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It was while growing up in Fort William that Jack "Baldy" James developed his love for athletics that would see him contribute to the sports scene as both an athlete and builder for many years. As a young athlete Jack earned success in a number of sports. In track and field he set records in running. In hockey he played on championship teams in the minor leagues and with the Fort William Hurricane Ranger Juniors and the Toronto Marlboros. In football he captained his team to Intercollegiate honours and during his final season in high school football he served as coach of the team, which was a sign of things to come.

Following service in the RCAF, Jack returned home and dedicated his time and talent to local sports organizations. In hockey he served on the executive of the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association and as President of the Fort William Minor league. Refereeing in the local leagues he also coached the 1955-56 Port Arthur North Stars Junior Team at the Western Canadian finals and served as a local scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On the football field, Jack spent thirteen years as the coach of one of the most powerful teams in the Lakehead, the Fort William Redskins. Coach of the squad from 1947-59 the team had a record of 93 wins, 29 loses and 4 ties. Dominating the Lakehead Rugby Football Union, the team claimed 10 consecutive city and 6 consecutive Western Canadian titles. In 1958 the Redskins made history by claiming northwestern Ontario's first, and only, Canadian football title, defeating St. Francis Xavier University 10-0 at McKellar Park before 2,700 home town fans.

Relocating to western Canada, Jack continued his involvement in sports, with such organizations as the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association and the Western International Senior Hockey League.

As an athlete, Jack always did his best in every sport he participated in. As a coach he always brought out the best in his athletes. As a tireless volunteer he truly dedicated himself to ensuring that the people of his community had the opportunity to participate in sports - all qualities of a true all-round sportsman.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996

Jack "Baldy" James

Football, Hockey
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