Few of the alumni of Cambrian College have worn their Golden Shield pride on their heart more than journalism graduate Norm Mayer. The long-time Sudbury Star reporter and member of the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame, came by his love of sport quite naturally; a passion that only grew stronger during his time at the New Sudbury campus.
“I started in the journalism program in 1978, and began writing for the school paper on the sports beat, covering a lot of the varsity teams,” Mayer recalled recently, continuing the work that he does as the primary sports historian for the House of Kin Sports Celebrity Dinner.
“When I got on with the Star in 1981, one of the first beats I had was Cambrian. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the coaching staffs and management there,” Mayer continued. “If you had any questions, the door was always open to talk to them.”
And while time might cause some memories to fade, the wide world of sports seems to have a stronger ability to etch certain visions in the minds of those who have been witness to the athletic feats of athletes from years gone by.
“Watching the development of John Tymchuk,” noted Mayer. “Every time he was on the court, something would happen. He had a unique knack of driving to the boards, and doing these dipsy-doodle shots.”
He recalls, with fondness, the reception that was granted the Sandra Wickham curling rink in the late 1980s when they were feted in the main lobby of the college after being crowned national champs.
He laughs, almost immediately, when asked about the men’s hockey program. “I had a lot of respect for Doug Bonhomme, because that hockey team was something else,” said Mayer, not necessarily pointing to their incredible talents on the ice. “They had some antics sometimes – and Doug was just a really good guy to talk to.”
As decades passed, friendships were formed, including the affiliation with the always likeable, and now retired, athletic director Bob Piché. “The thing about Bob was that he never really got excited over anything,” noted Mayer. “The only time I saw some excitement was when his hockey team won nationals.”
And while no single coach represents Golden Shield athletics, these days, quite as much as quarter century veteran Dale Beausoleil, Mayer was privy to the early days in the tenure of the graduate of Confederation Secondary School.
“They (women’s volleyball) were struggling in the early days, but Dale never gave up,” reminisced Mayer. “You would talk to him, and he would say, “someday, I’m going to have the team,” alluding to the kind of squad that could compete on a provincial, and occasionally national scale.
Prompted to identify the greatest Cambrian athlete that he had seen perform, Mayer deftly sidestepped the question. “I’m not the kind of guy to pick a number one,” he smiled. “I’m more of a two, three, four kind of a guy.”
Yet to this day, long after his involvement with the coverage of local sports, Norm Mayer continues to follow the Golden Shield. “I enjoy seeing what’s going on,” he said. “And it was where I graduated.”