R.I.P. Coach Bob Kulchyk

 * Coach Bob Kulchyk (Mississauga, Ont.), 60, who guided the Mississauga Southwest Twins into a provincial powerhouse and a regular on the national stage three of the last four years has lost his fight to a brain tumor. ....  2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list …. Canadians in College 2016 Canadian draft list  Letters of Intent


 By Bob Elliott

John Haar is a sandlot coach who wound up being elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys in 2007.

He ran the National Baseball Institute for 14 years and coached Canadian Junior Team to Baseball Canada’s first international gold medal in 1991.

There are plenty of men who count diamonds as their best friend:

Men like Doug Mathieson (Langley), Bill Green (Coquitlam), Dave Wallace (Parksville) and Dave Empey (North Vancouver) in BC.

Les McTavish (Vauxhall), Dave Robb, (La Biche), A. J. Fystro, (Okotoks), Mark Randall (Edmonton) and Todd Hubka (Medicine Hat) in Alberta.

Or Morgan Reiter (Regina) in Saskatchewan or and Mike Krykewich (Winnipeg) in Manitoba.

Guys who have been coaching or have coached for more than a decade in Ontario like Danny Bleiwas (Thornhill), Jason Booth (Newkarket), Jason Chee-Aloy (Toronto), Mike Lumley (London), Marc Picard (Windsor) and Danny Thompson (Burlington).

And in Quebec coaches like Denis Boucher (Laval), Alex Agostino (Montreal) and Raimondo Callari (Montreal).

For every one of the aforementioned you have read about or heard about there were roughly a dozen each this summer coaching baseball this summer.

Men like Bob Kulchyk.

The sandlot coaching fraternity took a serious blow when Kulchyk, 60, who ran the Mississauga Southwest Twins, lost his battle with brain cancer Nov. 9.

Now there is one less dedicated coach.

Kulchyk raised funds, ordered uniforms, put in the bases, hit ground balls, wondering “who pitches next?” and basically kept his game -- baseball -- and his team -- Twins -- thriving.

Whether it was Jack Giffin (Brockville, Ont.), Tom Carty (Kingston, Ont.), Keith Sanford (Windsor, Ont.), Dan Belisle (Montreal, Que.), Greg Morris (Chatham, N.B.) or Frank Humber (Corner Brook, Nfld.) these men spent their summers at the diamonds and their winters waiting for summers to come.

Now someone is needed to pick up the baton, or the bat bag, the ball bucket -- and don’t forget to pick up those foul balls in the long grass ...

Kulchyk’s Twins made three trips to the senior nationals in the previous four years. And in 2006 he was an assistant coach as Mississauga Southwest won its first national title.

Kulchyk found baseball at his father’s side like most of us ... or was it baseball found him ... as the bat boy on a Cornwall team coached by his father.

He began coaching his daughter Krystine in softball and 2004 began coaching his son Stephan’s Erin Mills team in Mississauga.

He was a trusted aide with David Huctwith's national midget title Mississauga Southwest in 2006. Then, he helped Huctwith for three seasons with the Twins junior team.

Kulchyk brought the Twins to the COBA major loop in 2010. Shortly afterwards they were a powerhouse -- one of the best two teams in the province.

His Twins had a regular season record of 83-56-3 (.585 win mark). The Twins never won a COBA Major Playoff title under his guidance but they did win the Hap Walters tournament in both 2012-13 doing 5-0 both years. And in 2014, they were 3-0 when the rains came.

Mississauga Southwest was the runner up at the 2011 eliminations at Windsor and earning a berth in the Nationals at Chatham N.B. He had the likes of Jordan Petruska, Chris Piccini, Brendan Emmett, Adan Banski, Eric Ventura, Matthew Dekundy, Jerome Smith, Steve Soukas, Anthony Fantauzzi, Jamie SmithMatthew Piccini and his son Stephan.

His Twins won the 2013 OBA eliminations taking bronze at nationals beating Manitoba 10-6, They were edged by Windsor 2-1 in the semi-final as Kulchyk had Billy Hurley, Michael Cardinale, Ian Campbell, Adan Paish, Nathan Smith, Mike Cantwell, Sean Bignall, John Broll, Ed Largy and returnees.

And they were runners up to the Tecumseh Thunder in the eliminations and won bronze again beating New Brunswick 11-0 in St. John's, Nfld. The Twins lost 10-2 to Tecumseh in the semi-final. The doctors would not allow him to fly to the nationals. Mike Smith and David Paish ran the team at the nationals as Paul McKenna, James Byrnes, Kyle Porter, Troy Black and others contributed to the Twins success.

Kulchyk was named by the outstanding Ontario Senior Baseball Blog 2013 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the same honour in 2014.

The family in the obituary expressed thanks to Dr. Bernstein from Toronto Western Hospital, Dr. Perry from Sunnybrook Hospital, Dr. Besik from Credit Valley Hospital, the CCAC and the Red Cross care workers.

A memorial service was held at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Church in Oakville. The family has asked in lieu of flowers, donations to St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Church.

Sympathies are extneded to his wife, Donna and children, Kyrstine and Stephan.

Baseball is all about memories and stories. “Remember that night we played in ...”

Do you have a memory or a favorite story about the late Bob Kulchyk?

Add away ....