History of the GAA

Written by Ted Pula

Youth Sports in Granby began during what many people feel was the golden age of baseball. It was in 1957 when Willie, Mickey and the Duke ruled the American and National leagues from New York City. The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite and the United States entered the space race by selecting the Project Mercury astronauts. The Cold War was in its 12th year and the Boston Celtics had just defeated the St. Louis Hawks for their first NBA championship.

Against the backdrop of significant world events, a group of civic minded citizens began planning organized sports for the boys of Granby. A ballpark was constructed with a coordinated effort from volunteers and much needed assistance from the Granby Highway Department. During the initial two years (1957 and 1958), a little league with four teams comprising various sections of town competed for bragging rights. The ballpark was located at the corner of West and Crescent St. Initial sponsorship came from the Granby Lions Club and local businesses. Mr. Warren Cooke, who still resides in Granby was one of the initial coaches along with Jerry Archambault, Bill Jubinville, Russ Marcotte, Art Lempke, Rod Hartbarger and Henry Ziomek.

By the 1959 season, the coaches formed the Granby Athletic Association for the sole purpose of providing organized sports for the town’s boys. Mr. Henry Ziomek was elected as the first president of the fledgling organization with Warren Cooke as vice-president. Several of the previously mentioned coaches filled the positions of secretary and treasurer. It should be noted that Henry Ziomek was an active member of the board of directors for nearly five decades and his involvement and leadership was invaluable.

Once the GAA baseball leagues were firmly established, including a 13-15 Babe Ruth baseball league, soccer, basketball and wrestling leagues soon followed. By the early 1970's, additional baseball fields were needed to keep up with the increased participation. The Dufresne family had generously donated the land which the town accepted and subsequently named the Dufresne Recreation Area along route 202. Several baseball fields were built and the little leaguers had room to both play and practice. These fields are presently used as are newer fields located at the Brown-Ellison Park on Carver St.

Over the years, there have been hundreds of dedicated, caring citizens who have contributed of their time and talent for the kids of Granby. It should also be noted that the friars at St. Hyacinth contributed playing facilities and coaching expertise for youth baseball and basketball for over a quarter of a century. Although the sports programs were started for boys, many girls have played in all GAA-SPONSORED sports (especially after Title IX). Presently, the GAA offers baseball, soccer, basketball and wrestling. With the support of future generations, the GAA is committed toward providing quality programs which will inspire a youngster’s love of sports and teamwork for at least another 50 years and beyond.