Sault Storm Founder Passes Away

Apparent heart attack claims Jamie Biocchi who was one of the founders of the Ontario Football Conference’s Sault Storm

More than anything, Carlo Iacoe remembers Jamie Biocchi as a man who sparked a football resurgence locally.

Biocchi, one of the founders of the Ontario Football Conference’s Sault Storm in 1993, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack.

He was 47.

“Where the Sault Steelers are today, wouldn’t have been possible without Jamie and his wife, Karen,” said Iacoe, who joined forces with Biocchi, Paul Caldbick and Rob Greve to establish the Storm franchise.

After three years in the OFC, a league for players 18-22, the Storm moved into the Northern Football Conference in 1996 and later adopted the ‘Steelers’ moniker.

The Sault Steelers originally joined the NFC in 1972 and competed there until folding in 1987.

“Jamie and Karen did a lot of work and sacrificed a lot of their time for the Storm,” Iacoe said. “No one realizes how much time they put into it. They were the driving force behind the team. I still can’t believe this has happened. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Steve Nott, head coach of the Ontario Varsity Football League’s Sault Sabercats, was the Storm’s starting quarterback during the team’s three-year, OFC run.

On Sunday, Nott praised Biocchi for the job he did in bringing the OFC to the city.

“It gave a lot of us the opportunity to play football at that level,” Nott said.

Biocchi also played in the NFC, starring as a defensive back with the Steelers from 1983 until the time the franchise left the conference.

Former Steeler Mike Prentice also began his NFC career in ’83.

“We were inseparable during the 1980s,” Prentice said of the time he spent as Biocchi’s teammate. “This comes as a terrible shock to me.”

Prentice, who starred as a receiver and defensive end in his early NFC days, described Biocchi as a “monster” during his time as a Steelers defensive back.

“He was six-foot-two and probably 215 or 220 (pounds) at that time,” Prentice remembered.
“He was big and he was a very good player.”

Along with his wife, Karen, Biocchi is survived by two sons, Anthony and Daniel.

Friends may visit at Northwood Funeral Home Cremation and Reception Centre (942 Great Northern Road 945-7758) on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Funeral Mass on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at St. Jerome Church at 11:00 a.m., with Reverend Hamish Currie officiating. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Education Fund for Daniel and Anthony Biocchi RBC would be greatly appreciated.


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