Full size image of plaque
In 1976, Bill Rookley first organized the Niagara Falls Girls High School Hockey League. The league started out with four local schools involved and has now grown to include schools from Fort Erie, Ridgeway, Port Colborne, Welland and St. Catharines.
His commitment made him the driving force behind the growth of the league and his duties included arranging schedules and officiating.
In addition to his organizational wizardry, Rookley found time to be an assistant coach at A.N. Myer from 1968 until 1976, and head coach at Westlane since 1977.
Building on the success of the league, he instituted and organized the McDonald's hockey tournament in 1982. The tournament still runs today and draws teams from Toronto and as far away as Sudbury.
Rookley's involvement in hockey also included coaching a team in the Niagara Falls Minor Hockey system from 1974 until 1980.
His innovative nature extended to the curling rink where, in 1986, he initiated the Little Rocks program which teaches curling to youth age 8 to 14.
In the summer, Rookley coached a midget team in the Greater Niagara Baseball Association from 1964 until 1967 and served as umpire-in-chief for four years in the early 1970's. He was also an original member of the Niagara Oldtimers for 15 years starting in 1979.
Rookley made his presence felt at the Niagara Falls Recreation Commission serving for seven years, including one year as chairman.
Despite all his accomplishments, he will be most remembered for his work with high school girls' hockey. The league would never have existed or thrived without his efforts.
Additional Images & Resources
Click to view a photograph taken at the Induction Ceremony
From the library's image database (click the link to view the full record)
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