Their team name evokes a group of comical buffoons, or a manic 1970s punk band, but The Stooges of Hamilton are a gold medal winning basketball squad that dominated their international opponents en route to a World Masters Games title.
Winning the gold medal game by 38 points, and averaging margins of 20-points over their competition throughout the tournament, The Stooges didn’t play like punks or buffoons as they romped their way to an undefeated record in seven games.
Jude Kelly, who grew up on Hamilton Mountain and went to Westmount High School before becoming an All-Canadian basketball player at Brandon University in the early 1980s, said The Stooges’ unrivaled performance in Torino, Italy, shows how strong amateur basketball is in the City of Hamilton.
The entire experience left them thinking their hometown would be a great venue for a future edition of the World Masters Games.
“Hamilton has always been known for producing competitive basketball players,” Kelly said.
In addition to Hamilton Mountain’s Kelly, there is Stoney Creek high school teacher Brian Fuller, who played his university basketball at McMaster; Hamilton police officer Barry Mungar of Dundas, a former Canadian National Team member who played in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, was an NCAA Atlantic 10 Conference All-Star with St. Bonaventure and was drafted by the NBA’s Washington Wizards; Frank Lostracco, a realtor in Ancaster who played for McMaster and coached at Mohawk College; and Terry Garrow, a former All-Canadian at University of Manitoba who moved from Ottawa to Hamilton.
For the team that headed to Torino on top of their division in the Hamilton Basketball Association summer league with seven wins and one loss, their dominance was a bit of a surprise.
“We expected it to be more competitive,” Kelly said. “We anticipated the European teams would be good. We completely dominated the tournament.”
The Stooges plan to head to Auckland, New Zealand, to defend their championship at the 2017 World Masters Games.
In the meantime, Kelly said team members plan to approach city councillors to promote the idea that Hamilton put in a serious bid for the event.
“Maybe Hamilton would be a good host for a future games,” he said.
The first summer Masters Games were held at Toronto in 1995 and the event has continued every four years since, travelling to Australia, United States and Demark – and returning to Canada in 2005 at Edmonton. This year’s event was the eighth.
The first winter edition of the World Masters Games was held at Slovenia in 2010 and is scheduled for Turin in 2015.
The World Masters Games reportedly features more competitors than the Olympics, including several former professional and Olympic athletes over the age of 35.