History of the MDAi
As Prepared by Kip Morrish
Manitoba became the fourth province to join the newly formed National Darts Federation of Canada in 1978. The man behind Manitoba's involvement was Ed Gray who has since been granted a Lifetime Membership to the N.D.F.C. Ed held the position of Recording Secretary on the N.D F.C. Executive, a position that was eliminated in 1982 to make way for the establishment of a Youth Director and the eventual involvement of our young players to the sport of darts.
One Sunday afternoon in June 1978, twelve dart players congregated with the idea of forming an association, which would become affiliated with the National Darts Federation of Canada. The name given to this organization was the "Manitoba Darts Association". The twelve persons in attendance at the meeting were automatically the official Board of Directors.
With no money available, many raffles were held together with qualifying events to determine which players would go to Toronto to represent Manitoba in the National Championships. The provincial play-offs were held in various venues throughout the city with players traveling between events. We didn't have the money to rent one venue that was big enough for the event; although Manitoba didn't do very much on the dart board they did cause a stir at the National Championships. As the provincial qualifying events were 'open' events, (there being no Ladies Event at that time), one of Manitoba's qualifiers was Doris Atherton (who later moved to BC and who passed away in December, 1996) She was the only female competitor and the national organization hadn't had to deal with this in the past and weren't quite sure what to do with her!
By 1979 Manitoba now had four zones and a total membership of 422. Again, an "open" qualifying event was held to get a team to participate in the Nationals. Plans were underway to form a Ladies Division of the Manitoba Darts Association. Although the ladies could go no further than provincial level, a Provincial Championships was held, and for most this was the first tournament of this magnitude and a little overwhelming to all involved. Manitoba made itself known at the national level. Jack Hamilton won the silver medal placing second to Bob Sinnaeve of Ontario and had an opportunity to travel to London, England to participate in the World Masters.
In 1980 Manitoba became the first province outside Ontario to host a national championship, and the ladies had an opportunity to play to 'national level' only. Representatives from all provinces took part in the First Ladies Board Meeting, which was very productive. The same cannot be said for the men's meeting, which was postponed because many of the participants were inebriated. Thereafter, alcohol has been banned from annual general meetings. A few ladies who are still around and who attended that meeting are Lee Richardson (now AB but then represented NS), Amy Earle (NF). Jo Stoyles (NS) and Kip Morrish (MB) (if anybody has been forgotten, forgive me, my memory is not as good as in 1980.
Darts was finally recognized as a sport in Manitoba in 1982 and thus the organization became known as the Manitoba Darts Association Inc. The men's and ladies executives were united and our membership soared to 552. Arnold Parke won the Men's Singles at the National Championships held in St. John's Newfoundland and went to England to play in the World Masters.
In 1987 Manitoba again hosted the National Championships as well as the #7 Darts Classic held at the Winnipeg Canoe Club - again the first time this event was held outside Ontario.
Unfortunately in early 1988 we lost a very valued member of our association, Lou Rea had been involved with the M.D.A.I. in some capacity or another since the beginning, and at the time of her passing she was the Manitoba Provincial Director. To honor this lady, an N.D.F.C. sanctioned tournament, namely the 'Lou Rea Memorial Darts Classic' is held in Winnipeg each October.
The last fifteen years have been marked with membership drives and lots of outstanding darts. Manitobans have excelled in the sport on a national level bringing home several national titles in both adult and youth. Many tournaments have been well attended with a lot of new talent joining the M.D.A.I.
2008 N.D.F.C. Canadian Nationals in Winnipeg
In 2006 the M.D.A.I. put in a bid to host the 2008 Nationals in Winnipeg - the bid was accepted and many months of hard work began. Countless hours were spent in organizing, negotiating, construction, and fundraising. In the end all the hard work paid off and in the summer of 2008 Manitoba hosted the Adult and Youth Nationals to many accolades and praise. It was a crowning acheivement in M.D.A.I. history.
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers over many years, too numerous to mention individually, Manitoba feels that it is one of the best organized associations within the N.D.F.C.