Throwback Thursday – Jeff Hale

#69 Jeff Hale manhandling a Mustang defender in 1981

In 1978 Jeff Hale began his football career at the University of Guelph under Coach Dick Brown. As it would turn out the big freshman from Belleville would end up spending most of his career playing for Coach Tom Dimitroff Sr who arrived in 1979. At 6’6″ and 285-pounds Hale was a towering presence on the football field. Players with that size were an uncommon commodity 35 years ago.

It was actually Hale’s size that helped me to recognize him the first time we met back in August 2012. I knew that Hale was a long-time coach with the Huronia Stallions Varsity team, so when they were playing in the OFC Championship game in Burlington I made it a point of introducing myself to him and chatting prior to the game. It was an opportunity to meet a Gryphon legend I had heard lots about, and I didn’t want to miss it. Anyways, it was not hard to pick out Hale from among the Stallions coaches.

Over his Gryphon career Hale was named a team captain twice – 1979 & 1982, and he was an OUAA All Star in both 1981 and 1982. In 1981 he was also selected as an All Canadian. Following his playing career Hale remained with the Gryphons for two seasons assisting with the coaching of the offensive line. Hale, who now lives in Orillia, has spent the past thirty or so years with the Ontario Provincial Police.

The past two and a half years of Hale’s life have been engaged in a battle of another sort – the fight against cancer. Hale has been through two sessions of chemotherapy and one of radiation treatment. Hale begins another six weeks of radiation in January. As always Hale is still fighting with all he’s got. No doubt he would appreciate the prayers of the Guelph family, as well as words of encouragement from his Gryphon brothers. Hale can be contacted at rjhale2000@yahoo.ca.

1981 roommates (l-r) Mitch Chuvalo,  Jeff Hale # 69,  Junior Robinson #28,  Wayne Laidlaw, Matt Vine & Mike Eykens #7

1981 roommates (l-r) Mitch Chuvalo, Jeff Hale # 69, Junior Robinson #28, Wayne Laidlaw #31, Matt Vine & Mike Eykens #7

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2 Responses to Throwback Thursday – Jeff Hale

  1. Coach Mike MacDonald, Oline Coach, University of Guelph says:

    I was a high school teammate of Jeff’s at Quinte Secondary School in Belleville for 5 years. Jeff was a key member of our team in those years, a monster on defence. After high school he went on to play for the Ottawa Sooners in the OFC for a year. I remember him working his butt off to build himself up and get in top shape to make that team, can still see him running the big hill on Front Street on hot summer days. He then went on to an outstanding career at Guelph along with his brother Steve who was a terror at Defensive End. I played against both of them during my years at Waterloo.
    The next time I saw Jeff, after I was living in BC for 15 years, I run into him in the coaching arena while I was coaching for the Burlington Stampeders and he was coaching at Huronia. We had some great games with his teams and we could always count on his olines to be skilled and tough, just like their coach.
    I have talked with Jeff a number of times in the past year as he battles this illness.His quiet determination to not let this affect his outlook on life nor to interfere with his continuing to coach young men is an inspiration to me, and to his players. There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff is going to defeat this enemy, as if it was another pass rushing DE that needs to be pancaked!
    Thinking of you big man!

  2. Wayne England, Gryphon 85-89 says:

    As a Gryphon of the late 80’s it was always inspirational to see Jeff around training camps and homecomings and much later as coaches via the Stampeder/Huronia battles. His love for the game carries through the decades. Though largely an acquaintance in passing, definitely a role model, a gentleman and a true Gryphon friend.

    Nice update! Be well Jeff and look forward to seeing you soon.

    Wayne

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