Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

Western Ontario Athletic AssociationThe Western Ontario Athletic Association boasts longevity and a rich history of community service.

The W.O.A.A., a non-profit corporation, currently coordinates programs for 390 minor hockey teams, 5l women's hockey teams, 14 Senior hockey teams and 8 softball teams for a total of 463 teams. They are the governing body of minor and senior sports in a region encompassing Grey County, Bruce County, Perth County, Huron County, northern Middlesex County, and northern Wellington County. The WOAA Senior Hockey League has been around since 1948.

The organization itself has been in existence since 1942, when W.T. "Doc" Cruickshank saw his dream become a reality by forming a governing sports body for local hometown communities in southwestern Ontario.

Today, the W.O.A.A. are affiliated members of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, and Softball Ontario. They also have a close working relationship with the Ontario Amateur Softball Association.

In 2017, the W.O.A.A. celebrated their 75th Anniversary in conjunction with their 15th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament.

At the event, the W.O.A.A. recognized 23 local sport community builders who had volunteered numerous hours over the years for the betterment of their home centres, the youth and future sports programs. The W.O.A.A. were also pleased to welcome back "home" several local sports alumni to celebrate this milestone.

Dr. Frank HaydenDr. Frank Hayden, a sport scientist at the University of Toronto, is the official pioneer of the Special Olympics campaign.

In the early 1960s, a group of students at Toronto’s Beverley School became the test group for Dr. Frank Hayden. Dr. Hayden was studying the effects of regular exercise on the fitness levels of children with an intellectual disability.

Dr. Hayden’s research was recognized as nothing short of groundbreaking. His findings challenged the prevailing mindset of the day – one that claimed that it was the disability itself that prevented children from fully participating in play and recreation. Through rigorous scientific method, Dr. Hayden proved that it was simply a lack of opportunity to participate. Given that opportunity, people with an intellectual disability could acquire the necessary skills to participate in sport and become physically fit.

In summary, Dr. Hayden determined sport could have a transformative effect on the lives of those with an intellectual disability.

Hayden was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and a member of the Order of Ontario in 2012. A plaque in his honour was unveiled outside his former laboratory in Thames Hall at Western University in 2012.

He has also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School in Burlington, Ontario was named in his honour in 2013. In 2016, he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

We are very pleased to recognize Dr. Hayden as the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Prentice Legacy Award.

Harnarayan SinghFor many in the province of Ontario, the sound of Jerry Howarth’s voice means Toronto Blue Jays baseball and a warm summer day.

The York, Pa. native was raised in San Francisco. Howarth began his broadcast career in 1974 with the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League. The Blue Jays stalwart joined the club in 1981. He broadcasted an estimated 7,500 professional baseball games in his career.

Howarth called Toronto's back-to-back World Series victories in 1992 and 1993 with the late Tom Cheek.

Howarth used a steady, warm, conversational style throughout his long career. Perhaps he is best known for his “There She Goes!” home run call.

Starting at spring training each year, Howarth kept notes in a thick spiral notebook that he kept close at hand throughout the season. His preparation was meticulous. Howarth scored each game using a shorthand all his own.

A man of routine, he would provide consistent refrains while on the air. Howarth weaved stories from his decades in the sport through the broadcast. He often used trademark lines like “He scorrrrres” or “The Blue Jays are in flight” as he called the action.

In 2012, Howarth was awarded the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's Jack Graney Award.

Howarth coached high school basketball for 20 years at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute. He is also known for his active support and fundraising efforts on behalf of the Special Olympics.

Howarth, who became a Canadian citizen in 1994, lives in Toronto with his wife Mary. They have two sons, Joe and Ben.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:54

Paul Henderson

Paul HendersonLiving on Toronto Island, boats and sailing were an instructive part of Paul Henderson’s early life.

Henderson became a very active competitive sailor. He won medals at National, North American and World Championships. He holds the record for competing in all the Canadian Olympic Sailing Trials from 1948 to 1984.

Henderson represented Canada at three Olympic Games. In the 1964 Tokyo games, Henderson competed in the Flying Dutchman class. In Mexico City’s 1968 games, Henderson sailed in the Finn class. At the 1972 Munich games, Henderson coached the Canadian team. He also qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but could not participate when the games were boycotted.

Henderson was instrumental in assisting with the founding of the Water Rat Sailing Club in 1969 and the Outer Harbour Sailing Community, the Mooredale Sailing Club, the St. Jamestown Sailing Club and the Hanlan Boat Club.

He was a member of the founding group that set up CORK (Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston). Henderson first represented Canada at the International Yacht Racing Union in 1970 to advise on the sailing venue for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He stayed active for ISAF for over 30 years.

Henderson dedicated five years as a volunteer in his leadership of the Toronto Olympic Bid, hoping to host the 1996 Olympic Games. He was also consulted on the 2008 Olympic bid and for his insight to the 2010 Vancouver bid.

Henderson was elected President of the International Sailing Federation in 1994. He is the first non-European to ever hold this position.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:44

Paul Beeston

Paul BeestonPaul Beeston was one of the first people through the door when the Toronto Blue Jays came into existence back in 1976. He is truly a pillar within the baseball team’s front office and brain trust.

Beeston was the first employee hired by the Blue Jays in 1976. He saw the team through its 1990s glory years. He was hired as Vice President of Administration. Beeston later took over as Vice President of Business Operations ahead of the club's first full season in 1977. Beeston served as the team's President from 1989 to 1997. During that time he led the club to back-to-back World Series championships.

Beeston’s first retirement from baseball came in 2002 after a five-year run in Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office.

In 2008, Beeston returned for a second stint as Blue Jays president and CEO.

His second run with the team was capped in the fall of 2015. A gripping playoff run ended with a six-game loss to Kansas City in the American League Championship Series. He retired again in October of 2015.

His resume includes being named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1988. In 1998, Beeston was elected to the board of directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2002 he was inducted in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

He also worked as the President of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1994.

Beeston becomes the first Blue Jays employee to hold the title of President Emeritus.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:35

Joe Primeau

Joe PrimeauGentleman Joe Primeau was a playmaking wizard. He centered the 1930s famed “Kid Line” between Busher Jackson and Charlie Conacher. But Primeau got a late start as a hockey player.

Though born in Lindsay, Ontario, Primeau was raised in mild Victoria, British Columbia. Outdoor ice was almost non-existent. Not until his family moved to Toronto did he take up the sport. Hockey was a big part of the Primeau household, but Joe did not learn to skate until almost 13 years old.

Legendary sportsman and businessman Conn Smythe gets credit for discovering Primeau. While Smythe was building the New York Rangers, he brought in Primeau as a prospect. But the Rangers front office felt Primeau, at 5’11” and about 160 pounds, was too small and refused to sign him.

When Smythe was unceremoniously released by the Rangers, he rememberd the slick passing centerman. Smythe later joined the Toronto St. Patricks, a team later re-named to become the Maple Leafs. Signing Primeau was one of Smythe’s best moves. Primeau’s arrival took a while though, as his game needed polish. Primeau appeared only sparingly in his first two seasons. Most of those two years he spent with the minor league Toronto Ravinas.

Primeau found a permanent spot on the Leafs in 1929-30. The Kid Line appeared and changed hockey history forever. While Jackson and Conacher are remembered for their scoring theatrics, it was Primeau who was the glue of the unit.

Joe Primeau passed away on May 14, 1989 at the age of 83.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:19

Jack Donohue

Jack DonohueJack Donohue was a Canadian basketball coaching legend. He coached the men's national team from 1972 to 1988. Donohue is highly regarded for taking Canadian basketball to new heights.

A native New Yorker, Donohue officially began his international coaching career in 1972. He helped turn the Canadian squad into a force to be reckoned with. In Montreal in 1976, Donohue steered the Olympic Canadian squad with players like Phil Tollestrup, Bill Robinson, Lars Hansen, James Russell and Martin Riley to a fourth-place finish.

At the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton, Donohue guided the Canadian squad to gold and glory. A year later, the team returned to the Olympic field. Led by guard Jay Triano, the side finished fourth. Donohue's last time at the helm was at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where Canada came in sixth.

Donohue’s indelible imprint on the sport precedes his time in Canada. He coached at the famous Power Memorial Academy in New York. One of his players was Lew Alcindor. Alcindor, who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, became one of the greatest players in the sport’s history.

From 1965 to 1972, Donohue led Holy Cross University in Massachusetts. He was twice named NCAA Division One Coach of the Year.

Donohue is enshrined in the Canada Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame, the New York Basketball Hall of Fame and the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:08

Dwayne De Rosario

Dwayne De RosarioFor this Scarborough Ontario native, don’t tell him that he can’t go home.

Dwayne De Rosario is currently an attacking midfielder for the Mississauga MetroStars of the Major Arena Soccer League. A versatile attacker, he played for the Toronto Lynx, FSV Zwickau and Richmond Kickers early in his career. He came to prominence in the 2000s playing in Major League Soccer for the San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls and D.C. United.

His resume includes four MLS Cup championships. De Rosario won the 2011 MLS Most Valuable Player award. He is the seventh-leading scorer in MLS history with 104 goals.

De Rosario represented Canada internationally from 1998 to 2015. He ranks as the squad’s all-time leading scorer, with 22 goals in 81 games. De Rosario is a 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion and four-time Canadian Player of the Year.

As part of the Canadian Soccer Association's 2012 centennial celebration, De Rosario was recognized by being named to the all-time Canada XI men's team.

De Rosario had announced his retirement on May 10, 2015. He moved into an ambassador role with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

In October, 2018 De Rosario came out of retirement to sign with the MASL's newly formed Mississauga MetroStars club. He later scored his first goal for the club in the MetroStars's opening match, an 11–3 loss away to the Baltimore Blast.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 16:03

Denis Potvin

Denis PotvinHelping set the tone as the leader of the blueline for the New York Islanders dynasty of the late 1970s and early 1980s era, Denis Potvin was a true commander on the ice.

Potvin surpassed all expectations and became the first NHL defenseman to score 1,000 career points. He was the cornerstone of the franchise's four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980 to 1983.

The Ottawa native had a wealth of natural talent. He excelled on the offensive rush. And he was a tough physical presence in his own end of the rink. He was one of the most complete blueliners to ever step onto the ice.

The leadership qualities demonstrated by Potvin, along with his exceptional talent at both ends of the ice, placed him in a category reserved for only a handful of NHL defensemen.

The talented defenseman distinguished himself on the international stage through his play on Canada's 1976 and 1981 Canada Cup teams. He retired at the conclusion of the 1987-88 season with regular-season totals of 310 goals and 1,052 points. In postseason play, Potvin tallied an additional 56 goals and 164 points during his career.

Potvin was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. The ceremony was held in his hometown of Ottawa for the first time.

The popular Potvin joined the broadcasting ranks post playing career. In 1993, he was hired to add colour to Florida Panthers television broadcasts, remaining until 2009. In 2010, he was hired as an analyst on Ottawa Senators television broadcasts. He returned to the Panthers telecasts in 2014.

Sunday, 24 February 2019 15:57

Angela James

Angela JamesAngela James has been called "the first superstar of modern women's hockey". She has been hailed as a pioneer who brought the women's game into the mainstream.

The Toronto native had a reputation as a big, tough and talented player who could score goals. As a result, she also drew comparisons to Mark Messier of the NHL. In 1990, James scored 11 goals in five games at the first world championship in women's hockey (held in Ottawa), leading the Canadian team to its first gold medal. She also led the women's team to the world championship title in 1992 (Tampere, Finland), 1994 (Lake Placid, US) and 1997 (Kitchener, ON.)

An eight-time scoring champion and six-time most valuable player during her senior career, James has been honoured by several organizations. She was named Toronto's Youth of the Year in 1985. In 1992, James was presented the city's Women in Sport Enhancement Award. Hockey Canada named her the 2005 recipient of its Female Hockey Breakthrough Award.

The Flemingdon Park arena was renamed the Angela James Arena in 2009. The Canadian Women's Hockey League presents the Angela James Bowl to its leading scorer each season.

James has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, including the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

After earning a diploma in Recreation Facilities Management from Seneca College, James was hired by the school as a sports programmer in 1985. She continues to work for Seneca and is now a senior sports coordinator at its King campus.

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