John was born to Bill and Noreen Young in beautiful Parry Sound, Ontario on August 28, 1951. A sister Jane was born five years later. John was raised in Mactier, Ontario. His interest in sports began at an early age, when he would watch his older cousin, Paul Simpson, playing hockey. John and his best friend Gary Lyte would play street hockey on an outside rink on Lake Stewart, with Gary’s younger brother Ronnie in tow. His introduction to organized sports began with good old field day at the Mactier Public School. He loved to compete and excelled at most track and field events, and is still the record holder for a ball throw, 296’…
John started his fastball career in Public School, where he had his first perfect game, 27 outs, and 26 by strike out and caught a pop fly for the 27th out. John didn’t just want to play fastball, he wanted to pitch. John’s uncle Aubrey Allsop, a Bobby Orr Hall of Fame inductee and the coach and owner of the team, thought this was quite funny, as most of the players on the team were five years older than him. John, being the determined sort, practiced his pitching, enticing anyone he could into catching for him, including his father, Bill, friends Gary Lyte, Mike Brawley, and Cousin Paul. Living in Mactier was a huge blessing and advantage. Being a Rail Road town with city wages and country costs meant that Mactier was the first in the area to have a lit ball field, arranged by Uncle Aub, and hockey and curling rinks with artificial ice. John was entrusted with keys to the curling club, ball field lights, hockey arena and the school, in order to practice, something that just wouldn’t happen today. In 1964, the Mactier Fastball team won the All Ontario Jr. C Fastball Championship. John was a back-up pitcher, but not allowed to travel to Binbrook for the finals, as his mother thought he was too young, having just turned 13.
In 1969, with John pitching, his team won the All Ont. Junior Fastball Championship, with the last game held in Mactier. John also won the MVP and batting title, hitting .454.
High School sports included winning a Wrestling Championship, playing badminton, volleyball, track and field, and playing Junior C Hockey for Alex Eager. In 1970 his High School curling team, including Gary Lyte, Neil Abbott, Mike Brawley, and Tim West, defeated Russ and Glenn Howard twice, to go on and win the Pepsi Trophy in Kingston.
John transferred to Welland High School in his senior year in order to play Senior A Fastball for Welland Dyck Jewelers. This team was put together to compete for a spot in the Olympic Games in Manilla. The final game for this privilege went 3 extra innings before they were defeated by the Richmond Hill Dynes, who went on to win Gold in Manila. After High School, John attended Centennial College in Toronto where his love of sports continued. He played on their Hockey, Badminton, and Volleyball teams, winning Ont. Championships in Badminton and Volleyball. After College John returned to the Orillia area to live and work, where he earned a diploma to work as a Counselor for the developmentally and physically challenged. He also played fastball at every opportunity, joining the Orillia District Sr. Men’s Fastball League, playing with various teams like Brechin, Bracebridge, and Mactier, winning in excess of 20 League Championships and being voted MVP many, many times. In the early 90’s John was presented with a plaque from the Orillia and District Softball League, naming him as the most outstanding pitcher from 1970-1975.
In 1972 John was asked to join the Toronto Globals, a Senior Men’s Fastball team, as a starting pitcher, and was ranked in the top ten every year, including #1, with an ERA consistently below 2. In 1976 John opened John Young Sporting Goods in Bracebridge and operated the store for the next 3 years. John had developed a love for another sport, golf, and in 1979 decided to make his love of golf into a profession and became the Assistant Golf Pro at Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Carling. In 1988, John was asked to join a Sr. Men’s Fastball team that was playing in the World Fastball Championships in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Teams from all over the world participated, including the United States, Czechoslovakia, Aruba, England, Denmark, Germany, Holland, and Dutch Antilles. For the next 12 years John traveled to Europe every June to play fastball, 10 years with the Canadian team, and for two years, when the Canadian team did not participate, John was picked up by the Dutch team. The success of the Canadian Team in Holland was phenomenal, in that they won the Championship a total of 8 times. During these trips to Europe, not only did John play fastball, but he also held pitching clinics for the adults and kids. John played on many Provincial Champion Fastball Teams over the years and won trophies and awards too numerous to mention, including three All Ontario Championships won while playing and coaching the Bracebridge Bucks, of which he is very proud. Not only did John have much success in fastball, he also was an excellent hockey player. He began his organized hockey career playing Peewee in Mactier. John’s leadership ability was recognized by his Pee Wee coach Eric Shaw, making him Assistant Captain and naming him MVP. In the late sixties, John played Junior C for Alex Eager and after that Jr. A in Welland until an injury ended the season. John scouted the rest of that winter for the Buffalo Sabres. In the late 70’s, he also played Sr. B for the Bracebridge Bears and Sr. A. for the for the Barrie Flyers in 1980 with Gary and Ron Lyte until a knee injury ended his hockey career.
John coached his son Jeff’s minor hockey team in Humphrey, the Humphrey Hawks. He was also the General Manager for the newly formed Gravenhurst Jr. C. Indians in the mid-seventies. John’s hockey now consists of cheering for the Leafs, now that Bobby is retired, and sponsoring the Seguin Jr. A. Bruins. As well as sports, John is also an accomplished musician and singer. He started learning from his father at the age of 4 and joined his father’s band at the age of 12. He played with many friends and formed various bands. In 1976 he formed the “Muskoka Roads Band”. Members changed over the years, but for the past 12 years it has consisted of Jamey Heidman on Bass, John McIsaac on Drums, and his son, Jeff, of whom he is very proud of, plays piano and the guitar, and also sings and writes his own music.
Back in the late ‘60’s, John was playing as a single musician at the Woodsman Inn in Mactier. Part of his routine included introducing guest at various tables to each other. This one particular night, a gentleman by the name of Lesley Fithian approached him. Having liked what he heard, he invited John to Chicago for an audition. Not sure if he was serious, John suggested that he come back the next day, ‘if he was serious’. To Johns surprise and delight, Fithian did return and John accepted his invitation to audition with Gary Loizzo, the lead singer for American Breed. Their number one hit at the time being ‘Bend Me Shape Me’. Although Loizzo suggested John consider Greenwich Village, John preferred to return home to Canada where he worked on his own material.
John entered the insurance business in 1980, and is now the owner of John Young Insurance Inc., a Co-operators franchise, in Parry Sound, along with his wife Jane and daughter Jennifer. John is also a proud member of the Masonic Lodge as a 32nd degree Mason and is a Director of the Waubano Shrine Club.
John and Jane are delighted grandparents of Jennifer’s three daughters, Lily-Jane, and twins Keira and Lacey. John’s sister, Jane is a Registered Nurse and lives in North Bay, with her two sons Michael and Joseph. Today John’s time is spent with his family and running his business. For recreation he curls in the winter and golf’s in the summer. He looks forward to his golf trip with the ‘guys’ to Myrtle Beach every November and traveling with his wife June whenever time permits. Congratulations John on your Induction into the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame.
John, we salute you.