For over 60 years the Peterborough Petes have been in existence, and in that time there have been a lot of wins, losses, goals for, and goals against, but there is one man who has been keeping track of it all.
Kevin Varrin, who is known as the ‘Petes Historian’, has been keeping track of the Petes’ stats since the late 80s. He said he has been following the team since 1973 when he moved to Peterborough from Oshawa.
“My wife and I had players stay with us, that is how I first really got involved with the Petes,” explained Varrin.
Once Varrin and his wife had children of their own, they stopped billeting players but still attended games.
In the late 1980s , the avid researcher joined Gary Baldwin and Don Barrie to write a book which was focused on the history of the team.
“It was Don Barrie who started it, many, many years ago,” explained Varrin. “He left it in limbo, back in the 80s. So one time Don, Gary Baldwin, and I got together and we decided to get back on it. It was quite a bit of work so we decided we would divide the task.”
The book, titled ‘Five Decades with the Petes’, took readers on a journey back in time to look at each Peterborough Petes game from the very beginning.
“While I was doing research for the book, I was going through game by game so I was keeping track of all the scoring and how they finished at the end of the season,” said Varrin.
Varrin said he would spend time at Trent University in the library looking at old newspaper clippings to collect all of these stats. He also had help from some other sources, including a gentleman by the name of Merlo Banks.
“He used to board players when they first came here many, many years ago. He had quite a collection of stuff. It’s in the Trent University archives,” said Varrin.
Once Varrin compiled all of this information, he then started putting that information into a computer. This was Varrin’s very first computer.
“From there I just kept keeping track of it,” said Varrin.
This computer that Varrin used is now the home of all the Peterborough Petes’ digital stats since 1956 and is updated regularly. If you wanted to know the scores of any game ever played by the maroon and white, you would just have to go through the files and it will all be there. Varrin first started keeping track of this for the sake of the book, but really enjoye d maintaining the database, so he continued with it. He tried newer software systems on new computers, but said he couldn’t quite figure it out and loved the older system he had been using.
“I think the biggest thing is all the Petes’ records,” said Varrin. “The wins and losses, and the streaks. Some of that is very interesting to look back on; I like that kind of stuff.”
Varrin explained that he enjoys looking at some of the interesting stats including how many goals were scored by the Petes in single game. Varrin said this number sits at 16 goals.
Varrin said back in the day, he would be able to recite off all the Petes’ stats that the team had accumulated, but noted that he is thankful he kept track of everything on that computer.
“One of my problems now is I can’t remember it all, so I need that computer,” Varrin explained. “Someone would come up and ask at a game, ‘how many goals did so and so have’, and I would remember but I don’t remember anymore.”
Varrin was so knowledgeable about the team’s stats that he was hired as the official score keeper for the team during the 1995-1996 OHL season. He would keep track of assists, goals, and the players’ plus/minus ratings. This was mandated by the league when players were pushing to get extra points that weren’t deserved.
“If I go back to the time when I started scoring, there were many players who would complain to the refs or linesmen for not being given credit where credit was due,” said Varrin. “One player was quite famous for doing it and some of these players forget we had video replay . Some of these guys, mainly the veterans, would do it. Those years there were rookies who were screwed out of points because the veterans would take points away from them.”
In recent years, Varrin has informed the Petes staff of upcoming milestones in the near future and has done this a few times in the past. Earlier this season it was he who reminded the Petes of their 2,000th regular season home game (February 7), and their 4,000th regular season game (February 9).
Although he no longer tracks the team’s stats, Varrin is always happy to take a call from Petes staffers with any questions as they work to honour the club’s history while building for a prominent future.