Local softball builder to enter national Hall of Fame

When Robb Andison moved to Whitehorse 30 years ago, he “fell in with what you’d call the right crowd.” The softball crowd.

When Robb Andison moved to Whitehorse 30 years ago, he “fell in with what you’d call the right crowd.” 

The softball crowd.

“They took me out one day and the rest is history,” said Andison.

Three decades after his first visit to the Whitehorse diamonds Andison is being honoured with a spot in the halls of greatness.

Andison, 51, will be inducted in Softball Canada’s Hall of Fame, the sport’s governing body announced last week.

“It totally caught me right off guard,” said Andison. “There are a whole lot of others out there who are more worthy than me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to accept it humbly and move on. I really appreciate being nominated by Softball Yukon and getting the award from Softball Canada.”

Andison, who was born in Mayo, raised in Elsa and has lived in Whitehorse since 1985, is one of five inductees this year with three from B.C. and one from Alberta. He will be formally inducted at Softball Canada’s congress and annual general meeting this November in Whitehorse.

“I was just like, ‘Wow, really? Me? Are you kidding?’” said Andison. “‘What did I do to deserve this?’”

The short answer: lots.

Andison will enter the hall in the builder category with many years of service at the executive level, both locally and nationally. He was Softball Yukon’s executive director from 1994 to 2000 and president from 2000 to 2009.

His induction at this year’s AGM in November brings his years of work full-circle. He was elected to Softball Canada’s board of directors the last time the AGM was held in Whitehorse in 2007.

He has also served in numerous national slo-pitch committees including ones for Canadian championships, revenue, finance and audits.

He has held the title of Team Leader for Canadian teams at the Men’s Slo-Pitch Border Battle — an annual Canada-U.S. competition — since 2009 and has supervised six slo-pitch national championships, including senior men, senior women and junior men.

“He’s been a friend for a long time and he certainly worked with us when he was president, plus prior when he was director of Softball Yukon, and worked well with him while he’s been on Softball Canada’s board,” said Softball Yukon executive director George Arcand.

“He’s, on the local level, put in many, many years. And he’s certainly put in another 10 years on the national level so, yeah, it’s well deserved. He’s been part of the softball scene around here for a long time,” added Arcand, the only other Yukoner in the Hall of Fame, inducted in 2007.

Andison has served as a member of the host committee for three world championships when Whitehorse was home to the 2008 International Softball Federation junior men’s world championship, the 2012 ISF women’s worlds and the 2014 ISF junior men’s worlds. He will reassume host committee duties when the Yukon capital hosts the ISF men’s world championship next summer.

Andison listed some of his personal highlights: “Being on the hosting committees for the three world championship we’ve hosted here. Locally, watching minor ball grow to the point that it’s bursting at its seams. We’re really healthy that way, ” he said. “Nationally, being part of the national board and being able to provide direction and policy … being involved with the national slo-pitch program, being team leader for Team Canada since 2009. That’s a real feather in my cap, something I’m real proud of.”

Andison’s interest in softball sprouted from playing men’s slo-pitch from 1985 to 2001. He started as a catcher and eventually branched out to pitcher and infielder. His induction has nothing to do with his prowess on the field, he said.

“It’s not for my playing ability,” said Andison with a chuckle. “I haven’t played for a number of years. I’ve retired twice. My entire family — both my girls and my wife — play ball now, so I can see myself coming out of retirement pretty soon to play on teams that they’re on. I’m just a little too busy now to be playing.”

The Softball Canada AGM and congress will take place Nov. 10-12 at the Westmark Hotel. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on the Saturday during the awards banquet.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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