- Inducted in 2011
Luther Vipond (1914 – 1982), a life long resident of Brooklin / Whitby, distinguished himself over a 5 decade period, as an athlete, coach, manager, executive, sponsor, mentor and community builder.
As a lacrosse player, Luther began his career in the early 1930’s playing for Brooklin. Luther was one of the leading players on Brooklin’s Senior B teams of the late ’30’s and early ’40’s. As with many of his contemporaries, Luther’s lacrosse career gave way to the more pressing matters of WW II. He was among the 14,000 Canadians who landed on Normandy’s beaches, on D – Day.
Luther was among the volunteers who erected a new arena in Brooklin. The building was officially dedicated as Whitby Township’s war memorial on November 6, 1949. At the age of 37, he helped lead Brooklin to its first ever OLA championship (Intermediate C). In 1953 Luther retired as a player to assume the role of coach of the Brooklin Broncos lacrosse club and led them to the OLA Intermediate B finals. The following season Luther joined the lacrosse club’s executive, beginning his long involvement with the “off floor” direction of Brooklin’s lacrosse clubs.
In 1954 Luther assumed the role of Brooklin (Whitby Township) arena manager, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1979. Luther was active during these years as a coach of Brooklin minor lacrosse and hockey teams, including the 1955 OMHA Juvenile D champions. Luther, along with 3 of his Senior A lacrosse club executive colleagues, publicly committed themselves to re-establishing minor lacrosse in Brooklin.
During the early 1960’s Brooklin’s Senior A club laid the foundation for its operating model that is still evident nearly 50 years later. It would be a community owned and operated club that would strive to provide an opportunity for the best local players to play at a high level, while providing affordable “family friendly” entertainment for the region’s lacrosse fans. And, importantly the team would maintain a close link to the community through local sponsorship and the support of minor and junior lacrosse in Brooklin and Whitby. No member of the club’s executive better exemplified these principles than Luther Vipond.
The strong foundation created by Luther and his executive colleagues resulted in Brooklin’s rapid ascent to the top of the OLA Senior A division. By 1964 Luther had assumed the additional responsibility of treasurer, a key position on the club’s executive. When the Redmen moved their home games to Oshawa in the 70’s, the void created by the Redmen’s move was, at least in part, filled by the Whitby B & R Transporters. Luther joined other long time local lacrosse builders Lloyd Gibson and Gene Dopp on the B & R executive.
The 1972 season was the last season that lacrosse was played in the glorious old barn in Brooklin. Over its 23 year history this great old rink had been home to 13 OLA and 3 national championship teams. Luther was a member of each of these teams as either a: player, coach, manager, executive or sponsor. In all but one instance (1952), he was also arena manager.
The new Brooklin Memorial Arena opened in 1973. In 1976 Brooklin returned to Senior Lacrosse with Luther assuming his traditional role as club treasurer.