Mav and Doc were full of Bull

September 24, 2015

I still remember when the Belleville Bulls entered the Ontario Hockey League as an expansion team in 1981 — and subsequently meeting an iconic pair who would become the colourful faces of the franchise.

A grizzled veteran of the rough-and-tumble, minor-pro playing circuit, Larry Mavety was the first-ever coach-general manager of the OHL Bulls.

Seemingly a polar-opposite to the burly, street-smart Mavety, the polished, slightly-built, highly-educated Dr. Robert Vaughan was the president and co-founder of the Bulls.

Over a pair of stints, the now 73-year old Mavety would coach and manage the Bulls for 14 seasons, finally ending his run in 1997 when he took a job with the rival Kingston Frontenacs.

Vaughan would own or co-own the Bulls for more than 25 years before selling his remaining stake in the beloved franchise that he helped found.

While the two were different in so many ways, “Mav” and “Doc” were inseparable when it came to their involvement with, and passion for, the Bulls.

Over so many years, when one thought of the Bulls, there was an immediate — and fond — link to “Mav” and “Doc”, as they were so simply referred to in OHL circles.

Personable individuals, both were easy to talk to, be it on the telephone or in person over a few beers at the annual OHL draft congress, which for years was held in Toronto with headquarters at the Skyline Hotel on Dixon Road.

I still recall checking out of the Skyline one Sunday morning after OHL draft weekend had ended and there were Mav and Doc in the lobby, getting ready to wheel a luggage cart full of empty cases of Molson Light into their waiting vehicle out in the parking lot.

The Bulls, like all OHL teams, rented a hospitality suite during draft weekend at the Skyline. And it didn’t matter who you were — coach from an opposing OHL team or sportswriter from up in Sault Ste. Marie, you were more than welcome to the Bulls suite to sit around and have a beer or two.

As Mav and Doc have left the spotlight of the OHL, sadly the Bulls as a franchise are now no more after 34 years of operation.

With the 2015-2016 OHL season here, the Bulls have relocated from Belleville to become the Hamilton Bulldogs.

In so many ways — ones that really can’t be described with any justice via the printed word — the OHL just won’t be the same without the legendary Bulls.

First it was Mav who left the Bulls. Then Doc.

And now it is the Bulls who are gone.

What you think about “Mav and Doc were full of Bull”

  1. As a long time billet for the Belleville Bulls, we had so many tremendous young men pass through our doors. Belleville has lost one of the few things that carried the Belleville brand outside the city. The last ownership group should be ashamed for the cowardly way they sold the Bulls out from under the city. We have lost a historic and beloved part of Belleville.

  2. Wonderful article Randy! And we can totally empathize with you, Danny Morrison. Right down to your precise choice of words, you have described the identical fate of the North Bay Centennials to a ‘T’.
    Although we never met Doc, we did have occasion to quaff a few beers with Mav and the late Bert Templeton. Those were days in the OHL which I doubt we’ll ever see the likes of again. (Incidentally, Bert bought Doc’s boat, a 32′ cruiser, and moved it from Belleville to Lake Nipissing, where it stayed until Bert left after the ’94 season.)

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