From the Publisher March/April 2017


(To view our March/April 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

This edition is dominated by two very different champions.

While they both have performed right at the top of two very different sports, they both have similarities.

Key among those championship traits is heart.

You can’t coach that into a person and you cannot train it into a race horse.

Tonya Verbeek, a self-described technician of wrestling, showed time and time again during her illustrious career that her undying will to win helped her overcome some excellent quality competition. The result of which placed her on podium after podium around the world.

For Modern Legend, a harness racing millionaire owned by Grimsby’s Dave Drew who has trained out of Vineland all his career, he has managed to remain competitive at the highest levels of harness racing thanks in large part to the patience displayed by Mr. Drew, his owner, breeder, trainer and swimming coach.

In 30-plus years as a journalist, countless stories have been “penned” by this scribe. When it comes to winners, heart may be the only truly common characteristic on any consistent basis.

There are athletes in all disciplines who have unbelievable talent, gifts for which many would die.

Granted, they may do quite well, but intestinal fortitude always puts them over the top. If you follow any sport it is quite likely you can think of several examples.

The whole point of this ClubWest Magazine is to tell the story’s of great things being done right on our own backyard and of things being done by people who are from this area. Tonya’s exploits are known around the globe due to her efforts in competitions all around the world and Modern Legend put Niagara on the map for a North American audience thanks to his racing prowess in Canada and the U.S.

Both are ambassadors in their own way. Both are entering different phases of their careers.

Tonya is now on her way as a Canadian wrestling coach, and good on her! When you work as long and hard as she did, it is great to see someone like that get a break and be able to continue on in a path she clearly relishes.

Modern Legend, now nine years old, is on the back-end of his racing career, but due to Dave’s stewardship he is still in great shape, so he may have a bullet or two left in that racing gun. One thing is certain, both are wished the absolute best in their future endeavours!

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

From the Publisher January/February 2017


(To view our January/February 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

This edition’s two lead features are about two very different people who got to do something that they loved for a long period of time.

One could not get much more polar opposite than professional hockey player and police officer, but that is what we have in Ryan Christie and Dorothy Hart.

One thing their endeavours did have in common was super high highs and devastating lows – life, in a nutshell.

For Ryan, it was one sucker elbow which changed his life. He went from a young, aggressive kid trying to make it to the bigs, to a scared player with no confidence on the ice.

Dorothy had many highs on her job as a community service officer for much of her career, but she also worked uniform patrol in St. Catharines.

Her greatest satisfaction may have been the fresh young faces which would come up to her at a school presentations and say they were inspired by her to go into law enforcement. The low, without doubt, was the murder of her teenage son – Grimsby’s first murder.

Between those highs and lows they both met a wide cast of characters and both will tell you they appreciated every minute of it. Both are also examples of hard work and tenacity.

Ryan invested years to get a shot at the NHL. Skating drills, strengthening programs, positioning – all the key points any player can work on to improve. To do that for more than 10 years at the pro level in a host of cities and countries…now that takes heart.

Dorothy, who found herself hired with Grimsby’s police department, whose basic work record at that point was housewife, knew she had an opportunity and did everything to capitalize on it. As she noted, she would attend any training program to which the department, both Grimsby and later Niagara, would send her. She put in her time and when she was called upon for street duty, she was ready.

Both of these people are great examples of work ethic, a quality not as commonly found as it once was. In this day and age of immediate gratification, a precious few people are willing to pay their dues to get their shot. This has been a big reason we now have such a disposable society, it would seem.

When people don’t appreciate what they have, it is easy to discard it and move on. That is something Ryan and Dorothy never did and their successful career paths can be an example to all.

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

From the Publisher November/December 2016


(To view our November/December 2016 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

If you happen to see any of Maggie Weatherdon’s videos online
it is very easy to see this young lady has something special.

Having played virtually every sport under the sun at one
time, I have been lucky to play with some really good athletes.

The good ones, the real standouts, have a manner, a way they
move, that is simply better, cleaner, quicker and more powerful
than the others.

Maggie has that.

To a complete and total layman such as myself, it is still clear
she floats as she moves. Her lines are crisp and unwavering. It
really is remarkable to watch.

She has big goals, and why not!? She has talent and drive so
why shouldn’t she push the envelope to see just how far she gets.

And top of all that, she is a very sweet girl so I am sure I speak
for the whole community, Maggie, when I say, “Go for it!”

Don’t look back. Keep on going until you reach your dreams.
See the Benjamin Franklin quote above? You can be the person
who will “do something worth writing”.

At the other end of the career scale, we have the good Rev.

Barry Jones who retires this month.

Rev. Jones is another person I met early on, back in the mid-
90s, in this community. He shows up at tons of events, always
part of the community as a whole.

He practices what he preaches, literally.

The metaphor used by Rev. Jones – and picked up by one of
my favourite writers Joanne McDonald – noting that crushing
grapes is what needs to be done in town to bring people together
for the common good, exemplifies his decades of effort.
His parishioners noted they will miss him greatly and,
indeed, the whole town will because people like Rev. Jones just
do their thing in the background. They don’t seek limelight.

They just help out and get things done.

We could use 1,000 more just like him.

Thanks for your years of service to your church and the community,
Rev. Jones.

To put a wrap on this issue, I just have to give some props to
Chef Jan Stulp. Regular readers of ClubWest will know Chef
Jan has been writing here for a long time. Behind the scenes,
what readers don’t see is the thought and attention to detail
this man fusses over (in a good way) to bring the community
interesting choices, using local ingredients wherever possible.

His effort is certainly appreciated by me and I sure hope
readers make use of his creations!

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft