Paul Mitchell helped build basketball in Brantford

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A Brantford man whose name is synonymous with basketball in the city has died.

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Paul Mitchell died Friday afternoon, according to a Facebook post from a family member.

In 1956, Mr. Mitchell, along with Reverend Harvey Roach, co-founded the Catholic Youth Organization’s basketball program, which continues today.

The Paul Mitchell Invitational Basketball Tournament, one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious men’s basketball competitions, is named after him.

Mr. Mitchell was inducted into the Brantford Sports Hall of Recognition in 1993.

According to the gym’s website, Mr. Mitchell learned to play basketball at the Brantford YMCA at the age of seven.

He was a basketball referee for 36 years and head of the local referee association for more than 20 years. He served on the executive of the Ontario Association of Basketball Officials for 12 years, including a term as president from 1980 to 1982.

He has also been a member since its inception of the Canadian Association of Basketball Officials and served on the organization’s international equivalent for 20 years.

The Canadian Association awarded Mitchell the JA (Wink) Willox Award of Merit in 1991 for his contribution to the sport and to his officiating.

In 2015, at age 83, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, created by a local committee to recognize unsung heroes in the community.

Born and raised in Brantford, Mr. Mitchell attended St. Basil’s Elementary School and Brantford Catholic High School, which was the predecessor of St. John’s College.

He was a municipal assessor to the city for 18 years and to the province for 23 years.

He and his wife, Cathy, have three daughters, all of whom have participated in the CYO basketball program.

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