We lift a glass to you, sir. It’s been a blast…
Not just for your memorable contributions to hockey, but for your determined, yet humble, contributions to your fellow Brantfordians for a generation.
Over the past several decades it has been you, one of the most significant influencers in the successes of hockey players from near and far, that burned the, ‘Hockey Town,’ brand into our lexicon.
It has been clear that Peter Ham and his wife Judy Ham have been generous and humble for Brantford.
“People keep describing me as a hockey business guy… when really I’m in the people business through hockey,” Ham said said.
Who could forget the 1972 NHL game you brought to the Civic Centre, as Chair of the United Way at the time, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. They battled and we paid a princely sum of $2 to enjoy? You broke all attendance records, even since then, for having over 5,000 fans pressed… like hams…against the walls in the Civic Centre and another 2,000 outside.
Or 1976, the same year you married the lovely Judy, when, as General Manager of the Brantford Alexanders you brought the Moscow Dynasty to play against them, including the famous Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak. Or as Managing director of Brantford Smoke in the Colonial League you went on to become the President of the entire Canada/USA league.
Or the 111-year-old Allan Cup national challenge senior hockey league trophy, you won locally not once but twice for Canadian championship recognition in 1977 and 2008?
Or when you brought that favourite hockey star Eddie Shack to play on the Blast for eight games?
But even more so, there was what you did off the ice. Literally, you made it a character trait to not take credit for other’s successes. In fact, you brought thousands of kids to centre ice at the Civic Centre to be thrilled by our nation’s sport AND be recognized by the audiences for their accomplishments. Your relationship with Lori Anderson and Ruth Mills of Strong Start not only gave hundreds of disadvantaged kids in the community, from 3-7 years, a chance to develop skills in reading but a chance for them to celebrate their success by hosting their families through a Blast hockey game and them dropping the puck to start the game.
In fact, over 100 not-for-profit organizations like the Lung Association, 104 Squadron Air Cadets, the Canadian Cancer Association, Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation, The Ted Beare Foundation and the United Way were celebrated and hosted at games over the decades.
“I have so much love for the game but mostly the people: the players; the fans, the volunteers; and staff. But mostly for the kids. I thank them all for a lifetime of memories and I cherish the relationships.”
Peter, we have been honoured to have you as one of the ambassadors for our community. You made a difference.
Good luck in your retirement and stay well as you enjoy your grandchildren.
Oh, and spoiler alert… The Brantford Blast are for sale with one of the terms being that they have to stay in Brantford. They have the largest overall fan turnout for any local Brant hockey league, and those folks will be true and loyal in return.
Plus. The Allan Cup is a challenge cup meaning should any team meet the league requirements, including some exhibition games, (having a regularly scheduled season is NOT one of the requirements) they can qualify to be in the 111th Annual Allan Cup in 2019. What do you say fans? Peter says, “Never say never!”
Allan Cup Three-peat? Watch out Dundas!