About us

History of the Board

The Guelph Board of Approved Basketball Officials came into being in the mid 1960s, when the Kitchener-Waterloo board released the eastern section of their territory. Early officers of the board included Larry Porter, Don Buchan, Mike McKenzie, and Jack Burnett. Approximately 16 members officiated at the three high schools in Guelph, as well as high school games in Elora, Fergus, Palmerston, Arthur, Mount Forest, Orangeville, Shelburne, Acton, Georgetown, and the OSD in Milton (today E.C. Drury).

During the late 1960s and early 1970s Guelph’s officials also traveled to games in Walkerton, Wiarton, Chesley, Hanover, and Lion’s Head until the Grey Bruce board came into existence. Acton, Georgetown, and E.C. Drury began to play in the Halton Leagues so games there were handled by the boards serving that area.

Today the GBABO handles basketball games played throughout Wellington and Dufferin counties, with club ball and adult leagues now comprising more than 50% of the games. The original Guelph referee wore a cotton broadcloth striped shirt, black pants, and canvas Converse shoes. In 1972, the IAABO blue and grey uniform with black leather shoes was adopted. Today our officials are decked out in the CABO grey and black uniform.

In March 1975 the GBABO applied to become an IAABO board, and membership as a charter board was received in 1976. Guelph then became known as IAABO Board 212. Being an IAABO board encouraged the executive to send representatives to the IAABO seminars, which in turn led GBABO to focus its meetings on education rather than purely business. This approach has raised the level of our officiating over the years, and has enabled a number of our members to achieve provincial recognition for their work on the court.

During the late 1970s, as FIBA rules were adopted by the OWIAA, Guelph was the site of a number of “training camps / tournaments” where officials from around the province came to learn new rules and mechanics. Ron Foxcroft was instrumental in helping with those training sessions. In 1980, when the first development camps were started in preparation for the Canada Games in 1981, Guelph had two officials, Frank Cecchetto and Mike McPhee, selected to advance.

At subsequent camps over the years, Guelph officials have demonstrated a high skill level, and a number have been promoted to work on various university and college panels and at national tournaments. We are very proud of the achievements our officials have made over the years. Since its beginning as a board, the GBABO has been diligent in attending the OBABO / OABO annual meetings and seminars, and we were gratified to be able to host the 2002 Seminar in Guelph.

The Seminar and AGM weekend is certainly one of the highlights of our 35+ years as a board, and we hope it will be a jumping off point for even greater accomplishments. In recent years, the GBABO has participated in the annual Board Presidents’ meeting held each May. These meetings are a valuable way for the presidents of all boards in the province to come together to learn and share the events across Ontario. It is through the networking at the OABO Annual General Meetings, held in late September, as well as these president meetings, that the officials across the province continue to strive for the best service to our clients and a consistency in officiating.

GBABO representatives have been called upon to assist in Ontario Basketball championship tournaments as well as participate in and supervise at OFSAA championships. It is through the hard work and dedication of our members that this recognition has been earned. The GBABO is proud of its history and of its reputation as a member in good standing of OABO, CABO, and IAABO. We are committed to providing quality officials well into the future.

What People are saying about being an official…

There are many benefits to officiating. It is a way to give back to the community and provides a unique opportunity to positively influence young people.


Basketball is a tremendous sport that can be officiated for a lifetime.  Many referees are former players whose passion for the game didn’t end when their playing careers did. 


It helps develop interpersonal skills and sharpens one’s judgment skills. You must make instantaneous decisions, handle pressure, and resolve conflicts. 


If you would like more information on how to become an official please add your contact details below.