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ICYMI: Every Thursday night men flock to Thorold to play darts

The Thorold Dart League has been going strong for over six decades; 'Some of our guys actually represent Team Ontario and Team Canada'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A version of article was originally published by ThoroldToday on February 17.

For the past six decades, every Thursday night, men from all over Niagara gather at the Legion, Bezo’s, the Canadian Corps, Cracker Jacks, Club Belvedere and Harry’s New York Bar, to play a few rounds of darts.

The games are part of the Thorold Dart League, which has been going strong since the 1960s.

“It’s the same group of guys — it's like a night out,” says Manny DiSilva, who sits on the league’s executive committee. “Because of the camaraderie and the team aspect of it, some of the guys have been around for 40 or 50 years.”

Since the sport is played indoors, the league is active from the fall until the spring.

“There's 18 teams in the league right now, so you play everybody once,” DaSilva says. “So it would be 17 regular weeks, plus there's five tournaments throughout the year: singles and doubles and a team tournament. After that, there's playoffs.”

Every year, the league also organizes a banquet where awards for the top players are handed out.

Each dart team consists of around eight players.

“Some of the teams over the years, they've gotten some of the stronger players that are really good at it,” says DaSilva. “Some of our guys actually represent Team Ontario and Team Canada, and then they go on to play in tournaments internationally. So, Thorold's got some talent.”

Because the league gathers at bars, participants have to be of legal drinking age, but DaSilva says that the league attracts players of all ages.

“There is a youth dart program in the Niagara district that some of our guys help to run,” he says. “They start when they're young, and they get really good. Then by the time they're of age to play in the men's league, you know, they're quite accomplished players.”

The secret to getting good at darts is muscle memory, according to DaSilva.

“It's a repetitive thing,” he says. “If you can shoot what you're aiming at on a regular basis, you're gonna be very consistent.”

DaSilva has been a member of the league for 44 years, but he’s not the longest-standing player by far.

“We’ve got some guys that are in their nineties, believe it or not,” says DaSilva. “I think the oldest guy in the league right now is 93, and he comes out on a regular basis and plays with his son.”

While participants do take the game seriously, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun.

“For the most part, it's a recreational thing,” says DaSilva. “Just a night out with the fellas.”

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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