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Joe Shea Concludes His Service to Little League International Board of Directors

Joe Shea

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Dec. 13, 2005) – More than 45 years ago, Joe Shea brought his love of children and baseball north to his native Canada where he has served as president of Little League Canada since 1975, and recently completed his term on the Little League International Board of Directors.

Mr. Shea and Little League Baseball and Softball have enjoyed a rich and rewarding relationship that began with him volunteering to coach a local Little League team in State College, Pa., during his college days in 1955.

Holding a seat on the Little League International Board of Directors since 1975, Mr. Shea, 70, was appointed Canada Regional Director at the annual board meeting in November.

“I tried to be the voice representing Canada and the international Little League programs,” Mr. Shea said. “International teams were excluded from participating in the Little League World Series in 1975, and I was really trying to look after the international aspect of Little League.”

Mr. Shea was born in Toronto, and attended Penn State University, graduating in 1958 with a degree in petroleum engineering. He and Beverly, his wife of 33 years, have two children, Ron and Kylene.

Moving to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1959 and taking a job with Continental Oil subsidiary Hudson’s Bay Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Shea continued to serve Little League as a coach and local league volunteer with Hardisty Little League. In 1964, he moved to Calgary, and was elected as a District Administrator in 1971. In 1972, he officially joined the Little League Baseball organization as a founding director of Little League Canada. Mr. Shea continues to work as an engineering consultant.

Joe Shea, third from left, president of Little League Canada, is joined by Joe Losch, far left (Little League International senior vice president), Roy Bergerman, second from left (a district administrator and treasurer for Little League Canada), and Chuck Bailey, far right (Canada Region assistant tournament director), in Vancouver, British Columbia, following announcement that Vancouver will be the site of the 2006 Canada Region Little League Baseball Tournament.

Joe Shea, president of Little League Canada, poses with the members of the Rotary Little League team from Rouyn, Quebec, that represented Canada in the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series while visiting the 2005 Canada Region Little League Baseball Tournament in Timmins, Ontario.

“I tried to get more input from field directors and for that I feel the board has evolved quite well over these 30 years,” Mr. Shea said. “My love is still the grassroots program, because it is so important that kids just play ball.”

Such motivation prompted the creation of Little League Canada. In the beginning, field construction, improved training resources for coaches and umpires, and organization of the Little League programs throughout the country were primary goals.

“Little League Canada has always been focused on showing that Little League is an international program with a Canadian identity,” Mr. Shea said. “Part of the reason I’ve stayed on as president was to see the growth of Little League Canada in all divisions of baseball and softball.”

Mr. Shea said the Canadian Little League championship has grown into a major event and that teams representing Canada in the World Series have been good ambassadors for Canada. “I’ve always been proud of our Little League World Series teams,” he said.

In 2001, Mr. Shea, Little League Canada, and Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, welcomed Little League volunteers from around the world to the 22nd Little League International Congress – the only Congress to be conducted outside of the United States. Mr. Shea served as Congress chairman, and later that year was presented the Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award during the annual Little League Baseball World Series, in Williamsport, Pa.

Mr. Shea formally retired from the Little League International board of directors in November. His current term as president of Little League Canada will end in two years.

During his three decades as an international board member, Mr. Shea has worked with former Little League International presidents Peter J. McGovern and Dr. Creighton J. Hale, and current Little League President and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen D. Keener. Throughout his experiences, Mr. Shea came to discover Little League is an outstanding organization and he is proud of its leadership.

“Mr. McGovern, Dr. Hale and Steve all have done a tremendous job,” Mr. Shea said. “For me, Little League Baseball used to be a relatively brief summer activity after the hockey season ended, and now it keeps me involved year-round. I am so appreciative of the quality of people on the board, to be amongst them, and call them friends.”