Honouring Henry: Cape Breton baseball community pays tribute to local legend
GLACE BAY, N.S. -- The Little League baseball community in Cape Breton came together this weekend to honour one of their own.
The Glace Bay Colonels were back on the field this weekend competitively for the first time since the pandemic began, but there was a notable absence on the diamond.
Long-time little league coach Henry Boutilier passed away last December after a battle with cancer. He was 67-years-old.
“It is strange, but I can feel him here. I really can. I know he is here with us in spirit,” says Henry Boutilier’s wife, Cynthia.
This weekend, the Colonels and two other teams from the Glace Bay area are competing in the first annual ‘Henry Boutilier Memorial Tournament’.
It's a way for the Cape Breton baseball community to honour a man that lived and breathed the game.
“It's been an honour and a privilege to know how much Henry was loved and respected in this community and the sport of baseball, which he loved,” says Cynthia Boutilier.
Henry was the manager of Glace Bay's nationally renowned Colonels for more than forty years.
He started in the dugout in 1979 and has helped the team to five national titles, along with several trips to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“We've gone through an awful lot over the years,” says Jim Wilson, long-time Colonels coach.
Wilson has been by Boutilier's side just about every step of way.
“The one thing I dread about this whole process, is I’m going to start coming here in the morning coaching the Colonels and he's not going to be here. I didn't quite have that this year.” Says Wilson.
In an interview with CTV before his death, Boutilier contributed his baseball success back to the community and the players he coached.
“It was a community effort. It was all the people who were involved in Glace Bay Little League at the time. We put in a lot of hours, a lot of practice, and it worked,” said Boutilier last November.
On Sunday, the message to the players wearing the Colonels uniform was all about Henry.
“The first thing we talked about from day one was the Colonels jersey,” says Colonels coach Ryan Boutilier. “I don't think we would have that without Henry. Henry and Jimmy have done an excellent job creating an identity here that's second to none in Canada and that's all we're trying to do is continue that.”
The Colonels are hoping to host the Canadian National Championship in 2026, and the hope is that Boutilier’s grandson will be on the team.
In a result that would have made Boutilier proud, the Colonels won this weekend’s tournament, finishing with an impressive record of 4-0.