click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games     |     click here to view current games

OHA MOURNS THE LOSS OF MEL WAKABAYASHI

Chatham Sports Hall of Famer passed away at the age of at age 80 this week

Cambridge, ON – Mel was a Canadian-Japanese right-handed shooting centerman, who played for the 1964 NCAA champion Michigan Wolverines hockey team. He was also named Player of the Year in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 1966. He went on to play 11 seasons in the Japan Ice Hockey League and to coach the Japan men’s national ice hockey team at international competitions, including the 1980 Winter Olympics. After his hockey career ended, Wakabayashi became the President of Seibu Canada. In 2001, Wakabayashi was selected by the WCHA as one of the Top 50 Players in 50-year history of the conference. He was also inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 2006.

Wakabayashi was the son of Japanese-born parents who lived in Vancouver, British Columbia. During World War II, his parents were placed in a Japanese-Canadian internment camp at Slocan City, British Columbia. It was at the barren internment camp at Slocan City that Mel was born.

Along with thousands of other Japanese-Canadian families, the Wakabayashi family was moved to a second internment camp in Northern Ontario shortly after Mel was born. When Mel’s brother, Osamu “Herb” Wakabayashi (also a hockey star), was born in December 1944, the family was living in the Neys, Ontario internment camp on the northern shore of Lake Superior.

In 1950, the family moved to Chatham, Ontario, where Mel grew up with his seven siblings. He excelled in both hockey and baseball, playing junior hockey with the Chatham Maroons and baseball for the Ontario Baseball Association championship team. As a youth, Wakabayashi was a baseball teammate of Chatham native and future Baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins.

For more information click here

Share This Article

OHA YOUTUBE