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Growing up in Fort William, this builder of sport first got involved in athletics by playing baseball and hockey. Upon his return from the war in 1946, he used his strong organizational and leadership skills to help establish sport organizations, events, and facilities to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Serving as the Royal Canadian Legion Central Committee Sports Chairman from 1952-60, he dedicated himself to providing sports opportunities for the youth of his community. In 1953, he spearheaded the establishment of Fort William's first ever Little League Baseball program. Serving as the organization's first President, he saw the original four teams grow to include 4 leagues. In 1960, he was named Assistant Administrator and from 1963-66 served as the Ontario District 3 Administrator. In 1965, his efforts earned him the Meritorious Service Award from the Little League Baseball Congress.

Serving as Chair of the Legion Track and Field Program from 1964-68, he helped local athletes attend the sports camp at Peace Gardens. An Executive member of the Thunder Bay Branch of the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada from 1959-69, he served as their President in 1966. His efforts also contributed to the raising of funds for the Legion Track, which was utilized for the 1981 Canada Summer Games.

With a strong belief in the importance of recognizing citizens who volunteer their time to sport and the athletes who excel in their chosen sport, he set out to find a way to honour their accomplishments. With this goal in mind, he helped develop the concept for a Sports Celebrity Dinner, with the first event being held in 1955. For the next 25 years, he served as the Chairman of the event, raising money for youth sports and other worthwhile community causes. Revenues from the event were also set aside for the future establishment of a Sports Hall of Fame, which was his ultimate goal.

When the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame's first exhibit gallery officially opened on October 28, 1978, Fred proudly oversaw the festivities as the organization's founding President. To date, over 220 men and women and 46 national championship teams have been recognized for their contributions to sport through induction into the Hall of Fame and thousands of artifacts have been collected, preserved, and displayed for people to learn about their region's rich and proud sports history, a true legacy to the efforts of the man who did not give up on his dream.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 25th, 2010

Fred Bragnalo

All Round
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