2016/2017 Inductees

2016 Inductees

Bill Fisher - Builder, Baseball/Hockey

When the Georgetown Royal Canadian Legion Branch discontinued its sponsorship of the local minor hockey organization in the late 1950's, Fisher assumed the house league chairman role with the incoming group of volunteers and went on to serve in several other capacities over close to three decades.  According to officials with the Georgetown Hockey Heritage Council, Fisher was set to receive it's annual award in 1984, but
passed away at the age of 65, just weeks before the induction ceremony and instead received the posthumous Murray Ezard Award.  Fisher a Winnipeg native, spent every Saturday through the fall and winter at the rink, serving as head coach, timekeeper, general manager of registration and chief fundraiser, always carrying draw tickets in his pockets to sell.  He also coached minor baseball teams in Georgetown for several years.

Debbie Boycott - Builder, Special Olympics Rhythmic Gymnastics

The Special Olympics Motto is "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."  Boycott has certainly enjoyed success, serving as head coach twice and once as an assistant for Canada's rhythmic gymnastics team at the World Special Olympics Summer Games, during which her athletes earned 76 medals, while also providing young people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to participate in the sport.  The Oakville Butterflies Special Olympics Rhythmic Gymnastics Club was founded by Boycott in 1999 and she served as it's head coach, lead organizer and cheereleader.  She became involved to support her daughter Emily who won 15 World Games medals before her retirement last year, but over the years Debbie helped foster the growth and development of Special Olympics rhythmic gymnastics in Ontario and across the country by running training camps and introducing new coaches to the sport.  Since Boycott became involved, the number of clubs in the Province has grown to 17 from three in 1999.  A native of Thunder Bay, Boycott has received several awards for her involvement, such as the Special Olympics Ontario Female Coach of the Year in 2013 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Halton Down Syndrome Association earlier this year. 

Jim Hall - Athlete/Builder, Wrestling

A two-time Canadian university wrestling champion in 1969-70, Hall returned to teach and coach many Rebels sports teams at Georgetown District High School, where his distinguished career on the mats began.  The 66 year old captured district and regional titles at GDHS in the 123 pound weight class from 1965-68, before moving on to become captain of the Waterloo Warriors' wrestling team, winning the Ontario and Canadian championships in back to back years.
It was the first time that a Waterloo wrestler was victorious at Nationals.  As a builder, Hall was three time head coach of the Canadian Schoolboy Team that competed in world championships in New Mexico, California and Montana.
He taught locally at Centennial Middle School in Georgetown and at GDHS.  The Arthur, Ontario native coached a variety of sports teams, earning several Halton championships in fast pitch while guiding local wrestlers to numerous provincial and national titles.  Hall was also heavily involved in the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Association and conducted certification for coaches.

Colleen Shields - Athlete, Swimming

Going up against one of the most formidable, frustrating and unforgiving opponents one could imagine on many occasions, the oldest person to swim across Lake Ontario conquered her foe one last time just two years ago - and then put the rivalry to rest. Shields made her first successful attempt at crossing from Niagara-On-The-Lake to the Leslie St. Spit in Toronto in 1990 in just under 18 hours at age 38 to become the oldest woman to accomplish the feat.  She regained the title in 2006 in an even faster time of 16:30:17 at 54 years old and was confident the speed record for ladies was within her capabilities.  Yet the next five attempts, between 2008-12, had to be abandoned due to either uncooperative conditions, injury or illness.  In August of 2014, all the stars seemed aligned for Shields to give it one last sucessful shot to be the oldest female or male to cross Lake Ontario.  An unusually lengthy spell of calm water paved the way, although at one point after a three hour bout with sickness, she wanted to quit.  But Swim Master John Scott wouldn't hear of it and that "tough love" propelled her to the finish line at Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto in 21:33:49, where Marilyn Bell - the first person to make the crossing in 1954 - was waiting to greet her.  The Toronto native was an elite-level sprint swimmer as well, taking part in Canada's Olympic Trials in 1968 in the 100m and 200m backstroke.  She won the gold medal in the 50m back for her age group at the World Masters Swim Championships in Denmark in 2002, representing the Etobicoke Masters.

Juri Kudrasovs - Athlete, Hockey

The puck always seems to find prolific scorers and the Norval native had a knack for being on the winning hockey teams as well.  The son of a Russian father and a Latvian mother, Kudrasovs played minor hockey in Georgetown and starred on the only local team that won the Grand Championship at the International Bantam Tournament in 1967. Despite losing the top half of his thumb in a waterskiing accident as a teen, the talented, diminuitive centre enjoyed three solid seasons with the Jr. A. Kitchener Rangers and was a 10th round draft pick of the National Hockey League's Minnesota North Stars.  Now 63, Kudrasovs broke into the International Hockey League in 1972-73 with a 34 goal campaign and went on to win the Turner Cup with the Toledo Goaldiggers as team captain, leading scorer and MVP, netting the clinching goal in the seventh and deciding game.  Kudrasovs returned to Georgetown to play for the Intermediate A Raiders for six seasons, resulting in five OHA titles and the Hardy Cup Canadian championship in 1982.

2017 Inductees

Noreen Atkinson

Forty-five years of umpiring experience from local rural diamonds to world championships, and Atkinson still witnesses plays she’s never seen before or comes across situations that aren’t covered by the rule book.
An elite-level catcher as a youth, she was recruited at age 12 to work Kinsmen Girls’ Softball League games. Atkinson soon moved up to the Georgetown Men’s Industrial League and worked her way through the ranks to become a Softball Canada Level 5 official, later achieving International Softball Federation certification.
She participated in several Canadian championships as both an umpire and supervisor.
The 56-year-old holds a master’s degree in education and officiated at international tournaments including the 2007 Jr. Women’s World Championship in the Netherlands, the 2012 Women’s World Championship in the Yukon, and the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Atkinson received the Jim Bradford Memorial Award in 2008 as the Ontario-based umpire who best exemplifies the characteristics of leadership, an educator and evaluator.
She was also a member of the Softball Canada’s Officials Development Committee (ODC) and continues to conduct umpire clinics locally and around the GTA.
Jonathan Cornwell
Whether it was on the road, ice, dirt or short track, the 55-year-old Cornwell’s prowess on two wheels is directly attributed to a strong family tradition of riding motorcycles.
The Kingston, Ont. native’s grandfather rode British bikes following the Second World War and his father Norm, a mechanical engineer who died when Jon was just 17, instilled in him a deep passion for racing and a knowledge of how the machines worked.
Inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2011, Cornwell won several Canadian championships in multiple disciplines such as 250cc expert, mostly in the 1980s as a Georgetown resident.
He regularly competed in the U.S., qualifying for four national championships there, and in European spiked-tire ice and endurance events.
Retiring from professional competitive racing in 1994, the GDHS grad joined Swedish suspension manufacturer Ohlins on the World Superbike Circuit, contributing to the victories of several riders.
Cornwell now calls Erin home and works for Ohlins as its U.S. road racing technical manager. He is considered by his peers as one of the most knowledgeable suspension technicians in North America.
Hugo Dittfach
A refugee from East Germany after the Second World War who arrived in Canada with no knowledge of horse racing, Dittfach was working in a Calgary restaurant when a diner suggested that the young busboy had a suitable body type to become a jockey.
Having spent time in a concentration camp in Poland, he burst onto the thoroughbred racing scene in western Canada as an 18-year-old in the mid-1950s, taking on more mounts than any of his competitors before moving to Ontario.
‘Hustlin’ Hugo’ went on to have a 33-year career as a jockey and won more than 4,000 races, highlighted in 1991 when he received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award for his achievements and contributions to the sport.
His resume´ includes a Queen’s Plate in 1991, five Prince of Wales Stakes’ titles and four Valedictory Stakes’ wins, 4,092 second-place finishes, 6,113 thirds, and $13,506,502 in earnings — working out to $398 per start across 33,905 rides.
Dittfach earned the Sovereign Award in 1975 as Canada’s best jockey and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1983, ranked 67th among the world’s top jockeys of all.
Michael Mitchell
An all-American and team captain at NCAA Division II West Texas State University, Mitchell has also contributed extensively to the sport of tennis as a builder during his decades-long involvement as a coach and mentor at the university and local levels.
The 56-year-old Sudbury native moved to Georgetown at the age of two and grew up playing on Georgetown’s Gordon Alcott courts. He remains as a coach and mentor with the Halton Hills Tennis Club.
In 1991, Mitchell warmed up against any local youngsters he could find as an amateur in preparation for a match against Canada’s top singles player at the time, Daniel Nestor, whom he led 3-0 at the SunLife men’s national championship before bowing out 6-3, 6-1.
He went on to coach at York University and was named Ontario University Athletics coach of the year three times, guiding the Yeowomen to a provincial championship in 2003 and the men’s squad in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Mitchell also was appointed head coach for Canada at the World University Games in Serbia in 2009.
Described as an aggressive serve-and-volley player, Mitchell won the Canadian Senior Men’s (over-35) Outdoor Championships doubles’ title in 2000 with partner Alan Trivett of Brampton.
Gabby Szanto
High-jump records began to fall in Szanto’s wake as a teen in her native Hungary and she continues to excel at international Masters competitions in both track and field and sprint canoe/kayak.

She competed for Hungary professionally from 1981-87 and still holds national age group records there, but upon emigrating to Canada in 1989 added hurdles, pole vault, long jump, shot put and pentathlon to her repertoire, winning several Ontario and national medals at the university level.

In 1995, she represented her adopted country in heptathlon in the Canada vs. U.S. combined events competition.

She lists her gold-medal performances in the pole vault at the World Masters Championships in Australia in 2001 and Finland in 2012 as the highlights of her career, while also holding Canadian Masters records in the pole vault, javelin and shot put.

The owner of a PhD in molecular genetics at Trent University, a master’s of science degree in zoology from the University of Guelph, and post-doctoral fellowship in cancer genetics at York University, Szanto began racing in canoe and kayak events in 2012 and within two years won all of her events at the World Masters Games.

She received nine gold medals at Ontario Masters Athletics events in 2014-15 and three times has been named the organization’s athlete of the year.