KEN PETER: A PROBLEM-SOLVING PATH, FROM SPAD TO PHYSIOTHERAPY
Written by Randy Pascal, SPAD 1985
The lessons learned during the time one commits to the study of Sports Administration can be as wide and varied as the personalities who comprise the program’s impressive list of alumni.
Those same lessons are also, quite often, life-long in nature, helping to navigate the circuitous routes that we sometimes travel.
Physiotherapist and 1980 SPAD grad Ken Peter is a testament to just that.
“The most important thing for me, from my time at Laurentian, was the idea of developing a structured path to problem solving,” said the 62 year-old father of two. “That came in part from that whole third year of commerce (what was then “core” year), but even the case studies that we would do in SPAD and the placements that we would have would allow us a chance to work in those concepts.”
Where some newcomers to the program incorporate the “sport” component of the program name, extremely athletically inclined from birth, others capture far more of the “administration” portion. “When I was young, I was always like the GM of a hockey team, that kid who was working on analytics in the 1980s,” said Peter.
“I would have depth charts of NHL teams up in my bedroom.”
Working for Marks and Spencer for just one year following his graduation, the native of Port Colborne and resident of Mississauga would find his way by continuing his education at the University of Toronto, successfully completing his certification in physiotherapy. Still, the lessons learned in Sudbury lurked in the background.
“Even in physio, in medicine, it’s all problem solving,” said Peter.
Like so many in the group that binds us all, the young man who would find a bride at L.U. (marrying a registered nurse – Audrey Bell) would seldom sway too far away from the sporting passion of his youth.
Years ago, as he and a partner sought to make a name for their up and coming practice, Peter circled back to a base that he knew best. “We thought the best way was to develop some high profile sports clientele,” he said. Working through both Raptors Executives at the time Glen Grunwald and Isiah Thomas, the physiotherapist tandem would be assigned to work with the Raptors, providing physical assessments for the 1995 draft, the team’s inaugural draft.
“They brought in all of the guys that they were thinking of drafting and they wanted us to do some sort of physical evaluation of them. We came up with a series of tests, and the guy that we recommended was Damon Stoudamire.” With the seventh overall pick that year, the Raptors selected Stoudamire.
These days, Peter gets at least as much satisfaction in helping young aspiring physiotherapists work their way up the ranks – and the wisdom that comes with age.
“The athletes I first treated, I am now treating their kids” – and solving their problems on the side.
(a few years back, Ken Peter and friends organized the “Bean Memorial Golf Tournament”, an event commemorating the passing of LU graduate and varsity hockey player and friend Peter O’Boyle)