It is impossible to overstate the impact that our next inductee had on Ridley College. Member of the First Cricket team, captain of the football and hockey teams, Mason Gold Medal winner in 1913, elected member of the Board of Governors beginning in 1936 and president from 1963-1967, Hamilton “Laddie” Cassels was a proud and loyal Ridleian for his entire life. Mentored by Harry Griffith, he lived his life in a tradition of sports and sportsmanship. He played varsity football for the University of Toronto Blues, then went on to play for the Toronto Argonauts. He had the unique experience of coaching the Blues in the 1920 Grey Cup final when they defeated the Argos, the team for which he had played only the previous week! He should also be remembered for his actions in the spring of 1966, which helped guide the school’s athletic program in a new direction. Up until that time, rowing was not a Ridley sport, despite the school’s close proximity to the Henley course. As Richard Bradley and Paul Lewis recount in their book, Ridley A Canadian School, “History does not record exactly how or why the president of the board, Laddie Cassels, arranged for the purchase of a boat from the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. It was an ancient and heavy boat that came without oars; some thought Ulysses might have recognized it.” And so began the Ridley rowing odyssey. Ridley is proud to recognize the contributions of Laddie Cassels from the Class of 1913, extraordinary student athlete, loyal steward of the school, and pioneering architect of the Ridley rowing program.
“Looking up at his portrait in the Great Hall, one senses both the gentleman and the sportsman.” Excerpt from Ridley A Canadian School by Richard A. Bradley and Paul E. Lewis.