NPH Trailblazers is a North Pole Hoops series, illustrating the careers of influential figures of the past, who have paved the way for the present and future of Canadian basketball.

When your nickname is “Fridge” it usually indicates that you’re relatively large in stature.

According to several basketball observers dating back to the eighties, Wayne Robertson was a man amongst boys.

“Fridge was Charles Barkley before Charles Barkley blew up,” Paul Jones told North Pole Hoops.

Jones (Raptors radio play-by-play announcer), coached Robertson decades ago on the Metro high school all-star team, which would compete against top talent in the U.S.

“People looked at Fridge and said you could out run him…but he was nimble,” said Jones with conviction. “The big guy could really get up and down the floor.”

Wayne Firdge 1

The wide-framed Robertson, stood a 6’5 for the Runnymede Redmen, and would dominate his competition in high school, which lead him into an accomplished career at New Hampshire College.

Robertson was inducted into the 1999 New Hampshire Hall of Fame after leading the program to 100-28 record, averaging 18.9 PPG, 13.1 RPG.

Back-to-back NCAA DII Final Four appearances and multiple All-American accolades later, Robertson would depart New Hampshire as the program’s all-time leading rebounder, and third all-time leading scorer.

Wayne Robertson hoisting OFSAA championship

Wayne Robertson hoisting OFSAA championship

He was unguardable in high school, due to his rare combination of size, strength, versatility and high motor.

“He played hard. It wasn’t about being vocal, or rah rah, he just went out and played his butt off all the time…and not just the game, but in practice too,” said Jones.

A laid back individual, that didn’t say much, but when he spoke, you listened, as he let his game do the talking.

It was in practice that Robertson raised the level of intensity, and gained the respect of his teammates through his work ethic.

“When I say good teammate, I mean when he had to get on guys, he did and when he had to support the coach for a guy that was doing something he shouldn’t be doing…he was that guy,” continued Jones.

Dave Sherwood, a 6’9 centre and former teammate of Robertson at Runnymede, spoke very highly of Fridge.

“I’ve never played with anybody that made his teammates that much better…that’s a big statement for someone that size,” explained Sherwood.

“He had great court vision, and one of the best leaders in the locker room that I’ve ever been around…just a powerful, powerful man…could not be stopped.”

Bathurst Heights VS Runnymede.

That was the showdown that everyone in the Toronto basketball community anticipated. Wayne Robertson VS Phil Dixon.

“Basketball at that time (eighties) was a high point for high school basketball. No matter where we played in Ontario, we knew we would have a crowd,” said Moore.

Jason Gairey, a basketball enthusiast, who at the time, attended multiple schools said that, “If you played at any school you would go to watch just to size up the competition.”

Wayne Firdge 2As for his thoughts on Robertson?

“He could really really dominate…there wasn’t anyway you could stop Fridge..he was getting his,” said Gairey.

Even Phil Dixon, who is widely viewed as one of the greatest Canadian high school basketball players of all time, praised Robertson’s ability.

“Don’t sleep on Fridge…ever. I just couldn’t stop him, and he couldn’t stop me,” Dixon told North Pole Hoops.

Sherwood believed that a different time would have yielded much different results.

“He was ahead of his time…if he was playing in today’s game, he is a definite first round draft pick.”

Paul Jones echoed Sherwood’s thoughts.

“I think if he would’ve been in a different era, people would have taken more of a chance with him. The things that we value now, that we’ve learned in basketball, people didn’t always value it back then.”

When asked about why Robertson was not recruited at a higher level, Jones replied, “I think a lot of people were afraid of the unknown. If he had come after a guy like Charles Barkley, who had made it big, it would be different.”

The growth of Canadian basketball is now well documented, as players in today’s era are fortunate enough to reap the benefits of those that came before them.

One can’t help but wonder, “what could have been”, if Canadian talent from the past received the same opportunities today.

That being said, speaking hypothetically only fuels our imagination.

Instead, the reality is that Wayne Robertson is a large part of the historical fabric of Canadian basketball.

Larger than most…that’s why they call him The Fridge.

Tariq Sbiet

Written by Tariq Sbiet

NPH National Scout, tracking Canada's TOP prospects from high school to the NBA. With a genuine passion for the game, you will find Sbiet in the bleachers of most major tournaments and events across Canada & the United States -- Discovering talent from coast-to-coast, while absorbing knowledge at every opportunity. Sbiet has covered the game at every level, combining a basketball and media background with a degree in Media & Journalism from the University of Guelph-Humber. *Inspiration is the spark plug to success*

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12 thoughts on “Wayne “The Fridge” Robertson…Dominance. #NPHTrailblazers

  1. Nicholas Fernandes says:

    As a basketball fan growing up in Toronto I was able to admire Wayne’s abilities on the court. However, many years later, I have had the fortune to see Wayne Robertson in a different light – as my son’s basketball coach and more importantly teacher. I can tell you first hand that it has been a pleasure to know that such a caring and thoughtful individual is having an impact on my child’s upbringing. Although the article discusses what may have been, Wayne’s story is by no means an unfortunate one due to bad timing. Wayne has been such a wonderful mentor for numerous children and youth in our city. His perspective on basketball and life is both unique and profound. I know if he read these words he would be too humble to accept these accolades, but I feel strongly in saying that although my son admires today’s NBA stars for their abilities on the court, he has been directly shaped as a person by the role model that is Wayne Robertson. Remember Barkley’s own words, “I’m not a role model…Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” Well, Wayne Robertson can do both.

    1. Tariq Sbiet Tariq Sbiet says:

      Nicholas, thank you for sharing your persepctive, greatly appreciated. Apologies if it came off as “unfortunate” that was not my intent. I hope to connect with Wayne in the near future and learn about his current work with youth. I love to hear that he is still involved with the game and making such an impact! If you happen to have his contact, please email me at tsbiet@northpolehoops.com — thank you!

  2. blake says:

    Robertson goes to our school and is our coach and is amazing
    a lot of people have improved from his great coaching. we all love him

    1. Dylan says:

      Hey Blakey! Ya Robertson is our school basketball coach and he is fantastic! He teaches us so much and he has just made our team so much better

  3. Bryan says:

    I have known Mr. Robertson ( even though i am old enough to call him Wayne it is still weird to me.) For a very long time. He was my coach at Crosby Heights here in Richmond Hill. He always runs ball afterschool days. His involvement in youth basketball is outstanding. I haven’t learned as much about the game thaf i have from him. Without a doubt he would be a first round pick in my mind.

    He would kill me if he knew i was saying this, but he may be known as “fridge,” but anyone who knows him personally knows he’s just a teddy bear.

  4. Dylan says:

    I can’t believe Robertson has students on here talking and raving about him.

  5. Cory Williams says:

    I played with him at Runnymede. Truly a rare and exceptional athlete for sure. One of the best ever in my estimation.

  6. ANONYMOUS says:

    He is now a teacher at a school – he is the basketball coach – he is good – I had him as a teacher

  7. Alaina says:

    This article is from a long time ago but it deserves a response…

    I feel truly blessed to have been able to meet Mr. Robertson. I too attended Crosby Heights, and I can honestly say I have never met a man who is so kind and caring. He cares for each and every person that steps into his office or onto his court.

    If one person has stood out and made a difference in my life, it is this man right here! I was on the road to nowhere, and Mr. R inspired me to make something of myself.

    I was able to go from a displaced kid with no hopes of a good future, to attending college and about to receive a paralegal diploma. I have Mr. R to thank for that.

    And I will second Bryan’s comment… Mr. Robertson is one giant teddy bear!!!

  8. Karishma says:

    Mr.Roberstson is one of the best teacher ever we all love him he is so cool ,he brings us pizza and we had a great party when I was in the team and we are so lucky that Mr.Robertson teaches the girls basketball team

  9. Alan says:

    Mr.R is a great coach but favourites girls and talks too much trash about me 😑😑😑😑 ….. #jjstopusingschoolwifi

    🤘🏼🏀🏀🏀

  10. Alan says:

    And heck nah he ain’t no Charles Barkley 😂😂😂😂he’s probably an Antonio DAVISS #stopbandwagonning#stopswitchingfavourites#jjbuyclothesyoureownsize#robertson1v1me

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