Glace Bay Colonels manager to be inducted into N.S. Sports Hall of Fame
Henry Boutilier's mantelpiece is already full of a lifetime's worth of memories, but soon, he'll be adding yet another accolade.
Boutilier, who’s been the manager of the Glace Bay Colonels for 40 years, will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in the fall.
“It's an honour for myself and the family, and it's an honour for Glace Bay Little League because I’m representing them,” Boutilier said.
Boutilier, who played for the nationally renowned Colonels as a kid, took charge of the dugout in 1979.
“It was always in the back of my head,” Boutilier said. “So, after I finished playing ball myself, in 1979 I said I'd go back and start coaching little league. I was a school teacher, so I had the summers off. I had a passion for baseball all my life.”
During Boutilier's tenure, the Colonels have won five national championships. That includes back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988 – the latter before a packed house at the Cameron Bowl in Glace Bay.
They won again in 1991, 1994, and then 2003, also at home in Cape Breton.
Boutilier's Colonels have come second in the country another six times and he's won two more national titles in the Big League division.
“We've been competitive for a small area, playing against all of those big centres across the country,” Boutilier said.
That's an understatement.
All these years his teams have had people wondering: “what's Glace Bay's secret?”
“They were on the field all day and all evening,” Boutilier said. “They just loved playing baseball, and when we won the first time in '87, that just opened the door for the other kids and made them realize that we could win.”
It's hard for a coach to pick a favourite team, but Boutilier says if he had to choose, he'd go with the original champs - the 1987 Colonels.
What he's most proud of though, are the men his players have grown into off the field.
"It's the fact that we developed model citizens -- good kids,” Boutilier said.
Now, at age 65, he's hoping he can stay healthy long enough to reach a half-century of doing this, but there's still at least one last goal.
“My grandson is five now,” says Boutilier. “He wants me to hang around of course, and we'll see what happens.”
It’s perhaps the one final piece of unfinished business he wants to take care of before hanging up his manager's hat for good.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.