The John Toswell Award committee of the North Bay Granite Club is pleased to announce that they have selected Mike Callahan to be recognized by the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame for his unselfish efforts and energy that has helped to give shape and direction to the sport of Curling in our community. With the cancellation of the Induction and Awards Dinner, Callahan will be presented his award at a later date.
Since 1983 this year’s John Toswell Memorial Award winner has volunteered over thirty-six years to developing and sustaining grassroots junior curling programs both at home and wherever life’s journey has taken him.
While born and raised in the gateway city, a teaching career led this honoree to professional opportunities in Grande Cache Alberta (1983-1985), Marathon Ontario (1985-2003), and back to North Bay in 2003, throughout all of which he maintained a commitment to youth participation in the sport of curling.
Now a retired elementary school principal, Mike Callahan says that he always has and continues to enjoy spending time with next generation curlers.
“Teaching and watching them evolve into future curlers is my passion. I have had the satisfaction of watching many young curlers develop into recreational and competitive curlers. It is my hope that all of these students become lifelong curlers and keep curling alive throughout the world.”
Some of the athletes that Callahan groomed at an early age include two-time Brier participant Andrew Nerpin, 2017 Canadian U18 Girls Curling champion Kate Sherry, and 2019 Northern Ontario U18 Boys Curling champions Team Malcolm O’Bright.
For Callahan, curling has long been a family affair. Not only did he meet his wife Patti amidst the comradery of the roaring game, his sons Tim and Jake have at times been keen participants, as have his in-laws the Burrows family. His mom was a curler, and his dad – Tom Callahan reached the provincial level as a senior competitor. Mike followed in his father’s footsteps when he represented North Bay as Vice-Skip for Team Mark Brown at the 2014 Northern Ontario Senior Men’s Provincial Championship. In honoring their families’ curling roots, relatives annually come together for a traditional Boxing Day curling match at the Granite Club.
While primarily a coach and advocate for junior curling, Mike is no stranger to playing the game successfully himself or to fulfilling executive responsibilities.
Throughout his twenty-six or more years as a member of the North Bay Granite Club, Callahan has finished at the top of several leaderboards including a pair of evening open leagues, the Scott Patterson Memorial League, and is a multiple-time men’s club champion. A lengthy bonspiel resume includes titles from around the province in addition to a recent run to the final at the season-ending Coldwell Banker Bonspiel and several association-level mixed playdown appearances.
Currently the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at the North Bay Granite Club, Mike contributes his volunteer executive experience stemming from years as President of the Grande Cash Curling Club, Marathon Curling Club and the North Western Ontario Curling Association. Callahan has, furthermore, played key roles in a string of major curling events hosted in the City of North Bay. Beyond volunteering with the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship and 2016 Northern Ontario Men’s Provincial Curling Championship, Callahan facilitated banquet services for the 2018 World Women’s Curling Championship and was a timer and scorekeeper at the 2019 Masters Grand Slam of Curling.
“I always hope for ongoing interest and the influx of curlers into the North Bay Granite Club. My wish is that curling continues to grow and encourage people of all ages to be part of this great sport. For me, curling has provided enjoyment and satisfaction on a variety of levels. I have made many lifelong friends through club play, competitive play and teaching juniors. It has been an extreme pleasure to be part of the North Bay Granite Club.”