(Kevin) Quinn has passion for the game of softball

August 31, 2014

Charlottetown, PE


ORIGINAL STORY by Jason Malloy, The Guardian

Quinn has passion for the game of softball

Published on August 30, 2014

Kevin Quinn is the president of Softball Canada.

Stratford resident is Softball Canada president

Kevin Quinn came to softball later than many people, but quickly fell in love with it.
He went from the playing field to the coach's box to the sport's top elected position in Canada. The Stratford resident has been involved in the sport for 40 years, including 13 as Softball Canada's president.
"I've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the sport over the years right from the Vernon River minor ball association," he said. "I guess my hope is that when I leave the sport it will be better than when I found it."


Quinn grew up in Watervale playing baseball. But with a young family at home, being away a lot of weekends for doubleheaders wasn't an option.

His brothers Leo and Danny got him out to play softball. The transition was tough and Quinn even considered quitting.

"But I'm an Irishman, so I am pretty stubborn," Quinn laughed. "I kept at it and kept at it and it improved over time."

He played on the left side of the infield and patrolled the outfield in baseball. In softball he started at third and in the outfield before a shoulder injury, sustained playing broomball, required a move to second.

His biggest enjoyment in the sport has been as a coach.

"I really liked coaching and teaching young athletes how to play the game and improve," Quinn said.

The highlight was the Island's bronze-medal winning team at the 1993 Canada Games.

The squad had a pitching staff of Jeff MacLeod, Mike Bishop and Kevin's son Mark. The roster also included guys like Jason MacKinnon, Kris Frizzell, Steve Sorrie, Kenton Hubbard, Marty Kelly, Jeff and Mark MacPherson.

The team had improved the two previous years at nationals and Quinn said they were technically sound after many hours spent honing their skills together.

P.E.I. lost 4-3 in 10 innings to Nova Scotia, which won silver, and 4-2 to the gold-medal winning Saskatchewan squad. They beat Newfoundland and Labrador, which had about five people with the national junior squad, 2-1.

"It was a great group of kids," Quinn said. "I learned as much from them as they learned from me, I am sure. I'll never forget that."

He was Softball P.E.I.'s vice-president for 12 years. Softball P.E.I. president Cecil MacPhail encouraged Quinn to get involved with the national body and Quinn was elected to the board on his second offering.

"I don't think I'd even of thought of it, had he not encouraged me to do it," Quinn said.

He has held a variety of roles with various committees with the national organization and became president in 2001.

"The softball game today is still a solid sport," Quinn said. "Our women's side is strong. Our men's side, our numbers overall are not as high as I would like them to be."

He said there have been pockets of growth in the men's game in places like St. John's, N.L., Ontario and Saskatchewan. Softball Canada initiated a male fast pitch committee earlier this year to try to rejuvenate the sport at the level.

Quinn said he is proud of the new programs Softball Canada has created during the past decade through increased financial support from the provincial bodies. The programs include learn to play programs, which can be included in schools, and coaching programs with manuals outlining a full year of practice plans.

He pointed to Scott Willis' work in the Fredericton, N.B., as an example of how one person spearheading a program can make a big impact. Willis took the learn-to-play program and got some men's players involved to help run it.

They started with about 15 kids and now have more than 300 involved in the sport.

Quinn said the sport hasn't gone through a major decline. He said society has changed, family demographics are different and there are fewer young kids in the country than years ago.

"There are so many things for kids to choose from today," he said. "When I was growing up, I lived in the country, we played hockey in the winter and ball in the summer."

In some areas, the sport has induced changes to make the sport more attractive to children and young busy families. They include time limits and roping off sections of fields to create a home run zone.

Quinn is serving the first of his current two-year term that ends in November 2015. This fall Softball Canada will hold its annual general meeting in Charlottetown. During the conference Quinn will be inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame on Nov. 15.

"To get it in my hometown, with my family around and have a chance to come and see it, it's really special," he said. "My wife Debbie has been my biggest supporter from Day 1."

Umpire Frank Hughes, who is Quinn's first cousin, will also be inducted during the ceremony as well Donald R. MacDonald from Antigonish, N.S., who Quinn said is one of his best friends.


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