Gallant enters N.S. Hall of Fame


HALIFAX — Peggy Gallant said she was overwhelmed by her induction into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

Gallant was among four athletes, two builders and a team enshrined into the hall of fame during a ceremony last Friday in Halifax. She was named in the builder category.

“It’s just wonderful,” she said. “I was very nervous about it.”

Born in Stellarton, Margaret (Peggy) Gallant grew up there and earned a physical education degree at St. Francis Xavier University and was cited for her years as an educator, coach and advocate of women’s equality in athletics and other life pursuits.

She resides in Antigonish and summers in Pictou County.

“I love Stellarton,” she said. “I’ve never forgotten my roots.”

St. F.X. president Kent MacDonald presented Gallant with her hall of fame plaque and recalls when he was one of her students.

“I’m absolutely pleased for her as a former professor of mine and in this way to celebrate women’s sports,” he said. “To see her recognized like this is absolutely fabulous. We look at it as normal now, how women have as many opportunities like that, but it wasn’t always like that. You needed that visionary person to achieve recognition for women’s sports, and Peggy has earned that.”

The atmosphere at the induction was upbeat from the start, as past inductees who attended the ceremony were introduced.

Members of the Thorburn Mohawks’ junior men’s softball team that was inducted in 2001 were the last ones saluted and received a rousing ovation as they stood.

Allan MacLaughlin said he was glad to accompany his fellow members of the team to the inductions and to have the team formally introduced before they began.

Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame made history by inducting a horse in the athletic category: the late harness racing champion Somebeachsomewhere.

Hall of Fame executive director Bruce Rainnie, who once again emceed the event, cited two precedents that help its induction committee decide on the pacer’s induction.

Basketball star Anna (Pendergast) Stammberger, national soccer standout Mary Beth Bowie and Olympic gymnast and Canadian champion Kristan Burley were the other athletes inducted.

Softball and basketball coach and course conductor Thomas Doucette was inducted posthumously, while members of the Saint Mary’s Huskies who won the national university men’s basketball championship in 1978 were also enshrined.

Peggy Gallant stands between St. Francis Xavier University president Kent MacDonald, left, and Marc Champoux, who currently chairs the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Hall of Fame board of directors. (Goodwin photo)