Robert Clayton “Bob” Schurman was born in Malden, Massachusetts on December 5th, 1925, the eldest of the late Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Colin Schurman’s four sons. At the age of six, he returned with his parents, Island natives, to Summerside.
Bob was an active participant and a builder of sport. He began participating in sports at an early age, with a particular focus on baseball and hockey. In baseball, he was a tireless catcher, and when it came to hockey, he was a determined goal-tender. He formed an important part of the solid foundation on which the great Summerside baseball teams of the post-World War II era were built. Those teams won the provincial championship for five consecutive seasons (1947 through 1951), and were maritime finalists for those same five seasons, winning the maritime championship in 1948, 1949 and 1950.
His hockey career as a goal tender began with his school team and continued with the Summerside Crystals for the 1941 to 1945 and the 1947-48 seasons. The team won the Island championship on two occasions during those seasons and were Inter-Provincial finalists as well. Bob was backup goalie for the Moncton Hawks during the 1946-47 season. The Hawks were the Maritime senior hockey champions, and reached the second round of the Eastern Canadian Allan Cup finals.
Bob Schurman retired from the hockey scene as an active player after his 1947-48 campaign to enter the field of broadcasting, but continued as an active ball player through the 1950 season, after which he enjoyed golf as a low handicapper.
It is no great exaggeration to say that Bob Schurman was second to none as a catcher and goal tender on P.E.I. during his playing days. But those who knew him in his broadcasting career, which spanned nearly a quarter century, will agree that he shone even brighter as a supporter and builder of all sports.
Bob’s radio broadcasting career began in 1947 at the R. T. Holman Limited-operated CHGS Summerside, and when station CJRW was established in November of 1948, he became Chief Announcer. He was promoted to Program Director, Assistant Manager, General Manager and in 1958 President and General Manager.
His voice became recognizable to all through his many tireless hours of sports reporting and broadcasting of play-by-play in hockey and baseball in particular. He was the first to broadcast a Charlottetown Islanders Hockey game. This historic broadcast took place in 1950, when the team re-entered the Maritime Big Four Hockey League with Murph Chamberlain at the helm. He was the first to broadcast bowling on Prince Edward Island, as well as baseball, following the Summerside Junior and Intermediate teams in league and playoff competition. He also covered boxing, curling and harness racing. Because of his efforts along these lines his station, CJRW, established itself as a leader in the promotion and betterment of sport in Prince Edward Island.
Bob Schurman also took the time to be connected with sport at the executive level. He managed the Summerside Curran and Briggs Juniors, Maritime Baseball champions in 1950. He was manager of a number of Summerside hockey teams in the mid ’50s, President of the Prince County hockey loop in the early ’60s and Vice-Chairman of the Summerside Community recreation commission in the mid ’60s.
His great talents of being able to put words together and then sound them in his melodious voice, became recognizable, and he was called upon to be master of ceremonies at almost each and every function that was staged in Summerside and area, be it a sporting event or otherwise. Even after entering provincial politics in 1970, which demanded countless hours of his time and devotion, Bob Schurman still was happy to assist, and was master of ceremonies at the Summerside Lobster Carnival Celebrity Dinners since their inception in 1960.
Bob’s teammates, associates and friends saw fit to pay tribute to him and to two of his colleagues with a testimonial dinner in their honour, October 31, 1971. In response to a citation read at that dinner, he said, “This is a night to greet and remember old friends.”
Bob Schurman passed away in January 1973; however, he has left an indelible mark in the annals of Prince Edward Island Sport, and his memory serves as an inspiration to others who work for the betterment of sports in this province.
The biography of Bob Schurman from the canadian Communications Foundation can be found at http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/index3.html
Updated: July 2009
Updated: July 2013
File Contains: copy of charcoal drawing, copies of news clippings, 1955 photo of him and Norm Macdonald on roller skates, biography, framed photo, composites, Curran and Briggs baseball jersey, 1947 Big Four booklet, memorial trophy, baseball glove (on display), appears in picture of 1949 Curran and Briggs team