WESTVILLE — A near-capacity crowd witnessed inductions and tributes to the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame as it celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Emcee Fergie MacKay paid tribute to initial chairman Billy Dee who founded the hall of fame in 1989.
“I knew Billy Dee and he put his heart and soul into the sports hall of fame,” MacKay said, while quoting American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said, “An institution is the lengthening shadow of one man.”
“The hall of fame is truly the lengthening shadow of Billy Dee,” MacKay said.
The 1993 Royal Canadian Legion national curling champions were inducted first so that team member Haylett Clarke could rejoin his foursome at the 55-Plus provincial curling championship in St. Andrew’s.
Clarke and fellow team members John Marshall, Vic Belliveau and Lowell Jenkins combined to win the 65-Plus Division.
Jim Nix skipped Peter Neily, James Barr and Marc Essiambre to the 55-Plus gold medal.
Athletes inducted include auto racer Joe Baker, softball player Vicki Turnbull and hockey players Colin White (in absentia) and Jon Sim.
Two athletes were inducted posthumously: harness racers Joe O’Brien and George “Stonewall” Jackson, who excelled at tennis, cricket and rugby. He was the first president of the Abercrombie Golf Club when it opened in 1919, was active with the Bluenose Curling Club and was at one time president of Union Driving and Trotting Club.
Builders Barry Wisener, Alvin Sinclair, Pat Carty and Roger Swarbrick accepted their induction certificates, while Eben MacIsaac and Lloyd Sutherland were inducted posthumously.
Wisener was touted for following his playing days by co-hosting a hockey school for eight years and helping to develop female hockey in Nova Scotia.
Carty was celebrated for his past and current work in high school coaching and as the driving force behind establishing and operating Pictou County Athletics and the Pioneer Coal track and field facility in Stellarton.
Sinclair was cited for his work in school sports and golf and Swarbrick for his rugby coaching and officiating achievements.
Sutherland was an accomplished rugby player who coached various school sports, while MacIsaac was an architect of organized softball in Nova Scotia.
Sportsnet host and Pictou native Ken Reid was inducted in the media category and received his certificate from former physical education instructor Alan Jankov. Reid dropped the puck later Saturday for the major bantam hockey game hosted by the Wear Well Bombers coached by Sim.
Other teams inducted included the Stellarton Junior C Royals and New Glasgow Panthers “Six Survivors” in hockey, Munro Juniors in softball and the Women Alike Abreast A River dragon boat team.
John Guthro, who scored the winning goal in overtime that sent the Royals to the provincial championship that the team won in Yarmouth 1987, inttroduced team members who attended.
The Panthers won series against teams from Windsor and Digby despite their roster being reduced to six players when two team members were deemed to have not registered with the Maritime Amateur Hockey Association.
The Munro Juniors won the Nova Scotia championship and placed fifth in the national championship in 1985.
There were touching moments to end the ceremony as the Women Alike Abreast A River dragon boat team was honoured with the Hugh Murray Humanitarian award and names of about 90 present, former and deceased paddlers with Women Alike were read.
From left: Haylett Clarke, Merle Pratt, Cecil McIver and Wayne Mombourquette on behalf of his late father Fred received hall of fame induction certificates. (Goodwin photo)