Cambridge Group of Club’s beloved Bill MacDonell or Billy Mac as he’s so affectionately called around the Cambridge Club, is set to retire this week. Admittedly an old relic himself, we thought it appropriate to have Billy (make that, make him), dig up this old archival Toronto Star article from 1964 where at 14 years old he was featured as a star athlete in the Sports/Focus section.
An excerpt and some scanned images of this long-kept document written by Star staff writer Frank Teskey, “To display his skill at sports he must first excel in school” is below:
The is one very good reason why William Donald MacDonell, at 14 a top athlete, is also a Grade Nine honor student.
“Seventy five per cent in school or no sports” is the rule laid down in the MacDonell’s Downsview home.
“School comes first,” is the view of the father, lawyer J.G. MacDonell. Though as rabid a sports fan as anyone else in the house, he also asked realistically: “Where can you go today with an education?
Bill is well known amoung teen-age athlete’s in the Toronto area because in nearly everything he tries he’s a winner.
At 12 he won the Canadian and Ontario junior singles tennis championships. This year, before his birthday, he won the Ontario tennis crown for under 14’s.
In baseball he hits between .450 and .600. He played both infield and outfield for Roger Neilsen’s North Toronto Lions, last year’s city champions.
CLINCHED THE TITLE
Billy scored 50 goals for Charlie Cerre’s North York Knights as the won all the available minor bantam hockey awards last year including first in the Toronto Hockey League and King Clancy championships.
Before that, with the same team, his marksmanship helped North York win tyke, minor atom, atom and peewee titles. He scored the tying and winning goals when they took the AA championship of the Quebec International Pee-wee tournaments in 1962, before a crowd of 24,000.
In cricket he is one of the better batsmen on the Toronto Cricket Club’s junior team./ “I keep wickets for Gord Anderson and Craig Benson, two of our best bowlers,” he said.
At the first cricket game he ever played he managed to win against Upper Canada College. Subsequently ran up 17 against Trinity and 57 in a game with Dovercourt club.
He’s having a try in soccer this year, playing with TCC. Ridley, Trinity and Crescent schools will see him in the opposing line up.
They won’t distinguish him by his size. Billy is an ordinary build for his age, five feet two and one quarter inches and 110 pounds.
When he topped club contenders in his own age group at squash, he entered the Ontario tournament. But the junior age goes to 20 years,and he was bested by a 19 year old.
Opponents and teammates know Billy never stops trying. But when you ask him the key to success in sports, he maintains it is good coaching.
As Billy navigated his sporting career excelling at every sport he got his hands on from squash to baseball, it’s fair to say that it was his passion for sport which truly took him places. Billy began his long tenure with Cambridge Group back in 1978 as an Associate Squash Pro at the Cambridge Club establishing many of the annual tournaments that still run to this day before moving into a Sales Management role.
Billy’s spirit, candor and quick-wit will be missed around the clubs, but we know his love for sport, fitness, and a good beer at the Oak Room bar, will keep him coming back in for frequent visits for years to come.
Congratulations Billy on a long illustrious career! We look forward to seeing you on the courts as a lifetime member of the Cambridge Club.