Chairperson Gary Corbett and the host committee for the 2016 Softball Canada Men’s and Master Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championships are delighted to announce husband and wife Dennis ‘Dee’ and Bette Murphy as the honourary patrons for the tournament.
The Murphys are, in every sense, softball royalty in Newfoundland and Labrador. Over their combined 80 years of involvement, they have fostered passion and growth in the sport that is rivaled by few. Their tremendous contributions and efforts on and off the field of play was recognized in 1977 when they were inducted into the Softball Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame.
“Dee and Bette are the mother and father of softball in our province,” insists tournament chair Gary Corbett. “Their unparalleled and unwavering commitment to the sport over several decades was paramount to the success and passion we have for fast pitch softball to this day. We are delighted to bestow this honour on them as a small measure of our gratitude.”
On the diamond, Bette Murphy was an exceptional talent, helping teams to five St. John’s senior ‘A’ ladies league titles and seven provincial senior ‘A’ championships, including the first-ever women’s tournament in 1966, when she was the tournament’s top batter.
As a coach, she led the St. John’s Ladies All-Stars to a provincial title and broke barriers as the first female coach in the St. John’s Junior Men’s League. Bette also served as a provincial team manager at 18 national championships, including two Canada Summer Games.
As an administrator, Bette was the first Softball NL ladies chairperson, a position she held for 10 years, and president and secretary of the St. John’s Senior ‘A’
Ladies League. She was the first-ever delegate to represent the Atlantic region at Softball Canada meetings, a job she held on two more occasions in addition to representing her home province seven times. When St. John’s played host to the 1994 World Female Softball Championships at the very same field where this year’s tournament is taking place, Bette was on board as the tournament’s director of public relations.
Dennis ‘Dee’ Murphy, while never having played the game of fast pitch softball, established himself as a steadfast and tireless supporter over 45 years as a coach and administrator locally, provincially and nationally. In addition to the provincial Hall of Fame, Dee is also a member of the Canadian and St. John’s softball halls of fame, as well as the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1965, Dee was elected a chartered vice-president of Softball Canada, and went on to serve seven more years in the same role on the national executive. He represented Canada twice at World Softball meetings, chaired softball at the 1977 Canada Summer Games in St. John’s, and was chair for three other national championships. Today, he is the only living honourary life member of Softball Canada, a distinction that has only been bestowed upon seven individuals.
At home, Dee was the founding president of Softball NL and gave 13 years to the position. Moreover, Dee was a tremendous supporter of the women’s game in this province, coaching for 25 years — winning multiple local and provincial titles — and led ladies teams to 11 national championships.
Both Bette and Dee will be on hand for the 2016 Softball Canada Men’s and Master Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championships opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 at the Caribou Memorial Softball Complex.
Tournament passes for the five-day men’s event and four-day master men’s event are on sale now at the Mile One Centre box office by phone at 709-5765757 or online at Individual day passes will also be available, but will only be sold at the gate once the tournaments begin.
Each year, Softball Canada presents 11 Canadian Championships in various locations across the country. These Championships represent the pinnacle of many athletes’ careers, as they compete for the title of National Champion.