Growing up in Burlington in the 1970s few young people would have heard of handball and even fewer would have either seen a game or played this demanding game. To play it at the most competitive level one had to go to Hamilton, to the downtown Y.M.C.A. and that's just what Brian Goto did when at a very young age he became consumed by the game of handball.
Brian moved to Burlington in 1968 when he accepted an elementary teaching position. Around this time his prowess in the sport was becoming well known. He won the Hamilton 'Y' Club singles championship 17 times from 1978 through 1999.
He entered tournaments outside Hamilton as well and perhaps his crowning achievements were winning the Canadian Masters Championships in different age categories for 17 national titles between 1983 and 2009. At the World Open Championships, he placed 3rd in 1986, 2nd in 1991, and 2nd again in 1997 in the masters divisions.
Besides the hours spent inside the four walls of a handball court, Brian made another indelible mark on the game of handball. He provided dedicated support and involvement in the developmental side of the sport through coaching, teaching, and administration.
He first began to get involved in junior development work way back in 1977 when he became the Ontario Handball Association Development Director. As well as instructing, offering clinics, and coaching, he wrote a number of manuals, and produced a coaching video, all of which contributed to putting Ontario in the enviable position of having a leading-edge program for young players. In 1983 the Canadian Handball Association appointed him Junior Development Director for Canada which in turn earned him the Canadian Handball Association President's Award of Merit. Since 2002 Brian has been the President of this organization.
Brian never forgot the local youth. Students at his school thirsted for his instruction and the games he organized. He structured tournaments here in Burlington, providing innumerable opportunities for young people in Burlington to play and develop their skills. For over 20 years Brian organized the Golden Horseshoe Handball Tournament. It attracted youngsters as young as 11 and adults from throughout the province and states bordering the Great Lakes. Many Burlington players participated and won their divisions, gratefully acknowledging the outstanding teaching and support given by Brian. Some of his protégés accepted handball scholarships at Memphis State University and achieved All-American status in handball.
His commitment is as intense today as it was back in the '70s. As recently as 2005, Brian was the Chairman of the National Handball Championships that were held right here in Burlington. He is also committed to playing a role in organizing the Nationals which will again be held in Burlington in May of 2010.
Intense competitor; winner of innumerable tournaments; honoured on numerous occasions for commitment and dedication to his sport; a supporter of youth development; Brian Goto exemplifies all that is intended by the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame.