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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Thirty Years Later


By Fred Wallace

 Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire. "


Where does the time go ?

A lady called me recently to tell me she had just finished reading an obituary about her old neighbour from Winnipeg, Lou Kazowski, a man the write up said founded the Ontario Hockey League franchise in Owen Sound.

I read the account from Peterborough, a place that Lou Kazowski called his true home, but I begged to differ on the " founder " label.

Make no mistake Lou Kazowski, who passed away in December, was somewhat integral to the process of Owen Sound getting an OHL team, but he wasn't a founder.

Thirty years ago at this time of the year, there was a tiny sentence in the Junior Hockey segment of the Toronto Star that related both the Toronto Marlboros and Kingston Raiders were likely to move, and Owen Sound, the report related, was one of the destinations being considered.

The buzz in the hockey community was immediate and sure enough in late March of that year, Lou Kazowski, who owned the Kingston club, came to Owen Sound, met city officials, met civic leaders, had a hell of a party one night and then charmed the local business community the following morning at the Bayshore.

Everything was in place for Kazowski to bring the Raiders to Owen Sound that Spring, all that was needed was Board of Governor approval from the OHL.

At a hotel ballroom on the Airport Strip in Toronto, I remember racing in, only to encounter Larry Mavety, the Kingston Coach & GM, who informed me the Board of Governors didn't approve the request from Kazowski.

It was a stunner.

Of course, about 60 days later, the story took another turn with the Platers departing the city of Guelph and landing in Owen Sound officially that June.

Kazowski for his part sold the Raiders in the months that followed to Wren Blair and Bob Attersley, who renamed the Kingston team the " Frontenacs. "

So the late Lou Kazowski didn't found the Owen Sound OHL franchise, but it's fair to say 30 years ago at this time, he was a central character in the plot line that saw the Ontario Hockey League come to Owen Sound.


I'm Fred Wallace




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