says Jennifer Goheen, the youngest child of Barbier’s three. Goheen remembers many George Brown students looked up to him and even considered him a father figure. Often she says people reminded her of how lucky she was to have a father like Barbier.

She bragged about her father in his pro days. “He played with some of the greats like Wayne Gretzky,” says Goheen.

Barbier left a legacy for family and friends. Today Goheen works at George Brown as a Student Success & Industry Liaison Officer and says she practices what he taught before passing in 2011. “Putting students first: I inherited this passion where students come first.”

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OCAA YEARS 2005-2007

Before pro volleyball, Brett Dailey played guard for Ligue Nationale de Volley (LNV). He went to Seneca College and played for the men’s varsity basketball team in 2005. It was there he had the chance to play for Seneca’s volleyball team championship.

His growing passion for the sport prompted him to play both basketball and volleyball for a semester. But the following year Dailey made the decision to pursue volleyball at Algonquin College. It was 10 years ago during his last year at Algonquin when Dailey, in the middle of playing baseball with friends, received a call asking if he would play pro for SwitzVolley in 2007. He spent three years playing with his Switzerland team.

Dailey says it was a challenge in the early days playing in the big leagues. Playing against some all-stars and with older, more experienced guys was a little bit scary at first, but he said he had a good team and a good coach.

He has played two years in Finland and five years in France playing volleyball on a professional level. Dailey has just finished another season with France, and is looking at a new contract. “I’m making five times the money than my first contract. Every year I’ve gotten better and played for stronger teams. I don’t think I’ve taken many steps backwards,” says Dailey.

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OCAA YEARS 1986-1987

Donovan Bailey stayed active while attending Sheridan College playing forward for the men’s basketball team from ‘86 to ‘87. The sprinter went on to become a two time Olympic champion, two time World Record holder, three time World champ, and was named Sprinter of the Decade for the ‘90s.

Wayne Fish, Sheridan College varsity sport coordinator, has worked for the college’s athletic department for 13 years. “Students aren’t aware of Donovan’s legacy tracing back to Sheridan College,” says Fish. It’s been about 20 years since he won the gold medal.

Fish recalls a time when Bailey was talk of the town, but decades later Sheridan College isn’t aware of the legacy he left behind on the college’s court.

According to Bailey’s official site, Bailey became a two-time Olympic champion, three-time world champion and two-time world record holder. After retiring he commentated for CBC, CTV and Eurosport.

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OCAA YEARS 2013-2015

Michael Rizzetto, golfer for Canadian Pro Golf Association’s (CPGA) Great Lakes, got his first golf membership at the age of eight, now has been playing for 26 years. He went to Mohawk College from Brock University and started to play golf again when he made the school team. He credits former coach Deborah Lee Eldridge for his success at Mohawk. He has been playing professional golf for two years with the CPGA. Although Rizzetto hasn’t placed first since his professional career began he did dominate his first and last year of Mohawk College as MVP. Also, bagging a win at the provincial championship during his college days.

Eldridge says he deserved that MVP award first year. Rizzetto was dealing with excruciating back pains and was going to throw in the towel, but he pushed through. “He was able to dig deep and grind it out and play. He ended up being the best player on our team,” says Eldridge.

He says it was more fun playing golf at the college level, in terms of teams. A bad day was no excuse to not push through the game to Rizzetto. As for other OCAA golfers he says “embrace the experience, it makes practicing better.”

“It’s very exciting for me as a coach to have someone with such a passion and such a talent,” says Eldridge who has 10 years of pro tournament experience.

Now, Rizzetto is going through a program to teach golf with CPGA while practicing and working at MontHill Golf and Company Club. The two owners had sponsored Rizzetto, which he says is one of his most memorable experiences. So, who did this golf enthusiast look up to? It would be “lefty” Phil Mickleson. Other than his skill and humbleness, Mickleson is infamous for being a left-handed golfer and this resonated with Rizzetto as he is as well.

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Simon Whitfield only attended St. Lawrence College for the fall semester of 1996. Fast forward a couple years in Whitfield’s athletic career; the triathlete was Canada’s flag bearer at the 2012 London Olympics. He won gold in the 2000 Olympics and silver in 2008. Kevin Biggs, St. Lawrence sports information officer, is proud of the legacy Whitfield left at the Kingston campus. 

“Training and good ethic got him where he is,” says Biggs. Whitfield took advantage of what the school had, in terms of resources, and made it count with the training and good ethic every day. Biggs says they have Rob Asselstine, 2015 OCAA and CCAA cross country champion, at the same campus. “They both share passion and hard work.” Whitfield retired in 2013, but not before collecting a total of 12 Canadian championships and 14 world cup victories.