The following letter from Mark Potter appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard today, July 22.
‘Pete’ Petersen, an honourable man
Kingston has lost one of its finest citizens with the recent passing of Don ‘Pete’ Petersen. Pete had such a positive influence on the lives of thousands of kids during his almost 60 years as the guiding force of the Knights of Columbus Basketball League. He did it for the love of others and to put a smile on a kid’s face, never for recognition, but I would like to share a secret that Pete only shared with a few close friends and family members.
In 2005, he received a letter from the Governor General of Canada indicating he had been named to the Order of Canada and was invited to Rideau Hall to be recognized with the highest honour any Canada citizen can receive for service to their fellow citizens. Remarkably, he turned it down. While he was humbled, Pete wrote back to the Governor General saying he felt his work with kids through sports was “no big deal” and “he had more fun than the kids did.” He didn’t want the “fuss” that would come with it and respectfully declined.
That one act tells you all you need to know about the man Pete was, why he did what he did, and why he is held in such high regard by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Kingston is a better place through his many acts of kindness to our youth.
Mark Potter, Kingston
As you visit our league web site you will see that we have a new banner on the home page that is a tribute to Don “Pete” Petersen, the founder of our league. We would like to thank John Moore and his iStorm team of Cory Firth and Vincent Cinanni for turning the proposed concept into the reality that you will see at the web site. John and iStorm have partnered with us since the beginning of last season to make improvements to our web site scheduling module and other site upgrades, and that support is greatly appreciated.
I got a message this week from Matthew Vierimaa, the Queen’s Graduate student that was involved with a project with the league last season. He presented at the National Coaching Conference in Washington DC and he reports that it went well, and the research that was presented was well-received, which was both encouraging and satisfying. There was a general consensus that what the league is trying to accomplish is extremely important but lacking in the general youth sport landscape. For clarity on the last point Matthew said, “at the conference, it became evident that the majority of youth sport programming in the US is heavily focused on early specialization and high performance, even at a young age. Based on some of the responses I received, it seems that sport programs that are accessible to a wide range of youth (in terms of both skill level and socio-economic status) are severely lacking. In that regard, I think that the league provides a very fascinating and admirable model since it tends to attract such a diverse group of youth to the program and sport.” Matthew is hoping to come back to the league again next season to continue his research work. He and his colleagues have been very happy with the cooperation that the league has shown to support the research efforts of the university.
The second round of vintage Knights of Columbus Basketball League photos have been posted on the league Facebook page. make sure to have a look at the faces from the history of the league that Pete built.
Registration day is a mere 54 days away! No need to panic just yet. We will keep you updated as we get closer to the date – Saturday September 6, 2014, St. Pat’s School, 158 Patrick Street. 9-10:30. Boys 8-15; Girls 8-14. All ages are the age that the player will be on April 1, 2015. No Pre registration. Cost for the season remains at $10. Game nights for this season: Graduate boys (13-15) Monday night at Ecole Cathedrale; Biddy Boys (11-12) Monday night at St. Pat’s; Little Guys (boys 8-10) Tuesday night at St. Pat’s; Girl’s Division (11-14) Wednesday night at St. Pat’s; Little Gals Division (8-10) Thursday night at St. Pat’s. This season marks the 60th season for the league and we are excited about celebrating this milestone year for the league that Pete built.
Paul Proderick has informed us that parking at St. Pat’s School will be available for those attending the wake or funeral for Pete. That will include the area behind the school that is used during the basketball season. Please DO NOT PARK ON THE GRASS.
We are very grateful to Paul for his support to the family during this difficult time.
Below is the obituary for Don “Pete” Petersen that will be in the Kingston Whig Standard Saturday
Petersen, Donald “Pete”
Founder of the Knights of Columbus Basketball League, St. Pat’s Legend and Sports Guru of Kingston.
Passed away peacefully at his home that warm hospitable meeting place on Balaclava Thursday, July 3, 2014 at the age of 77.
Loving son of the late Annie and Carl Petersen. Loving brother of Robert Petersen of Calgary, Clara Wright of Kingston, Hilda Walker of Kingston, Helen (Reg) Hunt of Massena, N.Y. and the late Irene McQueen, Catherine Guscott, Eric and Carl “Sonny”. Fondly remembered by his in laws, numerous nieces and nephews, relatives and great friends. Bridget & Chris Payne would like to thank all the caregivers, friends and colleagues for all their kindness over the years…It made a Huge difference in this Humble man’s Life and for that we are truly very grateful…
Family and friends will be received at St. John the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 88 Patrick Street, on Wednesday July 9th from 3 pm to 7 pm, Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. John the Apostle Church on Thursday July 10, 2014 at 10:00 am. Rite of Committal St. Mary’s Cemetery. In memory of Pete’s Legacy donations can be made to the Knights of Columbus Basketball League, St. John the Apostle Church, St. Mary’s Cathedral, or St. Joseph’s Church… Youth and Faith two of Pete’s loves!
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Don “Pete” Petersen, the founder of the Knights of Columbus Basketball League, mentor, confidant, brother, uncle and friend to thousands who knew him, died this morning. We were blessed to have his guidance for the entire time that the league has been in operation and as I was putting these photos together I thought of two quotes. The first exemplifies how Pete lived his life – “You make a living from what you get, you make a life from what you give”. In 1995 Pete was given the Paul Harris Fellow by the local Rotary Club. The motto “Service Above Self” fully describes the man he was.
The second quote is well known at times of remembrance – “to you with failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.” It will continue to be the responsibility of the current and future leadership of the league to ensure that we hold true to the dreams and ideals of this great and humble man. There is a gallery of photos on the league Facebook page.
We just received this update from Sarah Barnes, Girls Division coach, travelling with the Canadian Women’s under 17 team at the World Championships. The photo referred to can be seen on our Facebook page.
Happy Canada day !
I am writing with a link you can watch the Canadian under 17 team play at the world championships. Tonight, 6 pm local, which is 12 pm/ noon in Kingston, we play the host, Czech Republic to finish up our first round of play. It’s a big game for the team, it depends how the rest of the championships will unfold. The crowds have been large (1000+ when Czech plays and a band!). The link is below, please pass this along to anyone who might be interested from Knights of Columbus. Games will be played all week, and you might be able to go back and watch some games using the link below.
Our first game against Hungary went into overtime, they are a team to watch for! Otherwise, US, France and Spain are always solid.
See pic of team below, (I’m not in the pic because I took it!).
This week we received a donation to the league from the Regiopolis / Notre Dame basketball program. Coach Ed Kenney said “The Regiopolis-Notre Dame Panthers would like to congratulate the Knights of Columbus Basketball League on their 60th anniversary. The RND Panthers and the entire Kingston sports community have greatly benefitted from the “better players” and “better people” that have resulted from this wonderful organization. The Knights and their “Just for the Fun on It” attitude are a model for teaching the game of basketball and the game of life.”
We are very grateful for the donation, and for the support that Regi continues to give to our league.