Woodstock's Brian Paton named to Softball Canada Hall of Fame

September 15, 2023

Woodstock, ON - - Woodstock's Brian Paton named to Softball Canada Hall of Fame

Thanks to Chuck Hendircks for the news tip!

The best decision Brian Paton made didn't happen in the outfield or at the plate.

Author of the article:
Cory Smith
Woodstock Sentinel Review
Woodstock's Brian Paton will be inducted into Softball Canada's Hall of Fame as an athlete in November. Photo by Submitted

The best decision Brian Paton made didn’t happen in the outfield or at the plate.


It was saying yes in 1988 when Team Canada’s softball team insisted he come out of retirement to rejoin the squad at the world championships in Saskatoon. If Paton had stuck to his initial one-and-done decision after helping Canada win a Pan-Am title in 1987, the two-sport Woodstock star wouldn’t have been named to Softball Canada’s Hall of Fame as an athlete.


Paton is one of five inductees who will be enshrined during Softball Canada’s annual general meeting Nov. 9-11 in Niagara Falls.


“You have to live through it,” he said. “It’s so emotional. It’s quite an honour playing for the country, I don’t know how to explain it. Not many get to experience something like that.”


Paton’s decorated career included 17 seasons patrolling centre-field with Team Canada, eight of them as captain. He won four Pan Am championships, three International Softball Federation world tournament medals and was a member of the 1993-1996 Toronto Gators that won gold at three Canadian championships. The team was inducted into Softball Canada’s Hall of Fame in 2018.


Paton is also a member of the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame and Woodstock Sports Wall of Fame.


“This is icing on the cake,” he said. “As I get older, I do reflect a little bit. It seems more rewarding. As you’re playing, you’re not thinking of those types of things. It’s quite flattering.


“I did more than I thought I did.”

Brian Paton helped Team Canada win gold at the 1992 ISF men’s world softball championship in Manila. Back row from left: Dick Earle (trainer), Terry Baytor (head coach), Doug Chase, Jody Hennigar, Brian Paton, Steve Scott, Rick Pimlott, Darren Zack, Mike Piechnik, Darell Clarkson, Jay Sim, Jim Haley (team director), Les Howey (assistant coach). Front row from left: Marty Kernaghan, Mark Smith, Terry Wiebe, Terry Bell, Clark Bosch, Dave Paetkau, Ray Tilley, Adam Smith. Photo by Softball Canada


Paton started as a catcher while playing ball in Woodstock and looking up to Donny Jones, Cam Roberts, Ray Tilley and his older siblings. Tilley and Bob McKinnon, from Woodstock, joined Paton on the national team at one point, while Tillsonburg’s Chuck Hendricks, a close friend, was Paton’s teammate locally and with the Gators.


“The calibre of ball (locally) was so good, and there were so many role models,” Paton said. “The bar was set so far when I did move on to the highest level.”


Paton first made Team Canada in 1987. It was about a decade after Toronto Marlies’ head coach and NHL Hall of Famer George Armstrong suggested he move from behind the plate to the outfield to prevent injuries that would have also impacted a promising hockey career.


Paton helped Canada win Pan Am gold that year and decided to spend more time at home with his wife and their three kids at the time.


He was content to play ball in town until Canada’s coach called in the summer of 1988 and told him they needed his services out west.


The national squad ended up placing third.


“One day I was playing in the city league, and the next I was in a world tournament in Saskatoon,” Paton said. “It was a nice surprise because, in hindsight, I’m sure glad I continued playing.”




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