STELLARTON — Tributes are being paid to Leo Fahey after the prominent local sports figure’s recent passing.
Fahey died last Wednesday in hospital in New Glasgow. He was 93.
Born in 1924 in New Waterford, Fahey moved to Stellarton in 1947 and became part of a senior hockey team Bob Beaton assembled to play in what was then the new Stellarton Memorial Rink.
He was named to the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame, the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame, the latter in 2003 in the builder category. He also was inducted twice — as a player and as a coach — into New Waterford’s Hall of Fame.
“Leo was a staple of Stellarton, especially on the sport and recreation side of things,” Mayor Danny MacGillivray said. “He came to Stellarton in 1947 and the Town of Stellarton really benefit from that new arrival.”
Fahey is among Stellarton residents honoured for his accomplishments as an athlete, coach and mentor at Allen Park.
His son Gus Fahey was inducted into Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in the builder category in 2009.
“No matter how he felt, he did his morning exercise routine,” Gus said. “That was a priority to him for his physical and mental health.”
Besides hockey, Fahey was cited by the provincial Hall of Fame for his achievements in baseball, boxing, running and rugby.
Fahey was noted for having won the Maritime featherweight amateur boxing championship in 1942 and for declining a professional boxing career so that he could maintain his amateur status for baseball and hockey.
His baseball exploits include joining the Stellarton Albions for three seasons starting in 1948, while also coaching the Stellarton junior team. He also co-founded the Pictou County Twilight League after the famed Halifax and District Baseball League folded and was a player-coach for the Albions.
From the late 1940s Fahey began devoting time to coaching and conducting sports programs, coaching hockey, track and field and rugby at Stellarton High School from 1948 to 1957. He coached Stellarton’s male hockey team to a provincial Headmasters championship in the 1950s when there was only one division and long before the organization’s successor, the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation.
Fahey’s baseball instruction included helping another native Cape Bretoner, Eddie Gillis, direct Bluenose Baseball Camps throughout Nova Scotia.
Fahey directed baseball programs and was mindful to keep Albion Athletic Field in top playing condition.
More recently, Fahey organized baseball and hockey programs for moms so that they could enjoy the sports and appreciate the training and instruction their children undertook.
“I’m just amazed at the energy and passion he brought to0 his instruction over the years,” Gus said. “He never lost that passion. Even at 93 he was still instructing the girls.”
MacGillivray recalled the time in 2000 when Leo Fahey completed the Johnny Miles half marathon on skates.
“Those things certainly inspired people,” MacGillivray said. “We’re certainly sorry to see Leo pass away.”
Leo Fahey is shown from left with his sons Gus and Trevor on the occasion of GusyFahey’s induction into the Nova Sports Hall of Fame. (File photo)