Sib Brodeur – 1909-1991

‘Sib Could Stick Handle in a Wash Basin.’

Sib Brodeur is remembered as a gentle man in a rough sport. He played in the Ontario Hockey Association from the 1920’s through to the 1950’s. Although small in stature he prospered at many levels in Simcoe County, using a mixture of clean play and talent. Brodeur was known as a smooth stickhandler, a deft passer, a goalscorer, and an swift skater. “You couldn’t hit what you couldn’t catch,” says his son. Tom Brodeur. -He could stop on a dime and leave you with nine cents change.” Scotty Carmichael. the founder of the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame, at the time of Sib’s death, in 1991, called him “the best player to come out of Midland.” Brodeur was born in 1909 in Waubaushene. His birth certificate read Thomas Gilbert, but he was later called “Sib,” a corruption, probably, of “Gib.” He began his competitive hockey career in the OHA, competing as a junior player for teams in Orillia, Coldwater, and Midland. In 1927, he played for the Midland Shipyards club, winners of the town hockey league’s John L. Craighead Cup. At 22. he helped the Midland Intermediates win the 1931 OHA group championship for the Georgian Bay district. When the team was named British Consols, in 1935, he remained the district’s finest centre. He was the igniter between wingers Aub Grant and Harold Thayer. “Sib could stickhandle in a wash basin,” said Norm Whitney, a defenceman who played against him and was later his teammate in Orillia. Brodeur helped the 1935-36 Consols reach the Ontario Intermediate A semi-finals. In a fierce total-goal series, Midland lost 7-6 to the Oshawa Chevies. Three years later, in 1939, Waubaushene player-coach Ty Arbour, Sib’s uncle, convinced the hometown boy to also play for the village’s intermediates. Waubaushene won the rural Georgian Bay Hockey League championship and the Ditchburn Trophy. Brodeur, ever-dependable, scored twice in the final game including in overtime to defeat Orillia Aces 4-2. By then Sib was raising a family with the former Ida Bellamy, and operated Brodeur’s Home Bakery in Victoria Harbour. They had six children: daughters Fran and Barbara. and sons Tom, John, Doug, and Jim. After playing senior hockey in Collingwood, Sib returned to Midland in 1943, and excelled for Midland intermediate teams such as the Shamrocks, Shipbuilders and Commandos. Brodeur was with provincial semi-finalists Orilli a Senior Bombers in 1948-89, before joining the Midland Intermediate Flyers and then ending his OHA tenure in 1951 after the team was renamed the Penetang-Midland Flyers, and competed as a senior. Until he was 67, Sib skated in oldtimers’ and charity games. In 1978. Brodeur, who had played at Midland Arena Gardens since 1931, dropped the puck to officially open the Midland Centennial Arena which replaced it. Sib returned to his seat and watched as the first goal in the new building was scored by his grandson, Pat Brodeur.