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History of the Board

The Guelph Board of Approved Basketball Officials came into being in the mid 1960s, when the Kitchener-Waterloo board released the eastern section of their territory. Early officers of the board included Larry Porter, Don Buchan, Mike McKenzie, and Jack Burnett. Approximately 16 members officiated at the three high schools in Guelph, as well as high school games in Elora, Fergus, Palmerston, Arthur, Mount Forest, Orangeville, Shelburne, Acton, Georgetown, and the OSD in Milton (today E.C. Drury). During the late 1960s and early 1970s Guelph’s officials also traveled to games in Walkerton, Wiarton, Chesley, Hanover, and Lion’s Head until the Grey Bruce board came into existence. Acton, Georgetown, and E.C. Drury began to play in the Halton Leagues so games there were handled by the boards serving that area. Today the GBABO handles basketball games played throughout Wellington and Dufferin counties, with club ball and adult leagues now comprising more than 50% of the games.

Remuneration during those early days was $14 - $16 per double header and $8 - $10 per single game. A pair of referee’s shoes cost $15.50. Today our officials are paid an average of $30 per game while the price of shoes equals about three game fees. The GBABO official has changed in appearance as well. The original Guelph referee wore a cotton broadcloth striped shirt, black pants, and canvas Converse shoes. In 1972, the IAABO blue and grey uniform with black leather shoes was adopted. Today our officials are decked out in the CABO grey and black uniform.

In March 1975 the GBABO applied to become an IAABO board, and membership as a charter board was received in 1976. Guelph then became known as IAABO Board 212. Being an IAABO board encouraged the executive to send representatives to the IAABO seminars, which in turn led GBABO to focus its meetings on education rather than purely business. This approach has raised the level of our officiating over the years, and has enabled a number of our members to achieve provincial recognition for their work on the court. During the late 1970s, as FIBA rules were adopted by the OWIAA, Guelph was the site of a number of “training camps / tournaments” where officials from around the province came to learn new rules and mechanics. Ron Foxcroft was instrumental in helping with those training sessions. In 1980, when the first development camps were started in preparation for the Canada Games in 1981, Guelph had two officials, Frank Cecchetto and Mike McPhee, selected to advance. At subsequent camps over the years, Guelph officials have demonstrated a high skill level, and a number have been promoted to work on various university and college panels and at national tournaments. We are very proud of the achievements our officials have made over the years.

Since its beginning as a board, the GBABO has been diligent in attending the OBABO / OABO annual meetings and seminars, and we were gratified to be able to host the 2002 Seminar in Guelph. The Seminar and AGM weekend is certainly one of the highlights of our 35+ years as a board, and we hope it will be a jumping off point for even greater accomplishments.

In recent years, the GBABO has participated in the annual Board Presidents’ meeting held each May. These meetings are a valuable way for the presidents of all boards in the province to come together to learn and share the events across Ontario. It is through the networking at the OABO Annual General Meetings, held in late September, as well as these president meetings, that the officials across the province continue to strive for the best service to our clients and a consistency in officiating. GBABO representatives have been called upon to assist in Ontario Basketball championship tournaments as well as participate in and supervise at OFSAA championships. It is through the hard work and dedication of our members that this recognition has been earned. The GBABO is proud of its history and of its reputation as a member in good standing of OABO, CABO, and IAABO. We are committed to providing quality officials well into the future.

The following who are now deceased served as referees with the Guelph Board of Approved Basketball Officials:

Barry Belchamber
Hugh “Scotty” Boyce
Don Buchan
Jack Burnett
Mike McKenzie
Bob Pierce
Kirk E. Lemon
Lawrie Rotenberg
Chuck Lindley

We thank the following for their leadership as presidents of our board:

Don Buchan (last a president in 1969-70)
Dale Pickering, elected 1970
Mike McKenzie, 1971-72
Larry Porter, 1972-73
Bob Cunningham, 1973-74
Rick Ferraro, 1974-75
Mike McKenzie, 1976-78
Larry Porter, 1978-80
Paul Drone, 1980-83
John Daugavietis, 1983-85
Doug Larmer, 1985-87
Peter Barnsley, 1987-93
Brian Wilson, 1993-97
Sam Disanto, 1997-2000
Carlo Zen, 2000-2003
Gord Swanson, 2003-2005
Megan Reid, 2005-2006
Mike McMurray, 2006-2009
Gord Swanson, 2009-2011
Bob Frank, 2011-2013
Andy Behnan, 2013-2016

Mike McPhee, 2016-


Outstanding Years of Service and Achievement

Mike McPhee

Refereed for over 45 years
Joined the Guelph Board of Approved Basketball Officials in 1969
Instrumental in moving the Guelph Board to its own IAABO chapter in 1976
Officiated first OWIAA Championships at Laurentian in 1978
5 OWIAA Championships
Officiated Canada Games in Thunder Bay in 1981
Evaluating and teaching at OABO summer development camps since 1983
Chief evaluator at OABO camps since 1994
Refereed gold medal game at Canadian Seniors Women’s in Winnipeg, 1984
Refereed at Premier Men’s and Women’s Nationals, 1987 and 1992 (gold medal game)
Supervisor for men’s OUA East panel from 1990-95
Award of Recognition from Basketball Ontario in 2005
Refereed FIBA International Men and Women’s Competitions
Elected to OABO executive in 1984 and served through all the Vice-President and President roles
Elected as OABO Provincial Rules Interpreter in 2011
Presenter at IAABO Fall Seminars in Cleveland (2009) and Toronto (2012)

Frank Cecchetto

Refereed for over 45 years
Rules Interpreter and Educational Officer for over 33 years
20 years OUA West panel official
27 District 10 Finals, 11 CWOSSA Girls’ Finals, 16 CWOSSA Boys’ Finals
2 OFSAA Boys Provincial Championship Tournaments (1 gold medal game)
3 CIS Men’s Championship Games in Halifax
3 CIS Women’s Championship tournaments (1 gold medal game)
Regional CIS Men’s Championship in Lethbridge, Alberta (gold medal game)
Officiated Canada Games in Thunder Bay in 1981
6 OUA West Men’s Finals, 5 OUA Women’s Finals
Assignor/Evaluator at 2 OFSAA Boys’ Provincial Championships
Assignor/Evaluator for Ontario College Men’s Championship
Refereed in Canadian Pro Basketball League
Refereed Toronto Raptors Inter-Squad Games
Refereed FIBA International Men and Women’s Competitions
Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame, 2013

Two other members, in addition to Mike McPhee and Frank Cecchetto, have dedicated over 40 years of officiating: Gord Swanson and Paul Drone. Both Gord and Paul received Certificates of Recognition and Service at the OABO AGM in Belleville in 2013. In addition, Lawrie Rotenberg, our Secretary-Treasurer, received an OABO Award of Merit at the AGM in Belleville; he was nominated for his many years of dedicated service to the Toronto Association of Basketball Officials.

Our board is also honoured to have one of only five women in Canada with FIBA cards: Anna Maria Del Col. In 2012, Anna qualified for her FIBA card at a clinic in Montreal; she refereed her first international tournament in Cancun, Mexico, at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Women’s Championship. Anna officiates CIS university games in Ontario and refereed at CIS National Tournaments in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She has also worked for the past two summers as an evaluator at local, provincial, and national camps across the country.