Source:  The Spec

OBA honours Doug Harrison of Hamilton Transway

Cecelia Carter-Smith

September 13, 2008


(Sep 13, 2008)

All week they’ve been rolling out the red carpet for the celebs at The Toronto International Film Festival. Tonight, the Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) will roll out their own red rug for Doug Harrison and welcome the founding father of Hamilton Transway to the OBA Hall of Fame. Joining the retired Stelco employee are players Romel Raffin and Hank Biasatti along with officials Don Cline and Al Rae.

Two-time Olympian Chris Critelli, head coach of the Brock University Lady Badgers and herself an inductee into the OBA Hall of Fame (2000) as well as the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame (1998), penned this congratulatory message: “(Your induction) is so deserving for all the time, effort, passion, and love you have given to the girls’ game. You started something quite unique and there was no question you were ahead of your time with Transway. I have always respected you as a coach, a leader, and a person and valued your contribution to the game.”

University coaches across the continent have indeed valued the Transway program of excellence. Among them Terry Zeh, coach of Canisius College. “Hamilton kids are tough. Like Buffalo, they’re blue collar kids — no prima donnas. They’re athletic. They’re strong. You know that they are taught well. No one just rolled out the ball and said, ‘play.'”

Included on the Canisius roster are Transway graduates, sophomore Micayla Drysdale (St. Mary’s High School) and senior Marie Warner (Westdale High School). Preceding Drysdale and Warner was Jessie Lamparski (St. Mary’s High School) who captained the Canisius College Griffins.

Julie Lamparski, an OUA All-Star at Western, recalls her formative basketball years. “When I first started in Grade 3, I never could have imagined that Transway would help take me to the places I have been (including playing semi-pro in Holland). Being part of the Transway organization has been a great experience.

“I am coaching the Grade 5 team (this year) because I want to give back to other little girls the experience that Transway gave me.”

The Transway program has produced a plethora of players. Among the elite: Westdale’s Shona Thorburn (University of Utah and first round draft choice of WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx), Katherine McColl (University of Utah) and Rebecca McColl (Western);

St. Thomas More alum: Raquel (“Roxie”) Nurse (Syracuse University), Michele Vesprini (Western), Carla Vesprini (McMaster), Taylor Smith (McMaster), Tamika Nurse (University of Oregon/Bowling Green); St. Mary’s High School grads: Justine (Tina) Ellison (University of Toronto), Angela Nobes (Western), Andrea Benvenuto (James Madison University), Rachel Hart (University of Manitoba/McMaster University), Cari te Boekhorst (McMaster).

And so many more.

Earlier this week, a group gathered to applaud Doug’s contribution to little girls with big dreams. “I see my whole life in front of me,” said the 67-year-old honouree.

“I am often asked, ‘What is the legacy of Transway?’ Well, about four months ago I saw the legacy.

“I was in the stands watching a game and three of the four coaches were former Transway players. When I saw the three coaches I actually saw 600 girls (who have come through the 28 year program). That makes me happy. Really, really happy.”


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