2007/08/09 Inductees

2007 Inductees

Hal Pells
Builder - Hockey

When his son Ryan began playing hockey at the age of five, Hal Pells soon discovered that coaching one of his sons wasn’t for him, preferring to work behind the scenes as a member of the Georgetown Minor Hockey Association’s     executive. Thirty-two years later, Pells is the guiding hand for the GMHA, boasting close to 1,800 youths signed up in house league, select or rep teams this past season.
As President since 1992, the Etobicoke native sits on community sports committees besides the GMHA and is considered a tireless volunteer, spending countless evenings at the rink each year.
 “In a small town like ours, I just like the atmosphere that you find at the arena. It becomes part of a routine and it grows on you, working with the people involved with minor hockey,” the 62-year-old said. “You just want to try to give back to the system what you got out of it as someone who loves the sport.” Pells helped establish development programs in the GMHA, including the successful CHIP introductory level for beginners and a fund to help underprivileged youths play minor hockey each year.

Mary Ann Lapointe
Athlete - Golf

Guidelines for induction into the Halton Hills Sports Museum’s state that a nominee can no longer be active in their sporting career, but an exception was made in the case of one of Canada’s top amateur golfers over the past decade.
 Lapointe, 47, will also be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this July at her home North Halton Golf & Country Club course and she continues to play at an elite level, currently representing Canada at the Commonwealth Matches in South Africa. Three times each Lapointe has won the Canadian and Ontario ladies’ amateur championships and in 2005 became the first non-American golfer to capture the U.S. women’s mid-amateur title.
An accountant by profession with two teenage daughters, Lapointe says she never wonders about what a pro career in golf could have been like because she tried playing on a satellite tour 20 years ago and wasn’t comfortable with the lifestyle.

Bruce Andrews
Athlete - Cross-Country Running/Track & Field

Many Acton residents would consider the retired teacher a builder for his coaching pursuits with Bearcat high school teams and aren’t aware of his prodigious track and field exploits some 40 years ago at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
A middle-distance runner, Andrews finished runner-up in the mile to future Common-wealth Games champion Bruce Kidd at the 1960 Ontario high school finals and won the Canadian juvenile cross-country title in 1956 and 1957.
He received scholarship interest from U.S. colleges such as Notre Dame and Michigan State before choosing Seton Hall, also representing Canada at international meets.
The 65-year-old’s career highlight was winning the U.S. Two-Mile indoor relay championships in 1964 and 1965, captaining the Seton Hall team. “We went to all of the big indoor meets, Madison Square Garden, and to do what that two-mile relay team did was a big deal back then,” the Georgetown resident said. “We had great coaches at Seton Hall. They were teaching things 50 years ago that the top athletes are still doing today.”
Currently, Bruce Andrews is the Curator for the Halton Hills Sports Museum And Resource Centre.

Jim Ford
Builder - Softball

Statistics are usually considered when looking back on an athletes’ Hall of Fame career and a big number stands out when assessing Jim ‘Tubby’ Ford’s impact on youths as a sport builder in Halton Hills— 8,000. That’s approximately how many girls who have played in the Kinsmen Girls’ Softball League in the four decades that Ford has been involved with the organization. Starting off as an umpire, he  remains the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer for the League, among many jobs he’s undertaken as a volunteer.
Ford, who turns 75 in October, also was involved with minor hockey for several years and he is the first person to receive the Georgetown Hockey Heritage Award as well as Halton Hills Sports Museum Hall of Fame induction. Ford is the only person ever to become an Honorary Member of the Kinsmen Club in Georgetown.
“It just becomes a habit and it’s something I enjoy doing, so why not?” said Ford, longtime President of the Industrial Softball League. “We’re fortunate in that we’ve had a lot of the same sponsors for over 30 years and they keep us going. I keep saying I’m going to give it up, but it never seems to happen.”

John McCauley
Builder - Hockey/Lacrosse

Well known for his 10 years of work as a referee in the National Hockey League beginning in 1970, McCauley was also a big name in Lacrosse circles in southern Ontario.

The Brampton native became the NHL’s assistant director of officiating
in 1981 after retiring from on-ice duties due to an eye injury, having officiated many memorable Stanley Cup contests. McCauley died from complications following surgery in June of 1989 at the age of 44 while still serving as the league’s Director of Officiating. Among rule changes he helped institute was the delayed offside non-call to help speed up the pace of the game.

On the lacrosse floor, ‘Gus’ McCauley coached Brampton’s Mann Cup National Champion squad in 1980 and oversaw Canada’s winning entry at the World Field Lacrosse Championships in 1978. A huge men’s recreational tournament is held in his memory each spring in Brampton.
John McCauley is a member of the Brampton Sports Hall Of Fame, The Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and in November 2011 was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Bob Howard
Builder - Figure Skating

Some builders are inducted for their dedication to grassroots level sports and others for their work on the international stage and the late Bob Howard falls into the latter category.
Although he did serve as President of the Georgetown Skating Club in the early 1970s, Howard rose through the ranks of Skate Canada to become its head in 1986, working to improve many facets of the organization. He is credited with advancing figure skating by establishing a marketing committee and helping to produce several Canadian medalists in international competition.
Howard died suddenly in 2001 at the age of 68 while attending the World Figure Skating Championships in Vancouver at a time when the sport was at its peak in popularity worldwide. As well, he was Commissioner on many International Skating Union committees that dealt with issues such as judging infractions.

2008 Inductees

Adam Bennett
Athlete - Hockey

Forced to retire from the pro ranks at the age of 25 due to a
knee injury, local native Adam Bennett still has many fond memories
of his career and continues his involvement today coaching youths.
Bennett rose up through the Georgetown minor hockey system
and played on the last Jr. B Gemini team before being the second
player taken in the Ontario Hockey League draft by the Sudbury

After a fine three-year stint with the Wolves, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound defender
was selected sixth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft,
five picks after the Quebec Nordiques chose Mats Sundin.

It was a short career, unfortunately, and I expected to play a lot longer, but that’s just part of being in a contact sport,” said Bennett, who coaches his two daughters, Kaitlyn, 10, and Jillian, 8, in the North Halton Twisters’ organization and operates his own popular 3 on 3Hockey leagues around the GTA.

John Toebes
Builder - Hockey/Soccer/Baseball

There’s just one word needed to explain why John Toebes has maintained a 38-year relationship with the youth of Acton as the driving force behind the house league hockey scene. “Fun,” said the 81-year-old Toebes, who resides at the Eden House Retirement Home in Guelph. “I was involved for many years and it was because I enjoyed it.”
An immigrant from Holland who fought in the Second World War, Toebes was asked in 1970 by the Acton Legion if he’d help run its house league and he remained involved until well after his triplet grandsons stopped playing.
President of the house league for more than 20 years, Toebes also founded the annual peewee tournament that continues on 38 years later. Acton’s Citizen of the Year in 1992 received the President’s Award from the Acton House League in 2001 in recognition of his volunteer work and the award was presented in his name.

Gerry Ockenden
Builder - Swimming

For someone whose swimming background consisted of spending summer afternoons in his youth splashing around Fairy Lake in Acton, Gerry Ockenden turned out to be the ideal head coach for the Aqua Ducks’ competitive swimming program.
When the former Acton youth swimming club folded in 1987, Ockenden volunteered to “temporarily” take over deck duties so that his two children, Jason and Julie, and other youngsters could keep active. “I said I would help out for the first year until we could get a real coach, and here we are 20 years later,” joked the retired factory worker, who was assisted by daughter Julie for 15 years.
Having also established a Masters program for adults in Acton, Ockenden reluctantly had to step down from the Aqua Ducks last year after finding his Halton District School board trustee workload didn’t allow him to spend enough time at the Acton Indoor Pool.

Katie Rowland
Athlete - Gymnastics

When asked to recount a career highlight from her outstanding 15- year career as an elite level gymnast, Georgetown’s Katie Rowland could be excused for the pause that followed.

Considering the all around women’s individual Canadian championship she won in 1998, her stellar four years at Penn State University, or wearing her country’s colours in international competition, the now-retired 26-year-old understandably gave an ambiguous answer when put on the spot.

“I never went to the Olympics but the Commonwealth Games (in 1998 in Malaysia) had such great spirit, coming into the stadium for the opening ceremonies and just being able to represent Canada at meets like the world championships was a great thrill,” the Georgetown District High School grad said. “Winning the Canadian championship in 1998 was special too because I was able to do it in front of my family and friends in Hamilton, and then to be offered a scholarship at a school like Penn State, where I spent the best four years of my life, was phenomenal.”

Inspired by a demonstration she witnessed at age seven while attending the Georgetown Fall Fair, Rowland joined the Halton Hills Gymnastics Club and by the age of 14 became a nationally carded athlete, also earning recognition in Sports Illustrated’s Faces In The Crowd.

Melanie Jans
Athlete - Squash

The main squash court at the Georgetown Racquet Club is named after its most successful player, Melanie Jans who began playing there at age 11 and went on to become Canada's top ranked female for many years.
Set to celebrate her 35th birthday in July, Jans retired from national team competition in 2006 and is now the squash pro at the Vancouver Lawn and Tennis Club.  Her triumphs included several Canadian senior and junior women's titles and a double gold-medal performance at the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, which she called the highlight of her career.  Having also claimed Pan-Am gold in 1995 in Argentina, Jans needed to beat American veteran Demer Holleran twice in 1999 - first for the individual title and then three days later for the team championship - and did so convincingly.
"I just worked so hard that day to beat my opponent and all of my training leading up to that was geared to this one match," she said.  "It felt great to play really well on the day when you needed it the most."

2009 Inductees

Pat Graham
Builder - Soccer

Although he much preferred to be running around on the pitch refereeing youth matches, some of Pat Graham’s most important work for the Acton Soccer Club was done in a bingo hall. 

Beginning in 1976, when he stepped forward to coach his five-year-old son Chris’s house league team, Graham went on to become head referee for the ASC for 20 ears, providing training courses and mentoring to young officials and players, with an emphasis on skill development, sportsmanship and fair play.

His involvement increased in the early 1990s, officiating a number of indoor leagues around the region and he’s still active with the Acton club. The 63-year-old Tyler Transport bus driver also served in the organization’s executive for several years, spending countless evenings at the fundraising bingo in Milton. “The bingo was really beneficial to the club because it meant we were able to have lighted fields,” said Graham, who received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award in 2001.
“I think we were the best-equipped club in the area thanks to people in the community contributing their time and money, so that we didn’t have to raise the registration fee for the kids very often.”

Ron McKnight
Building - All Sports

Known as the “Voice of Acton” and nicknamed “Ironside” after the 1970s television show, Ron McKnight wasn’t able to participate in sports throughout his life but he always managed to be in the centre of the action.
A scorekeeper and announcer for minor hockey and lacrosse games in Acton starting in 1968 and later in Georgetown,  McKnight’s volunteer resume and list of awards would be lengthier than most able-bodied people.
Born with Cerebral Palsy, the 60-year-old retired dispatcher for the Town of Halton Hills has been mostly confined to a wheelchair, although he earned his driver’s license in order to make his own way to the many volunteer commitments.
He became president of the Acton Minor Hockey Association and Rotary Club member at age 20 and has served on numerous team and league executives.
“I’ve been fortunate to have had so much support and help from people with my health difficulties that I guess I feel obligated to give back to the community in some way,” he said. “I’ve had a hard time saying no to people when they’ve asked me to get involved with something.”

Kara McGaw
Athlete - Softball

Her Olympic experience at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta was a bit disappointing from a team standpoint, but the years that have since passed have helped Kara McGaw put her superb softball career in perspective.
A solid hitter and starting right fielder for Canada's national women's team for six year, the 43 year old McGaw saved the game of her life for the powerhouse U.S. side that went on to win the gold medal in Atlanta, going 3-for-3 at the plate while recording 11 putouts and no errors in the field.
Canada ended up fifth overall after starting the tournament 2-0, with a couple of close losses denying McGaw and her teammates a shot at a medal.
"I never dreamed that when I started playing Kinsmen Girls' Softball in Georgetown at age 10 that 20 years later I'd be sort of a pioneer, being in Atlanta the first year that softball was an Olympic sport," said the human resources manager at Wal-Mart's flagship Mississauga location.
She earned a scholarship to Western Illinois in 1986 to take business administration after multiple provincial and national titles at the youth levels with teams from Chinguacousy and Pickering.  Two more national championships followed in the mid 1990's with Dorchester, in which McGaw earned top batter and all-Canadian outfielder honours.

John Boyce
Athlete/Builder - Hockey

The well-respected captain of the Georgetown Intermediate A Raiders from 1974-81, John Boyce’s contributions to the local hockey community didn’t end when his playing days did and will enter the Sports Hall of Fame as both a builder and an athlete. A Tottenham native, the stay-at-home defender faced off against Georgetown teams when he played Jr. C in Aurora and was struck by how well his opponents were supported.
 After graduating from Northeastern University in Boston on a hockey scholarship, the 61-year-old was the easiest recruiting job ever for Raider GM Dave Kentner as Boyce drove to Georgetown looking for a place to play Intermediate hockey. He suited up for nine years here, wearing the C for seven seasons.
Three times Boyce was on Georgetown teams that won Ontario titles and advanced to Hardy Cup national championships. He didn’t play for the 1982 Hardy Cup team but is credited by Kentner as being a key building block in getting the team to that stage.
“There was something magical in the teams we had in that time where we never ever thought we could lose,” said Boyce, a Revenue Canada human resources manager.
Boyce coached youth hockey in Georgetown and helped form an Oldtimers’ squad made up with many former Raider teammates. He has organized an annual tournament for the past two decades that has raised $16,000 over the past 15 years for autism research and the Georgetown Minor Hockey Association.

Georgetown Chrysler Raiders
Team - Hockey

Named as one of 10 “Teams of the Decade” by the Ontario Hockey Association in 2000, the 1982 Hardy Cup champion from Georgetown was a juggernaut both on and off the ice.

For 10 years, the Raiders ruled the OHA with five J.R. Robertson provincial titles and three final appearances, yet they suffered three stinging losses in the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s Hardy Cup championship series against powerhouse opponents.
With skilled tactician Gerry Inglis as head coach, the Raiders brought in an array of players that included former National Hockey League players for their run in 1982,  which lost just six times in 57 games. They swept the Quesnel, B.C. Kangaroos in a best-of-5 series in Georgetown that drew capacity crowds of about 1,500 to the Alcott Arena.
Goaltender Wayne Wood, who in the previous season was Calder Cup MVP for the American Hockey League’s Adirondack Red Wings, allowed just five goals in three games for the Raiders before captain Steve Lyons accepted the championship trophy on April 18, 1982.
In order to attract the calibre of talent required to win the Hardy Cup, the Raiders under president Bob Hooper and GM Dave Kentner ran an organization that rivaled many professional minor league teams, bolstered by strong local sponsorship and approximately 70 volunteers.
The Raiders were the first and last team from Ontario to capture the Hardy Cup as the OHA Intermediate A loop was disbanded after the 1982 campaign.