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Canada Cup founder, horse-racing ‘icon’ Glen Todd dies

Todd remembered for love of horses, and for growing softball in Surrey and beyond
Glen Todd, founder of the Canada Cup International Faspitch Championship, speaks to Team Canada prior to the 2009 tournament. (File photo)

Glen Todd, the founder of the Canada Cup softball tournament and one of the country’s most successful race-horse owners, has died.

Todd, who was also the longtime president of White Rock Renegades girls fastpitch organization and is the winningest owner in Hastings Racecourse history, passed away Saturday, according to a social-media post from the East Vancouver horse-racing track.

“Glen played a giant role in British Columbia’s thoroughbred racing industry, whether as an owner of hundreds of racehorses in recent years, or as a business leader in providing direction, insight and vital influence over the ongoing sustainability of the industry,” reads a post on Hastings Racecourses’ Facebook page.

“Glen’s passion and commitment to the industry – and the people within it – was unparalleled and will be sorely missed.”

Soon after news of Todd’s passing began to spread, tributes began to roll in on social media, with fellow thoroughbred owners and those in the horse-racing community referring to him as both a “legend’ and an “icon” in the sport.

Todd’s parents met at Hastings Park in 1939, and he grew up around the sport; he was involved in thoroughbred racing for nearly 60 years and owned and trained hundreds of horses both in B.C. and Kentucky though his company, the North American Thoroughbred Race Horse Company.

He also owned the horse-racing themed Derby Bar and Grill in South Surrey - where photos of many of his winning horses line the walls - and worked for decades in the customs brokerage industry.

He was similarly influential and important to the Semiahmoo Peninsula softball community. In addition to founding the Canada Cup, he was the head coach of the first-ever White Rock Renegades team in 1986.

He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, and is also a member of the Softball BC, Softball Canada and World Baseball Softball Confederation halls of fame. The WBSC hall of fame – which welcomed Todd in 2016 – has 249 members from 38 different countries, but less than two dozen inductees are Canadian, putting the longtime South Surrey resident in elite company.

Upon his WBSC induction, Greg Timm – the current Renegades president who also took the Canada Cup reins from Todd a number of years ago – told Peace Arch News that Glen was, “in the words of the WBSC president who presented him with his plaque and his ring, ‘one of the most influential builders of international softball ever known.’”

“It’s a huge, huge thing. It’s the biggest award you can bestow on a softball person in this world,” Timm continued.

Todd, however, deflected most of the praise onto the legion of volunteers and other softball staff that helped him build up both the Renegades – arguably the most successful girls fastpitch association in Canada – and the Canada Cup tournament.

“It’s a big honour, no doubt about it, but I receive it on behalf of all of those people,” he said at the time. “It would’ve never happened without them, so this was a recognition of not just me, but of so many people in the community who have helped.”

Todd was also quick to help others, often at his own expense. So invested was he in the continued success and viability of Hastings Racecourse, during the pandemic he provided the business with a $1-million interest-free loan to keep the doors open, people employed and to keep race purses funded.

“Without Glen Todd, I’m not sure Hastings Racetrack is still running,” Brook Ward, a longtime Vancouver sports broadcaster, wrote on Twitter Sunday.

“Glen was an energetic, generous, passionate, advocate who reversed racing’s decline and paved the way for success going forward,” wrote fellow thoroughbred owner David Milburn.

“Glen your contribution was without equal. You will be sorely missed by all.”

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