Siro Martinello was the inaugural President of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association and Manager of Windsor Arena for over 25 years. During his tragically short life, he demonstrated a serious commitment to helping young athletes contribute to the greater community and further their educational dreams.
Martinello was born in Poggiana, in the province of Italian province of Treviso, on May 10, 1933. He passed away on January 27, 1983.
As a young man in the 1950s, Martinello enjoyed a successful athletic career of his own. He flourished in the city’s recreational fastball and basketball leagues, in particular. Memorably, he pitched for the Duplate Glass Intermediate fastball club, which won the Ontario Championship.
Unfortunately, a long struggle with tuberculosis brought Martinello’s days as an athlete to a close in 1958. The illness left him bedridden for over a year.
Unable to play himself, Martinello began to redirect his efforts towards coaching and managing in the 1960s. In 1966, he became the first President of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association, which he had helped to found. He remained in the position for 22 years.
Martinello was also well known for his support of lacrosse and figure staking in Windsor during the 1960s and ’70s. At Windsor Arena, where he was Manager, Martinello was known for his work ethic and generosity.
During his life, Martinello was instrumental in helping many Windsor-Essex youths attend college or university by way of athletic scholarships. His own son, Rick Martinello, attended Notre Dame University on a hockey scholarship.
Martinello died suddenly at the young age of 49. Shortly after his passing, a group of family members and friends gathered together with the common goal of perpetuating Martinello’s name. Soon, the group founded the Siro Martinello Memorial Bursary Fund, a registered Ontario corporation and charitable organization. The fund was designed to honour the memory of one of Windsor’s outstanding citizens by aiding the educational pursuits of deserving Windsor-Essex high school stduents.
As of 2002, the fund had awarded 96 financial bursaries, totaling over $100,000, to students from Windsor and Essex County who elected to pursue a postsecondary education at the University of Windsor or St. Clair College.
In 1983, to commemorate Martinello’s death, some 3,300 boys and girls gave credence to his association’s slogan: “Kids in sports stay out of courts.”