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Raptors Championship Rings Made in Windsor

By: Mitchell Stewart

The Raptor’s first NBA championship is not only a big deal for Toronto but a notable day for the Windsor community as well.

Drina Baron-Zinyk is the proud co-owner of Baron Championship Rings with her brother, Peter Kanis. Their most recent endeavour was getting to make the 2019 championship rings for the Toronto Raptors. With over 650 diamonds and 17 genuine rubies, the Tecumseh-based company created the largest championship ring in the history of professional sports.

“It feels very amazing,” said Baron-Zinyk. “Like wow, I can’t believe we did that.”

From a small retail jeweller in Toronto owned by their parents, Baron Championship rings is now recognized as North America’s Fastest growing championship ring company.

The company mainly focused on graduation rings when they moved to Chatham in the ’80s. They dabbled in school sports teams but maintained a relatively low profile.

“It wasn’t until years later that my brother and I got involved … we decided to help out,” she said. “We didn’t think we were actually going to stay in the business.”

As they started to make rings for high school and university athletics, they enjoyed it a lot more than graduation rings. they started to reach out to more teams and build a reputation for championship rings.

Their first major opportunity was making rings for team Canada’s under-17 in the early 2000s. After this project, the siblings decided to re-brand the company from Baron Insignias to Baron Championship Rings. The re-branding landed them an account with team USA basketball, in manufacturing rings for both the men’s and women’s teams. They have also made championship rings for WNBA, and NCAA.

In 2016, their publicity in the US gave them the opportunity to present in front of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“When we won that account solely based on the best design, more doors opened.”

Being a sports-oriented family, they are long-time fans of the Raptors. Baron-Zinyk brought the team spirit to work when they scored a spot in the playoffs.

“We watched every single game. At work, we would have Raptors days, and during the playoffs, we all wore our Raptors Jerseys, every single employee was wearing them.”

Drina reached out to one of the team owners after the finals and landed the opportunity to present along with three other companies. They presented for Kyle Lowry, who had a very tall order with the flashiest ring to ever be made.

“We were thinking it was kind of impossible, I mean to put the CN tower and city hall all in diamonds? It’s difficult.”

Lowry choosing them was a surprising day for the company. When she asked him about his opinion on the Cavaliers ring, which was rated the nicest ring in NBA history, his response was “Ehh, it didn’t do anything for me.”

About a week after their presentation, she got the call. Kyle chose them to make the championship ring.

They cracked down to work right away. They had the Raptors in and out of the building through the process, and they had to get an upgrade on security.

“We always have some guards around the clock,” Baron-Zinyk explained. “But for this project specifically, we had to install more cameras, add more guards and have police on sight as much as possible.”

From her working experience with the team, Drina particularly liked working with Lowry, because they shared similar values.

“What I liked is that he already had a connection with the other company that presented before us,” Drina continued with pride. “He picked us, not because we’re Canadian or because he knew us. He picked the company that did the best design.”

From this project looking into the future, Drina sees a higher potential for Baron Championship Rings, as their name gets out with the evidence of what they’re capable of.

“I think this takes us to another level than the Cavs did, or the Olympic rings did because we were known a lot in the states, but I think in Canada we weren’t as known, and that it’s actually made right here in Windsor.”

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