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Hall in the family for Hughes

Posted: 08 May 2009
Source: NewsDurhamRegion.com

Apr 21, 2009 - 12:05 PM By Brian McNair {img:2|right}OSHAWA -- His life may revolve around golf, but Ryan Hughes is particularly interested in hockey these days. The good news is that by the time he enters the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame on May 27, that conflict of interest will have subsided, ideally with a Memorial Cup victory to celebrate along with the induction ceremony. The 38-year-old Oshawa native, who blew away the competition as a golfer with Durham College from 1988-1991, has a rooting interest in the Windsor Spitfires, you see. And it goes well beyond the fact he has lived in that city the past seven years. He and his family have served as billets for the Ontario Hockey League team, specifically this past season for sensational 17-year-old Taylor Hall, who's already being touted as the top prospect for the 2010 National Hockey League draft. It's an arrangement that has worked out extremely well for both, says Hughes, who has two young boys of his own. "It doesn't matter what sports kids are in, you continue to learn from people, regardless of age," Hughes says. "Taylor's 17 years old and I'm 38 and we chat all the time about stuff and continue to feed off each other. I learn from him, he learns from me. And our boys absolutely love it. "He's very mature for his age, very focused, very dedicated," Hughes continues. "We have a lot of fun. We can play mini-sticks in the basement together and then get to watch him play on the ice. He treats my kids as brothers and they treat him the same." Now the professional director of golf at a private course in Windsor, Hughes has experienced many highs and lows in the game of golf. The highs came right here in his hometown, as he won the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association individual gold medal a record four times in a row at Durham College, and also helped the team to its first OCAA title in 1988, a feat that was repeated the next year. He went on to coach the Lords to two more provincial team titles in 1992 and 1995, bringing his total to eight gold medals as a player or coach at the college. The O'Neill Collegiate grad also represented Ontario at the Royal Canadian Golf Association's national junior championships in British Columbia in 1988, as a teammate of Mike Weir. But it was how he dealt with the lows that served him particularly well in discussions with Hall after the young sniper was cut from the Canadian world junior team this year. Although Hall's play seemed to suffer somewhat shortly after that disappointment, he's been a force for the Spitfires in the OHL playoffs. "It's those bumps that make us stronger. We've all been through it. I've been through it in golf," Hughes says. "He's a very passionate kid, loves the sport. He's certainly growing from his experience and that's all you can ask." As for his pending induction, Hughes admits this one will be special, even if it's the third time he's experienced such a thrill. He's already in the Durham College and OCAA halls of fame. "It's always an honour but I think this hits home a little more because this is my hometown and Oshawa has a very special place in my heart," he says.

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