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Growing up as the oldest boy in a family of 19 was the perfect background to become a successful sports official. Such was the case with this Fort William born builder who spent six decades dedicated to sport as an administrator, official and volunteer. First getting involved in the late 1950s umpiring rural baseball games he moved behind the plate in the Fort William Senior baseball league.

Asked to help out with umpiring in the expanding Little League Baseball program of the mid-1960s, he attended Umpire School in Williamsport Pennsylvania where he was offered the opportunity to umpire pro games in the United States. Turning it down he returned home and umpired Little League games from 1963-79. When Thunder Bay hosted the 1981 Canada Summer Games he did double duty, serving as an umpire for Ontario and as the Officials Coordinator for Softball.

In the winter months he spent his time on the ice as a broomball and hockey referee. Starting in the early 1960s he volunteered with the Fort William Elks helping out officiating league games and tournaments. From there it was on to the commercial league and various divisions within Thunder Bay hockey associations, handing in his whistle in the late 1980s after close to thirty years of referring.

Starting in 1980 he turned his attention to the administrative side of sports. After just one week in the assistant position, he found himself taking over the reins as the District Administrator for Ontario District #3 Little League Baseball. Remaining in that position until 1998, he helped organize local, provincial and national tournaments and represented the District at meetings and tournaments across Canada and throughout the United States, including the Little League Congress which featured delegates from around the world.

This dedicated volunteer also gave back to sport as a long-time board member of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame serving from 1980-2013 in various executive positions and as President during the Hall's relocation to its new facility.

It takes a special person to voluntarily take on the often controversial roles of umpire, referee and youth-sport administrator having to sometimes deal with disapproving players, coaches and parents. Considering that Richard 'Dick' Hill did so with enthusiasm and dedication from the 1950s to the 2000s makes him a builder of sport in the truest sense of the word.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 2018

Dick Hill

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