Kemp honoured by Sports Hall of Fame
For close to 50 years, Peter Kemp has been supporting amateur sport in Collingwood, improving the active lives of thousands of people.
And next month he will be rewarded for his service by being inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame as a builder of sport.
“I think it’s great. I’m honoured to be selected for that,” said the 72-year-old retired dentist.
Kemp grew up playing hockey and baseball in Toronto.
“I’ve always been involved in sports my whole life. If you have a love of sports, it’s ingrained in you. It’s just there. It’s something you never lose. You have it for a lifetime,” he said.
Kemp moved to the area in 1968. One of the first major steps he took in local sport was to found the Georgian Bay and District Slo Pitch League where he served as president for three years in the early 1970s.
He played on three Ontario championship teams and was also a coach on two of those. On the 1982 Kell’s Team, which is also being inducted into the hall of fame this year, Kemp was a player and coach.
Kemp chaired the Summerfest Slo-Pitch tournament for many years and was the district convenor of the Ontario Amateur Softball Association or two years.
Kemp and his wife have five sons and he was involved with all their teams.
“They were all into sports. I coached hockey, minor softball, umpired minor softball and I had a couple of kids that were (Collingwood) Clippers, so I would do lane timing,” he said.
Kemp coached and umpired minor softball teams including T-ball. The Level 1 hockey coach, coached various house league hockey teams from beginners to bantam.
“You don’t have leagues and teams unless somebody steps up and coaches. It doesn’t happen otherwise,” he said.
“You get as much out of it as you put into it. It’s a feel good thing. Coaching kids, helping teams. Even coaching adults. I enjoy coaching adults too, in curling,” he said.
“I figure if you have organization skills you should put them to good use in something you really like.”
But Kemp is also a competitor. He represented Simcoe County on four Senior Winter Games hockey teams, winning two silver medals and one bronze.
“I played right up until last year. I’d still be playing except I have a bad shoulder . . . I never dreamed I’d be playing hockey until I was 71.”
One of the biggest changes in sport over the past 50 years is head protection.
“When I started playing hockey we didn’t even wear helmets. No face protection. Nothing. It’s come a long way. Head protection is a biggie. That’s starting to come into curling. A lot of people fall and bang their heads,” he said.
Some sports Kemp took up as an adult after moving to Collingwood including golf, skiing and curling.
He joined the Blue Mountain Golf Club and not long after became involved in the organization as a member of the board of directors, on which he served as president in 1974.
Kemp is still a member of Blue Mountain Golf Club and is still involved in golf organization. He’s been the senior men’s captain for the past eight years. This year there where 110 members in that league.
His best game is a 74 and he’s got nine hole-in-ones, eight of them at Blue Mountain and one at Cobble Beach north of Owen Sound.
“It’s a great club - great members and the golf course itself is pristine and walkable. It’s really enjoyable and we have a large membership, so it’s a very sociable club,” he said.
Interestingly, Ron Westlake, who is also being inducted into the hall of fame this year, taught Kemp how to ski, but that’s one sport he didn’t coach.
Kemp remains active in golf and curling and continues to coach curling at the Collingwood Curling Club to school children, juniors and adults.
What he loves about coaching is when someone learns a new skill in front of him.
“That happens all the time especially when you are coaching young children. They can have trouble say skating backwards and then boom you drop a hint on them and all of a sudden they can do it. They light up. You feel good about doing stuff like that.”
“The thing with coaching is you always learning a whole lot yourself when you are teaching because you are always trying to find new angles and new theories,” he said.
Even with his photo hung up at the Hall of Fame, Kemp can’t give up coaching.
He’s got five grandchildren.