Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1973
Canadian 10-pin bowling championship
AMF Bowling World Cup
For some, bowling is a pastime. For Ray Mitchell, it was a passion, and his passion to excel led him to the world championship. Mitchell was born in Peace River, Alberta, to an Irish father and Welsh mother who met in Alberta as homesteaders. The hardships of the Depression forced them and their young son to return to England. Mitchell spent his formative years attending school in Belfast and London, and he excelled in a variety of sports. His father and uncles had been accomplished competitive swimmers. Upon his father's death in 1951, Mitchell and family returned to Canada. He continued to be active in recreational sports, including boxing, badminton, and hockey. In 1951, Mitchell began working for Bell Canada and bowling in the Bell men's 5-pin league. He took up 10-pin bowling recreationally in 1960 and in 1961 joined his first organized league, winning the Toronto team championship and continuing to bowl competitively throughout the 1960s. In 1967-68, he won the Southern Ontario championship and finished third at the Canadian 10-pin championship. He was also part of a five-man team that established a Canadian three-game, five-person record with a total score of 3,385. But it was 1972 that was a magical competitive year for Mitchell. He won the South Eastern Ontario championship before moving on the national tournament and claiming the Canadian championship. That earned him the right to travel to Hamburg, West Germany, and contest the AMF Bowling World Cup, emblematic of the world 10-pin amateur bowling championship. In Germany, Mitchell competed against bowlers from 38 countries. He bowled 59 games over a grueling four days, defeating Loreto Maranan of the Philippines in a tension-filled final to capture the world championship. As the defending champion, Mitchell returned to the Bowling World Cup in 1973, in Singapore. He started well in qualifying but finished eleventh (only the top eight moved on to match play). In his competitive career, Mitchell won 37 sanctioned 10-pin bowling titles. He continued, after his international success, to contribute to bowling. He was a national coach for the Canadian Tenpin Federation, as well as president of the World Bowling Writers and a bowling columnist for the Globe and Mail. He has been recognized as a builder of the sport by Canada's Tenpin Hall of Fame.