Hall Of Fame Inductee
Inducted into: Legend Division in 2007
Deceased: March 22, 2023
Born in the east end of Toronto in 1917, Ernie's family soon moved to northern Toronto and this area would become the focal point of Ernie's career and lifetime achievements.
While the depression forced Ernie to quit school, this world wide phenomenon didn't damper his enthusiasm for sports and his ability to excel at both baseball and hockey. By 17, Ernie was a goalkeeper for the North York Juniors of the Toronto Hockey League and also tended goal in the prestigious West Toronto Mercantile League. In this league, some games were played at the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens. Ernie also played softball, excelling at both second base and shortstop and this senior level group were among the best in the city. In 1941, Ernie married Helen Thompson and six months later was in the army. Ernie was a sergeant and was connected to the medical corps.
His bowling career started in 1937 at Pears Bowl in Toronto under the management of Ed Moody. Along with brother Al, they bowled on the Ostranders Jewellers team. After a three year stint in the second war and with 5 pin bowling booming, Ernie increased his bowling activity dramatically. He bowled in all the big leagues of the day, the Toronto City Majors, the Crosstown Majors, as well as the North York Industrial league, the Willowdale Mens Majors league, the Mens Majors leagues at both Allencourt Lanes and ABC Bowl in Richmond Hill and Odeon Bowl in Newmarket, which was run by the Ingram family.
In the Toronto City Major league, he bowled on the Seagrams team for two years, with such greats as Hall of Famers Percy Cutting and Fred Pechaluk, as well as Earl Fordham, Bob Reilly and his old friend from Pears Bowl, Ed Moody.
In tournament play, Ernie was on top of his game in the early sixties. In 1963 alone, he was the Ontario Match Play Singles champion, bowling a 1375 for five games, beating Vic Marco of Brantford, winning $1,000.00 and went on to win the first Annual 5 Pin "Timmy's" Easter Classic, taking home another $1,000.00 first place prize. Again, in 1964, Ernie defended his title by winning the second Annual 5 Pin "Timmy's" Easter Classic, taking home another $1,000.00. As an indication of the popularity of 5 pin bowling, all three of these events were televised by the CBC.
In the Eastern Canadian Championships, which is today's "Open", Ernie was on the first York Simcoe Men's team ever to make it to the National Championships. In 1964, in North Bay, Ernie, along with Hall of Famer Al Richardson, Peter Senchuk, Ken Malcolm, Roy Whiteside, Mario Mainelli and coach Tony Den Bok beat the strong Hamilton team consisting of Doug Whitfield, George Tratch, and Hall of Famers's Ernie Roggie, Lloyd Ormerod, Stan Battersby and Bert Adams, by a score of 12,331 to 12,235 to advance to the Nationals. In order to accommodate the spectators who planned on attending the Canadian championships, Brunswick of Canada installed four bowling lanes and automatic pinsetters in the Regina Armories. The installation required 400 man-hours and was completed in five days. However the men's team was defeated by a powerhouse Winnipeg team by a score of 11,824 to 11,594. In all, Ernie has qualified nine times in the Open, five times on the Men's team, which included three singles, and four times on a mixed team. Ernied has also coached two ladies teams.
In an athletic career that spans over 60 years. Ernie has bowled with the best, including many of todays Hall of Famers, including Billy Hoult, Rusty Starr, Fraser Hambly and "Red" McQuaker. Ernie had the honour and unique distinction of being voted most valuable player when with Mahar's baseball team in 1939 and winning the same award 19 years later in the strong North York Senior "B" softball league. He covered bowling for the Willowdale Enterprise for ten years and was a member of the East-Toronto All-Stars at the Sportsmen's Show classic in 1957. Ernie has bowled a 1040 triple, which included a 444 single, with the Coffee Cup team in the Willowdale Men's Majors league at Willow Bowl. He won the North York singles crown in 1952 & 57, along with the league championships in 1954, and the Richmond Hill singles and doubles, with Art Briggs Jr., in 1958. Ernie's lifetime average is estimated at 250, not bad for someone who was self taught.
Ernie and his first wife, Helen, had two children, Allen and Linda and today there are five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Following Helens passing in 1997, Ernie re-married and, with his wife Patricia, lives in Thornhill and enjoys golf and skating in his leisure time.