Brad Bondy

Local coach to be inducted into Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A coach who has led General Amherst High School basketball teams to numerous boys and girls championships is getting a significant honour himself.

Domenic Silvaggio will be inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame this fall. The news went public last week that Silvaggio will be part of the class of 2018.

Silvaggio got the word in late-June that he was likely to be inducted this year and the official word came last week. He will be inducted as part of the builder’s category.

“It was kind of nice to hear, that’s for sure,” he said.

Silvaggio added he was at a “loss for words” when the call came that he was a soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

“There’s been quite a few people asking me about it (in past years),” he said. “I said it’s something I have no control over. If it comes, it comes.”

Now that the honour has come, Silvaggio is sharing it with many of his peers. That includes many coaches within the elementary and the Amherstburg Basketball Club system especially those who were involved with both systems including Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

Among those that helped him along the way have also included Ross Scott, Mike Nedin and Dave Scott.

“These guys were influential in getting me into coaching,” he said.

Nicole Rusenstrom was also thanked for her help with teams in recent years.

Special thanks was given to Greg Scott and Don Parks, who were recognized for their many years of coaching with Silvaggio. He also recognized his son Stephen, who both played and coached with him and now has his own basketball program at Kennedy.

“All the coaches should be sharing this with me as well,” he said.

General Amherst coach Dom Silvaggio (centre) goes over a play during a timeout of a Nov. 2017 game against Kennedy. Silvaggio’s accomplishments over his coaching career have landed him a spot in the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be in October.

Fundraisers for the local basketball programs have included Ross Scott, Parks, Greg Scott and Palumbo plus the many players and parents that helped out.

Parents have also been of great help over the years.

“They always had my back, driving the kids to all parts of Ontario,” he said.

The players were also thanked, with Silvaggio noting that none of the championship teams he has coached would have been possible without the hard work of the players. He recalled championship teams that would win a tournament on a Saturday and come home and want to practice on the Sunday.

“That’s the dedication and drive they had,” said Silvaggio. “Without that, you aren’t going to win anything.”

While the dedication of players and parents were pointed out, so too were the efforts of his fellow teachers and administrators as well.

“It makes my job a heck of a lot easier when you have that,” he said.

Silvaggio gave special thanks to his family, including wife Susan, son Stephen and daughter Kim. Kim also played for her father during her time at General Amherst.

“Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to put in the time,” he said. “There were a lot of weekends away, that’s for sure.”

Among the accomplishments on Silvaggio’s resume include 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA championships between boys and girls basketball teams. He has coached 13 SWOSSAA championship teams and the senior girls program he has overseen won ten consecutive medals at OFSAA at either the “AA” or “AAA” level, including five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals at the provincial championship tournament.

Silvaggio’s teams have also won two gold medals and one silver at the senior boys Ontario District High School Championships and two golds in Division 2 at the Basketball Ontario Cup boys championship with the Amherstburg Basketball Club.

Silvaggio has won the most basketball OFSAA championships and medals as a coach in the Windsor/Essex area. His league and playoff win totals at the high school level top 600 and that number swells to 1,000 overall wins when tournaments are factored in.

The 2006 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team was selected as the top high school team of the year regardless of size by a committee of coaches and administrators from throughout Ontario.

In 2007, the senior girls won the Super 12 tournament which included the eventual OFSAA “AAAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners as well as the OFSAA “AAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners for that year. The Lady Gens won the “AA” gold that year.

From 2004-2013, the General Amherst senior girls basketball team had a record of 197-9 in WECSSAA, SWOSSAA and OFSAA league and playoff games. Silvaggio said most of those were at the Tier 1 level after WECSSAA started the tier system. Those teams had a 45-5 record in OFSAA play during that time span to go along with their ten straight medals.

Silvaggio was one of the founders and president for over 20 years of the Amherstburg Basketball Club. He said the Amherstburg Basketball Club was started to enhance and promote the game of basketball for the youth who lived in the Amherstburg area.

One of the teams Domenic Silvaggio (far right) coached to an OFSAA basketball championship were the 2011 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team (File photo – Special to the RTT)

“There were hundreds of children who played either house league or travel or both,” he said. “Many of the youth who were a part of this program probably would not have played basketball at the competitive and house league level if not for this club.”

Silvaggio believes he is one of only three high school basketball coaches to go into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Oct. 19 at the Ciociaro Club.

Since the news went public, Silvaggio added he has been receiving many messages of congratulations.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It’s an honour but I’d like to share this with all of the other coaches.”

Other inductees into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame include Paul Carter (basketball), J. Paul Reddam (horse racing) and Don Marrin (wrestling) in the builder’s category; golfer Cheryll Damphouse, boxer Mary Spencer, hockey player Andy Delmore and basketball player Richard Shaw going in as part of the athletes category.

The Tecumseh Baseball Club and the 2011-15 University of Windsor Lancer women’s basketball team will be inducted under the club and team category.

 

 

Town places moratorium on future signage due to pending urban design guidelines

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of local realtors got their signage request approved, but no more bylaw exemptions will be considered until the town’s urban design guidelines come to council.

Brad Bondy and Amy Bailey from Remax Preferred Realty appeared before town council with regards to a signage request for 103 Sandwich St. S. where their business name will also appear with Amherstburg Flowers & Gifts. However, town council requested that he work within the urban design guidelines and later passed a moratorium on any future signs from anyone else until the design guidelines are finalized.

CAO John Miceli said he wanted the moratorium so that council would have all the information from the guidelines, something a consultant is currently crafting.

“I wanted to make sure we took it into consideration with everything,” he said of the signage request. “All I’m asking for is a moratorium not to make a decision until we have urban design guidelines.”

Miceli added the goal of the urban design guidelines is to give Amherstburg a “sense of place” and that signs should have the “look and feel of the community we are trying to create.”

Councillor Leo Meloche questioned whether the business community should be consulted about types of signage but Miceli said efforts were made with only 20 of 211 businesses coming out to meetings.

“To be quite honest, we’ve had poor representation from the business community,” he said.

Councillor Diane Pouget agreed with the moratorium, saying the town spent “a lot of money” for a consultant to create the guidelines. She added past signage have created potential legal issues.

“Council has been cautioned several times by legal regarding signage and how it is distracting to drivers,” she said.

However, Councillor Rick Fryer reminded council that Bondy and Bailey’s request came before council at the May 14 meeting and was deferred due to council wanting more information.

“If Mr. Bondy was here, it would have been dealt with two weeks ago,” said Fryer.

Councillor Joan Courtney agreed with Fryer in that the matter would have been dealt with May 14 if Bondy had been asked to attend the meeting. She believed it would be unfair to Bondy and Bailey to put a moratorium in place before dealing with their sign request “but it should end here.”

Courtney said future requests should be subject to the moratorium.

Bondy indicated they are willing to work with the town.

“We’re willing to do what you guys want us to do,” he told town council.

Bondy added the proposed sign is attractive.

“It’s nothing grotesque,” he said. “It’s neat, it’s clean, it’s simple.”

Pouget said the town is trying to eliminate sign pollution and that if exemptions keep getting granted, it “defeats the purpose” of trying to come up with urban design guidelines.

Miceli said a report on urban design guidelines could come before town council in July.

“It’s about creating a sense of place in Amherstburg,” he emphasized. “It’s not about preventing signs.”

The area covered by the moratorium stretches from Texas Road to Lowes Side Road and from Meloche Road to the water’s edge.

Miracle League celebrates its volunteers

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A quartet of Miracle League volunteers have summed up their feeling helping the local organization.

Conor Dawson, Brad Bondy, Avery Duhart and Nancy Ferguson are four of the many that volunteer their Saturdays with Miracle League, which concluded its spring season June 24. They all got started in different ways but are all glad they are involved.

“I play baseball for Turtle Club (in LaSalle),” explained Dawson. “I like the game and try to get easy volunteer hours.”

For Duhart, it was another case of getting high school volunteer hours.

Among the many volunteers that help the Miracle League of Amherstburg operate are Brad Bondy, Conor Dawson, Nancy Ferguson and Avery Duhart. All four say they find their experiences rewarding.

Among the many volunteers that help the Miracle League of Amherstburg operate are Brad Bondy, Conor Dawson, Nancy Ferguson and Avery Duhart. All four say they find their experiences rewarding.

“I started volunteering for high school and I really enjoyed it after I got my hours,” he said. “Also, you can’t beat free food.”

Ferguson said she started out at the barbecue but said she wanted to be a “buddy” to some of the athletes.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Ferguson.

Bondy said he enjoys announcing the games every Saturday during the Miracle League’s spring and fall seasons, noting he sees the excitement in the players’ eyes.

“When they get a home run, it’s beautiful to see,” he said. “Without the volunteers, that wouldn’t happen. It’s an amazing thing.”

Duhart said when he sees people with disabilities, he understands what they go through thanks to Miracle League. Dawson agreed, and quoted the Miracle League motto “Everyone deserves a chance to play baseball!”

“I agree with that,” said Dawson.

Bondy said whenever he or his family sees someone with challenges, they refer them to Miracle League. Ferguson added that Miracle League athlete Bryan Dzombak grew up with her son Chase and still know each other.

The four volunteers describe their experiences with Miracle League as inspiring, amazing, motivational and rewarding with Dawson stating it has opened his eyes to people with disabilities and what they can accomplish.

“You are playing the game through them,” added Ferguson.

All four agree that there is no one player that makes the days special, with Bondy saying the list of positive experiences is “endless.” He added that it is nice to see people young and old attend games, noting it’s not just for Amherstburg residents but all of Windsor-Essex County.

Chuck Bondy, president of the Miracle League’s board of directors, said it is the volunteers that make things happen every week. He added that the public is very generous with donations and credited them for generating the money to fund Miracle League operations.

“All we do is steer the ship,” said Bondy. “It’s the volunteers that make it go.”

Two local realtors named Top 200 in Canada

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

A pair of local real estate agents have been named to Real Estate Professional magazine’s Top 200 list for 2017.

Brad Bondy and Brady Thrasher, both agents out of the Re/Max Preferred Realty office in Amherstburg, learned they were named to the list last week.

Two agents from the Re/Max office in Amherstburg - Brad Bondy and Brady Thrasher - made Real Estate Professional magazine's list of the Top 200 realtors in Canada.

Two agents from the Re/Max office in Amherstburg – Brad Bondy and Brady Thrasher – made Real Estate Professional magazine’s list of the Top 200 realtors in Canada.

“I’m pretty proud of the fact I got there,” said Bondy. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be a top producer at Re/Max.”

To make the list is an accomplishment, he said, adding he owes a lot to his family, friends and clients. He also shared the credit with the other members of Team Brad Bondy, including his brother Brian, Heather Harber, Diane Schultz and the others who have helped him along the way.

Bondy said he “had no idea” of the award until he learned about it last week.

“I’m humbled by it,” he said. “I’m truly humbled by it.”

Bondy, who is also in his third year of being a prestigious “Diamond member” at Re/Max, said he also credits his parents for instilling the work ethic in him from a young age.

“My parents always said ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’,” said Bondy. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who helped us along the way.”

Noting the importance of integrity, he added that sometimes there are bad times but those can be overcome.

“Things don’t always go your way but the good outweighs the challenges,” he said.

Brad Bondy

Brad Bondy

Brady Thrasher

Brady Thrasher

Thrasher was also happy to receive word of his inclusion on the Top 200 list.

“When I heard the news of the most recent accolade I had received, I was thrilled,” he said. “I’m greatly honored by this award, being named in the company of some of the top agents in Canada is a significant achievement for me personally.”

Thrasher noted he has a young family and strives to set a positive example that his family can be proud of.

“I wouldn’t be able to accept this award without the love and support from my wife Jess, my sons Braxton and Barrett, my business partner Debbie Nedin and our office administrator and my mother, Jayne Thrasher,” he added.

Thrasher also paid tribute to his clients for being able to make the Top 200 list.

“The award to me is a reflection of the sincere relationships I have built so far in this business with my loyal clients,” said Thrasher.

This is the first time that Thrasher has made the Top 200 Agents in Canada list, but he pointed out he was recently awarded as being one of the Top 30 under 30 agents in Canada.

Denny Laurin, broker/manager at the Amherstburg Re/Max office, said the office was proud to have two members on the list but said the entire office does well.

“This office in general is a top producing office,” he said. “We have almost a 60 per cent market share in Amherstburg just in this office.”

The news of Bondy and Thrasher making the list came “out of the blue,” said Laurin.

“No one saw it coming.”

Laurin added the Re/Max office in Windsor also does very well.

Lady Gens claw back to capture WECSSAA slo-pitch title

 

By Ron Giofu

The General Amherst girls slo-pitch team had their backs against the wall in last week’s WECSSAA playoff tournament but managed to battle back to win the title.

The Lady Gens dropped an 18-4 decision to the Leamington Lions in last Monday’s double-elimination tournament at Co-An Park in McGregor, meaning they couldn’t lose again that day if they wanted to win the championship. Amherst won their next three games to bring home the WECSSAA title.

The first game against Leamington was one that coach Brad Bondy called “the worst game we played in five years” as nothing went right for the Lady Gens.

“We got them together,” said Bondy. “In our minds, the only team that could beat us was us. We beat ourselves versus Leamington.”

However, they quickly rebounded and edged Villanova 18-17 in the semi-finals to advance to play Leamington again in the finals. Bondy said they had to down the Lions twice to win the title and things didn’t look good early as General Amherst fell behind 6-0 in the first inning. The Lady Gens fought back and the game went back-and-forth the rest of the way until Amherst captured a 15-14 win.

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls slo-pitch team captured the WECSSAA championship June 6 at Co-An Park in McGregor. (Photo by Kathy Dodds)

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls slo-pitch team captured the WECSSAA championship June 6 at Co-An Park in McGregor. (Photo by Kathy Dodds)

In the second game of the finals against Leamington and third game of the day against the Lions, General Amherst finally got it going and defeated Leamington via the mercy rule 21-4.

“They were crushing the ball,” said Bondy. “All the girls picked it up huge.”

The girls rallying from a bad defeat earlier in the day was special, Bondy added.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It was an awesome experience. It was one of our best wins ever. It was one of the proudest moments in the history of General Amherst girls slo-pitch.”

It was Bondy’s last game as a coach, as he is turning the program over to the other coaches. He said he was proud to coach with Nicole Maxey, Mike Prescott, Stephanie Melcher not to mention his daughter Sarah Bondy. He was also happy to work with the players over the years.

“They are always a great group of girls to coach,” said Bondy, adding most are very well coached even before joining the Amherst team.

Bondy added his thanks to the parents.

“The parents always do a great job with their girls,” he said.