Ontario Sports Hall of Fame
Get your tickets now for the 2021 Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Induction Gala, to be held Monday, May 31, 2021 at the John Bassett Theatre in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Enjoy a great evening out rubbing elbows with sports celebrities.
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Bianca Andreescu’s astronomical rise up the ranks of tennis began with her first WTA tournament victory at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters.
Despite entering the year having not played a WTA match in over 14 months, Andreescu had a breakthrough season that took her from well outside the top 100 into the upper echelon of women's tennis.
Andreescu, 19, from Mississauga, ON began playing tennis in Pitești at the age of seven while living in Romania.
Andreescu has built an impressive resume with her masterful performances in 2019, as the reigning champion at the US Open and the Canadian Open, having defeated Serena Williams to win both titles. She is the first Canadian tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title, and the first to win the Canadian Open in 50 years. Keeping with the theme of being ‘first’, Andreescu is also the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Maria Sharapova in 2006.
Andreescu employs a wide variety of shots into her style of play that is set apart by the level of power that she incorporates into her game.
At year's end, Andreescu's results led to her being awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually by a panel of sportswriters to the person deemed Canada's top athlete. She was the first tennis player to receive the trophy. She also received the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award, as The Canadian Press' choice for the country's top female athlete.
Coming off an extraordinary 2019 full of accolades, Andreescu will be adding the 2020 Syl Apps Ontario Athlete of the Year award to her list of accomplishments.
Passion, longevity, and competitiveness are just a few of the attributes that make up Jack Dominico.
Dominico had a background in newspapers. He sold ads for the North Bay Nugget and Etobicoke Guardian. He met his wife Lynne at the Guardian. Their shared love of baseball led to the Toronto Maple Leafs and that little pressbox high atop the hill behind home plate.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team of the Intercounty Baseball League, based in Toronto, Ontario. They play their home games on "Dominico Field" at Christie Pits. They are also known colloquially as the Intercounty Maple Leafs or the Intercounty Leafs to disambiguate themselves from the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.
The Dominicos made the Christie Pits hillside into a place to enjoy economically friendly entertainment. The phrase "economically friendly" may be an understatement considering no admission is charged to fans for pulling up a patch of grass. It’s a business model it seems only Dominico can pull off.
Dominico is passionate in his support of youth baseball and the community surrounding Christie Pits. He has held numerous weekend baseball clinics for those involved in the Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball program where young players can learn skills from talented players on his Toronto Maple Leafs team.
Since its inception the team has won the Jack and Lynne Dominico Trophy as Intercounty Baseball champions eight times, the first in 1972. During their 2002 championship season, the Leafs were undefeated at home, a league first.
The team was owned by husband and wife Jack and Lynne Dominico for the first 40 years of its existence, but has since been owned exclusively by Jack after Lynne's passing on November 8, 2008.
The Canadian Open is a professional golf tournament in Canada. It is co-organized by Golf Canada (formerly known as the Royal Canadian Golf Association) and the PGA Tour.
It was first played 116 years ago in 1904, and has been held annually since then, except for during World War I and World War II. It is the third oldest continuously running tournament on the tour, after The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. It is the only national championship that is a PGA Tour-managed event.
Glen Abbey Golf Club of Oakville, Ontario has hosted 30 Open Championships (1977–79, 1981–96, 1998–2000, 2004, 2008–09, 2013, 2015-2018), and has crowned 24 different champions. Glen Abbey was designed in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus for the Royal Canadian Golf Association, to serve as the permanent home for the championship. The 11th hole at Glen Abbey is widely considered its signature hole, and begins the world-famous valley sequence of five holes from 11 to 15.
In the mid-1990s, the RCGA decided to move the championship around the country, and continues to alternate between Glen Abbey and other clubs. A Canadian has not won the Canadian Open since Pat Fletcher in 1954.
The championship has for the most part been held in Ontario and Quebec, between them having seen all but nine Opens. New Brunswick had the Open in 1939, Manitoba in 1952 and 1961, Alberta in 1958, and British Columbia in 1948, 1954, 1966, 2005 and 2011.
Toronto’s Gordon Craig got his start in television in Winnipeg when he opted to join CBC rather than continue his university studies. It wasn’t long before he was moved to Toronto and into the TV sports department, where he soon began to produce curling shows under a variety of titles.
One of Canada’s proudest moments came in 1976, when Montreal hosted the Olympic Summer Games. As executive producer of CBC’s coverage, Craig joined the fight to finally convince senior management that CBC must go wall-to-wall with Olympic programming, breaking only for news. This revolutionary move was to become the standard for all future Olympic coverage. It also planted the seed that grew into a visionary idea. Why not develop a 24-hour sports television service for Canada? After all, specialty television had just launched in the United States and was gaining some traction.
In the early 1980s, Craig left CBC to pursue his dream. All he needed to do was find a company with a love of sports, deep pockets and convince them that in a country one-tenth the size of the U.S. with a relatively miniscule number of cabled homes, his idea would work. It was Peter Widdrington, then Chairman and CEO of Labatt Brewing Company, who gave him the chance.
On September 1, 1984, TSN was born. Television sports coverage was immediately revolutionized in this country. First as a pay service and later moving to basic cable, TSN rapidly grew and became the anchor for the growth of cable in Canada. In 1988, TSN received international acclaim as the first cable specialty service to carry the Olympic games, with 115 hours of coverage from Calgary.
Toronto native Tom Watt's excellent teaching ability led to a successful coaching career at both his collegiate alma matter and at the professional level.
In 15 hockey seasons (1965-79, 1984-85), Tom Watt guided the University of Toronto Blues to 11 OUAA titles and 9 CIAU national championships, including 8 consecutive OUAA titles (1966-73) and 5 consecutive CIAU championships (1969-73). In 1971, he was named the first recipient of the CIAU Hockey Coach of the Year Award.
Watt broke into the NHL coaching ranks as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks in 1980–81. His first NHL head coaching experience came with the Winnipeg Jets, whom he guided for two-plus seasons (1981 to 1984).
In 1981–82, Watt helped the Jets to a 48-point improvement in the standings, and was named Coach of the Year, winning the Jack Adams Award for his efforts.
He held the positions of head coach and assistant general manager with the Canucks for two seasons beginning in 1985–86. Watt was then an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames from 1988 to 1990, including the Stanley Cup-winning 1989 club.
In 1990, he was hired in as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and took over as head coach just 12 games into the 1990–91 NHL season. After two seasons behind the Maple Leafs' bench, he served within the Toronto organization as director of professional development in 1992–93 and director of pro scouting in 1993–94.
His career has allowed him to live all over the country, an opportunity for which he is thankful and proud of.
Born in Toronto and raised in Vancouver, ultra-competitive Brian Budd enjoyed widespread fame after winning three successive World Superstars championships (1977-79) in a U.S.-based, made-for-TV competition.
Previously unknown, the Canadian was so dominant that an unofficial "Budd rule" was proclaimed, limiting any one athlete to winning a maximum of three times.
Taking up soccer seriously only late in his teens, Budd won a Canadian championship with the University of British Columbia and went on to win seven caps with Canada's senior national team. He played seven seasons in the North American Soccer League at a time that the sport enjoyed a huge surge of popularity.
He began his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1974 in the team's inaugural season and his career also included stints with Colorado, Toronto and Houston in the North American Soccer League and Ayr United reserves in Scotland. Additionally, Budd played indoors for the Cleveland Force and Baltimore Blast.
He went on to play for Canada, scoring in a key 3-0 win over the U.S. in a World Cup playoff in Haiti in 1976 that got Canada to the final round of qualifying in CONCACAF.
Following his retirement, Budd became a colour commentator on Toronto Blizzard broadcasts in 1982 and was the club's director of public affairs until the end of 1983. He also provided reports from Spain of the 1982 FIFA World Cup for CKEY (AM) in Toronto.
Budd worked until his death, as a soccer analyst on The Score's The Footy Show.
While growing up in Scarborough, Ontario, future hockey star Brad Park often skated with and against older kids. He developed into a strong player and was part of the Scarborough Lions team that won the first Quebec Peewee Tournament in 1960.
He was still small at age 15, standing only 5 feet tall. But Park grew eight inches in a year. When he tried out for the Toronto Marlboros in 1965, he got noticed quickly for his physicality. During the first scrimmage, he slammed info Brent Imlach, son of Maple Leafs coach and GM Punch, and knocked him out. Park made the team and, in 1967, starred for the Memorial Cup champions.
In 1966, the New York Rangers made Park a first-round draft pick, taking him second overall. In 1968, after a brief stint in the AHL with the Buffalo Bisons, Park made the big league team.
Park split his 17-year NHL career between the Rangers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings.
While in the ‘Big Apple,’ Park became the Rangers' best defenceman. His play drew comparisons with the great Bobby Orr. Both were credited with revolutionizing the "offensive" defenceman.
In his final two seasons, Park helped the struggling Red Wings make the playoffs. This feat helped Park set an NHL record. He qualified for the postseason in each of his 17 NHL seasons. The previous record holder was Jean Beliveau with 16 straight playoff appearances.
When he retired in 1985, Park was the all-time leader among NHL defencemen with 683 assists and ranked third in goals (214) and points (896). He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, in his first year of eligibility.
It is difficult to quantify the chemistry of a team, especially in a sport such as figure skating, where outstanding pairs must combine individual excellence with flawless teamwork.
But if longevity at the highest levels of success is any measure, Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini were one of Canada's most successful figure skating duos. Both began skating at age five, but they met at a summer skating school in Weston, Ontario, in 1977, when she was 14 and he was 16.
Underhill and Martini combined emotion in their choreography with dramatic death spirals, triple twist lifts and spectacular throws. They were five-time Canadian champions (1979-83) and two-time World medalists (bronze in 1983 bronze, gold in 1984).
The breakthrough at the world championships for Underhill and Martini came in 1983 at Helsinki, where a near-flawless performance earned them a bronze medal, behind pairs from the Soviet Union and East Germany. It was Canada's first Olympic or world championship medal in pairs figure skating since Debbie Wilkes and Guy Revell had won world championship bronze in 1964.
Their 1984 World Championships long program in Canada is considered one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history. They were two-time Olympic competitors (1980, 1984).
After winning their world title in 1984 following a disappointing Olympics, where they failed to win medals, Underhill and Martini enjoyed an illustrious professional career, touring and commentating on skating on Canadian television for another 19 years.
Underhill was named in the 2011 edition of The Hockey News's list of the 100 most influential people in ice hockey due to her power skating coaching.