NIagara Regional Doubles Advanced programs beginning on sunday, january 21st…to be held at white oaks and niagara academy of tennis
Congratulations to the Niagara Academy of Tennis : 20th Anniversary!
When I first met Peter, I told him it was like meeting tennis royalty … as I imagine a hockey fan would feel if they were introduced to a son of Jean Beliveau.  You see Peter’s father, Robert (Bob) Bedard, is the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open Championships (known better as the Rogers Cup)  – a feat he accomplished three times – and is one of the most highly decorated Canadian tennis players ever.  He was #1 in Canada from 1955-1965, and played Davis Cup from 1953-1961,1967.  He is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame, and he still competes, nationally and internationally, at 85+. 
​Peter is accustomed to seeing honours bestowed on his father, but he was beyond surprised when the tables were turned and he found himself the honoree.  It happens that York University recognizes individuals who significantly contribute to York inter-university sport programs, and then have exemplified the spirit and ideals of York University sports in their professional and community life.  It’s one thing to be a star while a student athlete, but quite another to continue being a standout as a citizen 25 years later.  This year, Peter Bedard was chosen for this very special award and was inducted into the York University Sport Hall of Fame on September 22 2017.

Jane Kravchenko Bedard, Peter’s wife and oft-times partner, was among those paying tribute.  She talked about being smitten at first sight at a tournament in 1990.  Peter was a superb tennis player in many ways and Jane credited being a lefty with some of it, but being a strategist was the greater part.  “As a thinking man, he had an edge when physical abilities were equal.”

Jane recounts Peter’s doubles philosophy in this way : Always keep your partner in the point.  Keep  him out of harm’s way and give him the opportunity to contribute to the best of his abilities.

It was a philosophy that made him a very desirable partner …. and a very successful one.  During five years at York University (1991-1996), achieving an MBA along with doctoral studies focusing on organizational structure, behavior and development, Peter was part of three gold-medal teams and two silver-medal teams.  He won gold in doubles three times, with three different partners.  He was an OUAA All-Star three times, the first player to achieve that distinction.

Jane says Peter always brought out the best in his partners, without adding pressure on them.  “He brought a balance of competitive drive and fun …. an ideal combination.  And his passion for the game was infectious with younger players, making Peter an effective mentor.”

The Hall of Fame recognition began with sport and academics, but focused just as much on the years beyond.  Asked to recount a special memory, Jane said that every day of their 25 year marriage has been special.  “It’s rare that you can look forward to seeing the same person every single day.” She goes on to say, “Peter’s best quality is that he always puts family first : he shows up when you want him to, but also when you need him to.  I love that he can be both the smartest and the goofiest guy in a room; one minute he’ll be having a heady conversation with a client; the next, an absurd dialogue with the cats.”

Putting family first often involves playing tennis together.  The Bedards are the poster image for tennis as a family game and a game for life.  In the Niagara Tennis League this fall, one of the six teams featured four Bedards among its eight players : Peter, Jane, Tanner and Cole.  [Satchel is away at the University of British Columbia; otherwise it would have been five.]  Peter said “This is what tennis has been for my whole life : every team since I was a child …. me and my brothers and my parents, then Jane and now our kids.  It’s the best!”  Among those family highlights would have to be four – yes, four! – USTA Senior Father-Son Championships for Bob and Peter.

Twenty years ago, Peter founded his company People First.  They help good leaders become better leaders, and they model teamwork, respect, transparency and integrity.  They help entrepreneurial companies execute their best strategy to support growth and adapt to change.  Jane has watched her husband work behind the curtain through all the years – encouraging, advising, coaching – helping everyone achieve their goals.  It sure felt good to see him brought into the spotlight for an evening of appreciation and admiration.

We’re extremely fortunate to have Peter and Jane and their family here as part of our Niagara Tennis Community.  Their example and their enthusiasm bring positive energy to every encounter, whether on court or in discussion.  

Peter’s strength lies in developing healthy, successful relationships …. on the court, at home and at work with People First.  As Niagara Tennis searches for the best way to move forward, Peter’s words resonate :  “Always keep your partner in the point.”  Sounds like good advice to me.

1 Comment

  1. Alastair Millar says:

    Congrats Peter! Well deserved. Peter has been and continues to be a great mentor to me and many others, both on and off the tennis court. Peter has consistently influenced how I try to carry myself and how I try to lead my professional life… Whether he knows it or not! Congrats again Pete! Could still use some work on his backhand though…

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