Ontario Sports Hall of Fame
Flying under the radar seems to be a way of life for Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto.
For the Toronto native, Votto’s greatness, though, is a thing appreciated more by baseball observers than by casual fans. This is in part because he’s not a wall-banging masher at the plate and in part because he plays in Cincinnati, a small market, for a Reds team that has recently had some lean years.
In 2017, a season in which he lost the National League’s MVP race to Giancarlo Stanton in the closest vote for that award since 1979, Votto made headlines for finishing number one in a touching moment on the field.
During an August, 2017 game, Votto gave the jersey off his back to a young boy battling cancer.
Walter "Superbubz" Herbert died in early October, 2017 after a two-year battle with cancer. His story went viral earlier as the 6-year-old formed an unlikely friendship with the baseball star.
Votto hit a solo home run during the game against the New York Mets at Great American Ball Park, and Superbubz was lucky enough to be sitting in the front row near Cincinnati’s dugout.
Votto had met the boy a week earlier when he was at Great American Ball Park courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He walked over to Superbubz after the homer and gave him the bat he used and his jersey.
Superbubz immediately put on the jersey and one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see.
Votto’s resume to date is an impressive one. He is a five-time MLB All-Star , a seven-time Tip O'Neill Award winner and two-time Lou Marsh Trophy winner as Canada's athlete of the year. In 2010, he won the National League (NL) MVP Award and the NL Hank Aaron Award .
Hazel McCallion, businesswoman, politician and mayor of Mississauga from 1978-2014.
One of Canada's longest-serving mayors, McCallion led her city for 12 consecutive terms, only retiring at age 93. Nicknamed “Hurricane Hazel” for her brash political style, she oversaw the development of Mississauga from a semi-rural bedroom community into the sixth-largest city in Canada. McCallion is considered a trailblazer for women in politics.
Under her leadership, Mississauga grew from a collection of small towns and farmland, as the population nearly tripled and the rapid pace of development transformed the area. McCallion recounted that in the early days of her mayoralty, she could look across the street from the old city hall and see “cows and horses grazing in the field.” Mississauga’s new city hall — an award-winning feat of postmodern architecture —opened in 1987.
Since her departure from politics, she has been appointed chancellor of Sheridan College and special advisor to the principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga. McCallion has also become an outspoken advocate for seniors, and against discrimination towards the elderly.
Dubbed the “First Family of Hockey,” the Conacher family has a rich history that spans over generations making an impact in the sport.
Before the Richards, Sutters, or Howe siblings, one of the early great brother combinations in hockey was the Conacher family.
There was Charlie Conacher, back in the 1930s and he starred on Toronto's Kid Line with Joe Primeau and Busher Jackson. He was Bobby Hull before Bobby Hull was even born. With his heavy shot they called him The Big Bomber.
Multi-sport star, Lionel Conacher, nicknamed the ‘Big Train,’as good as he was at hockey, he was even better at other sports. Lionel was so good at lacrosse, football, wrestling, boxing and baseball he was dubbed Canada's Greatest Athlete. That was later confirmed in 1950 when he was named as Canada's athlete of the first half century.
Lastly, there was Roy Conacher. The youngster played in the 1940s, in the shadows of his brothers. He was a goal scorer who retired in 1952 with 226 goals in 490 games.
All three brothers were enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In 1966-67, Brian Conacher, (Lionel’s son) made the Leafs on a full time basis. He had a respectable 14 goals and 27 points in 66 games where he was utilized mostly as a role player. Conacher didn't mind, as he was part of the now much celebrated Leafs team that captured the Stanley Cup.
In total six members of the Conacher family played in the NHL and among them they proudly were a part of six Stanley Cup winning teams.
A dominant figure on the blueline for any team with which he played, Scott Stevens will be remembered with great enthusiasm as a leader, solid teammate, imposing bodychecker and of course a champion.
In 1635 regular season games, he collected 196 goals and 712 assists for 908 points. Probably most impressive for a defensive specialist, Stevens did not have a negative plus/minus in any of his 22 NHL seasons.
As a defenceman, Stevens played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, and the New Jersey Devils, serving as captain of the Devils from 1992 to 2004. Although offensively capable, Stevens was largely known for his defensive play and his heavy body checking on opponents.
During Stevens time with the Devils, he took on an increased role as the inspirational leader of the team. Stevens' thundering hits on opponents were key psychological elements in the Devils success. The Devils won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and and again in 2003.
Outside his NHL career, Stevens also represented Canada on the international stage at the World Championships in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989, the Canada Cup in 1991 and the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. In 1998, he was selected as part of Team Canada competing in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Stevens was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, in his first year of eligibility.
When Harnarayan Singh was a four-year-old living in Brooks, Alberta, he told his parents he wanted to be a hockey broadcaster, like Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada.
Growing up, Singh, would be doing his own commentary of the NHL games, and his family would have to tell him to turn the volume down so they could actually hear what was going on with the television.
Singh, of course, imagined calling games in English, like all the announcers on his television dial. He couldn’t have possibly predicted the future: that he’d one day become the ground-breaking voice of Canadian Sikhs, sharing hockey with a far-reaching community of Punjabi-speaking fans across the country.
In 2008, CBC offered Singh a chance to call a Penguins-Red Wings Stanley Cup game in Punjabi, Canada’s third most-spoken language, after English and French. The concept was well-received, and the network eventually evolved into a weekly broadcast.
Singh calls games every Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi as well as the Stanley Cup Playoffs, alongside a rotating cast of analysts. In 2016, his exuberant call of Penguins center Nick Bonino’s game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Finals went viral, opening him up to new audiences.
Singh, an unlikely face in hockey media, has become a success story who's living the Canadian dream.
Brian Kilrea hockey career, is most notable for his 35 year association with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League.
Kilrea nicknamed “Killer” has made an impact throughout his career as a player, general manager and coach.
While playing for the Los Angeles Kings, Kilrea scored the first goal in the team’s history on October 14, 1967.
After retiring as a player in 1970, Kilrea moved into the realm of coaching. He took over as coach of the OHA's Ottawa 67's and never looked back. He led the team to the Memorial Cup in 1984,and then joined the New York Islanders as an assistant to Al Arbour for his first and only taste of NHL coaching.
He returned to the Ottawa bench in 1986-87 and later won a second Memorial Cup in 1999. Kilrea developed an enormous list of future NHL stars, including Doug Wilson and Jim Fox. In the mid 1990's he was forced to assume a scouting role when his health suffered, but a short time later, he returned and set the Canadian junior record for coaching wins on January 17, 1997. The record 742nd win came courtesy of a 6-0 Ottawa thrashing of the North Bay Centennials to move past former Portland Winter Hawks coach Ken Hodge.
In 2002-03 Kilrea celebrated his 1,000th victory as a head coach in the CHL. Within months of this accomplishment, Brian Kilrea was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category.
Father David Bauer has been described as an inspirational coach, a caring educator, a master motivator and a dreamer. Bauer was devoted to the concept that education and hockey could mix. He viewed hockey as a means to develop a better person.
In 1953 after his ordination as a priest, Bauer returned to his alma mater St. Michael's College as a teacher and became coach of the school's junior team. During the 1960s he helped lead the team to a Memorial Cup, and helped introduce such future hockey stars as Dave Keon of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Gerry Cheevers of the Boston Bruins.
In 1962, Bauer took a position at the St. Mark's College and the University of British Columbia, where he came up with the idea to establish a national team of top amateurs from across Canada. The idea was presented to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) and by the end of 1962, Bauer's idea was accepted. Bauer made up his team of several top amateur players who became UBC students, and in 1964 they participated in the Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
Bauer was later coach and general manager for Canada in the 1968 Olympics, and general manager in the 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1969 world championships. He managed the 1980 Canadian Olympic team as well.
Among Bauer's many awards and honours are, winning the Olympic bronze in 1968 as general manager, World Championship bronze in 1964, 1966 and 1967 as general manager, the Memorial Cup in 1944 as a player and in 1961 as a trainer (coach), being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder in 1989, and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997, both posthumously.
Tom Henke, nicknamed “The Terminator” was one of the most dominant and feared closers in Major League Baseball, during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
During his career, Henke spent time pitching for the Texas Rangers (1982-84, 1993-94) Toronto Blue Jays (1985-92) and one season in the National League with the St. Louis Cardinals (1995.)
On the mound he was an imposing figure standing 6’ 5” and baffling hitters early in the count with his fastball, before using his forkball to strike out hitters.
During his 14 year career, Henke was named to the All Star Team twice, first in 1987 when he led the American League with 34 saves and 62 games finished and again in his last season in 1995. He compiled an impressive ratio of striking out 9.8 batters per nine innings pitched.
Henke is best known for his time with the Toronto Blue Jays, beginning when he was named the team’s closer in 1986 and compiling 217 saves during his tenure as a Blue Jay. He played an integral role in the Blue Jays first championship, a six game defeat of the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series.
He was the seventh reliever to eclipse the 300 saves plateau and upon his retirement, Henke’s 311 career saves ranked 5th on the all-time list.
Henke was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s Ontario in June, 2011.
Ottawa rugby legend Al Charron, a former Canadian captain, is considered by many Rugby experts, as the greatest forward Canada has ever produced.
Between 1990 and 2003, Charron earned 76 caps for Canada – remarkably, all as a starter – and represented his country at four Rugby World Cups. Five times he suited up with the famous Barbarians all-star squad and was part of the World 15’s side that faced Argentina in 1999.
He has also played professionally in England and France, but Charron has always called Ottawa home.
Canadian rugby observers admired over the years, how Charron, played the game, with courage, heart and vigour that came to exemplify our nation’s brand of rugby. A punishing tackler, he also was a ball hawk, whether he lined up in the second row of the pack or as a back row player.
At six feet five inches and 245 pounds at his prime back-row weight, Charron was incredibly mobile and had a nose for the try line with a game at stake. He scored World Cup tries and a massive try to beat Wales at Cardiff Arms Park in 1993, one of Canada’s greatest international victories in rugby.
Charron retired from the international rugby union on Canada's defeat of Tonga in the 2003 Rugby World Cup pool match.
He has received other accolades having been inducted into the Eastern Ontario Wall of Fame, Ontario Rugby Hall of Fame, Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, and has been recognised, as being one of the top 100 athletes to come from Ottawa.
She has been referred to as Canada's Shirley Temple, Elfi Schlegel tumbled into the hearts of Canadians and eventually into the homes of North Americans.
Schlegel was born to Swiss immigrants in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where she began gymnastics at the early age of seven.
When the 11th Commonwealth Games opened in Alberta in August 1978, 12-year-old Schlegel competed in the Commonwealth’s first gymnastics competition. She and her three teammates won the team gold medal, well ahead of England and New Zealand.
At the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Schlegel won a bronze medal as the third-best gymnast in the games, two silver medals for the uneven bars and vault, and a gold medal as a member of the first-place Canadian team. She also won a bronze medal in the vault at the 1980 World Cup in Toronto, the first-ever World Cup medal for a Canadian.
Two years later, she was selected as a member of the Canadian national team for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia, but was unable to participate when Canada joined the United States led boycott of the Moscow Games in protest of the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.
After her gymnastic career ended, the media darling became a media commentator, as Schlegel, ended up covering Commonwealth and Olympic games for CBC. Her broadcasting career later took her to NBC covering the Olympic women's gymnastics at the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games. The 2012 Summer Olympics was her tenth Olympics as a broadcaster.