Our first Playoff Pool launched on April 5, 1988 through the efforts of Paul Stevens, Peter Redolfi, Paul Damp, Bob Murphy, Bruce Ander, Dave Turnbull, Howard Neubauer, Kevin Worth, David Garard, Brian Beveridge and Bob Nicholson.
We never envisioned the journey this event would take or the many friends who would step forward to support it and help us grow. We are here tonight to celebrate our 28th anniversary thanks to the participation of 213 companies who have entered 937 teams over the years, including 30 companies who have participated for 10+ years each.
We would like to extend a special thank you and recognition to the following:
- TSN: One of Special Olympics’ biggest friends, TSN has supported us for 26 years. Our thanks to all the company’s Presidents throughout the network’s history: Gordon Craig, Jim Thompson, Rick Brace, Keith Pelley, Phil King and Stewart Johnston.
- Paul Damp: Paul is our triple threat: One of the Wizard Foundation’s founders, an organizer of the original event and the only participant to bring a team to all 28 events.
- Joe Bowen: Joe has been our longest standing Commissioner, ruling over the evening for 25 of our first 28 years, and he has never precipitated a lockout. We can’t imagine our event today without Joe’s knowledge, humour and commitment.
- Digger Turnbull: Digger joined our Organizing Committee in 1992 and through Fantasy Sports Services has taken our event to another level. Digger’s passion, creativity and desire to always help continues to be an inspiration for all of us.
The Wizard Foundation was an idea hatched over a few beers at a cottage during the summer of 1985 by nine high school friends. Six of these friends participated in the original 1988 event. The Wizard Foundation was formed to give back to the community and made Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) its first draft choice. As a result we have won every year since! With the proceeds from this evening, the cumulative donation to SOO after 28 years is over $1.5 million. However our greatest satisfaction is the knowledge of the impact of your support on thousands of lives.
Bob Nicholson (Chair)