The newly established Halton Hills Sports Museum will welcome six inductees into its Hall of Fame when the inaugural gala ceremony takes place Thursday, June 21 at the John Elliott Theatre in Georgetown. Two athletes and four builders were recently selected from several nominations submitted by members of the public in recognition of the inductees' achievements as residents of Halton Hills. Amateur golfer Mary Ann Lapointe and middle-distance runner Bruce Andrews were chosen for the athletes' category. Two of the builder inductees will be inducted posthumously-- National Hockey League referee and director of officiating John McCauley, along with one-time Skate Canada head Bob Howard, considered a key contributor to the growth of figure skating through the 1980s and '90s. Also set to be enshrined in the builder's category are a couple of longtime volunteers in youth sports-- Jim Ford and Hal Pells. Ford has been involved in almost all capacities of running the Kinsmen Girls' Softball League for nearly 40 years and was also an organizer for house league minor hockey. Pells has been president of the Georgetown Minor Hockey Association for the past 15 years and has overseen the implementation of skills development programs. Pictures and profiles of the half-dozen inductees will soon be on display in the Halton Hills Sports Museum's Resource Centre, located in the upstairs hall of the Mold-Masters SportsPlex. A permanent section in the room will be dedicated to the Hall of Fame inductees. Tickets for the gala ceremony at the John Elliott Theatre are $30 each and can be reserved through HHSM chair Finn Poustrup at 905-877-5165.
Mary Ann Lapointe
Guidelines for induction into the Halton Hills Sports Museum's state that a nominee can no longer be active in their sporting career, but an exception was made in the case of one of Canada's top amateur golfers over the past decade. Lapointe, 47, will also be inducted into the
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this July at her home North Halton Golf & Country Club course and she continues to play at an elite level, currently representing Canada at the Commonwealth Matches in South Africa. Three times each Lapointe has won the Canadian and Ontario ladies' amateur championships and in 2005 became the first nonAmerican golfer to capture the U.S. women's mid-amateur title. An accountant by profession with two teenage daughters, Lapointe says she never wonders about what a pro career in golf could have been like because she tried playing on a satellite tour 20 years ago and wasn't comfortable with the lifestyle.
Many Acton residents would consider the retired teacher a builder for his coaching pursuits with Bearcat high school teams and aren't aware of his prodigious track and field exploits some 40 years ago at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. A middle-distance runner, Andrews finished runner-up in the mile to future Commonwealth Games champion Bruce Kidd at the 1960 Ontario high school finals and won the Canadian juvenile cross-country title in 1956 and 1957. He received scholarship interest from U.S. colleges such as Notre Dame and Michigan State before choosing Seton Hall, also representing Canada at international meets. The 65-year-old's career highlight was winning the U.S. Two-Mile indoor relay championships in 1964 and 1965, captaining the Seton Hall team. "We went to all of the big indoor meets, Madison Square Garden, and to do what that two-mile relay team did was a big deal back then," the Georgetown resident said. "We had great coaches at Seton Hall. They were teaching things 50 years ago that the top athletes are still doing today."
Some builders are inducted for their dedication to grassroots level sports and others for their work on the international stage and the late Bob Howard falls into the latter category. Although he did serve as president of the Georgetown Skating Club in the early 1970s Howard rose through the ranks of Skate Canada to become its head in 1986, working to improve many facets of the organization. He is credited with advancing figure skating by establishing a marketing committee and helping to produce several Canadian medallists in international competition. Howard died suddenly in 2001 at the age of 68 while attending the World Figure Skating Championships in Vancouver at a time when the sport was at its peak in popularity worldwide. As well, he was commissioner on many International Skating Union committees that dealt with issues such as judging infractions.
When his son Ryan began playing hockey at the age of five, Hal Pells soon discovered that coaching one of his sons wasn't for him, preferring to work behind the scenes as a member of the Georgetown Minor Hockey Association's executive. Thirty-two years later, Pells is the guiding hand for the GMHA, boasting close to 1,800 youths signed up in house league, select or rep teams this past season. As president since 1992, the Etobicoke native sits on community sports committees besides the GMHA and is considered a tireless volunteer, spending countless evenings at the rink each year. "In a small town like ours, I just like the atmosphere that you find at the arena. It becomes part of a routine and it grows on you, working with the people involved with minor hockey," the 62-year-old said. "You just want to try to give back to the system what you got out of it as someone who loves the sport." Pells helped establish development programs in the GMHA, including the successful CHIP introductory level for beginners and a fund to help underprivileged youths play minor hockey each year.
Well known for his 10 years of work as a referee in the National Hockey League beginning in 1970, McCauley also was also a big name in lacrosse circles in southern Ontario. The Brampton native became the NHL's assistant director of officiating in 1981 after retiring from on-ice duties due to an eye injury, having officiated many memorable Stanley Cup contests. McCauley died from complications following surgery in June of 1989 at the age of 44 while still serving as the league's director of officiating. Among rule changes he helped institute was the delayed offside non-call to help speed up the pace of the game. On the lacrosse floor, `Gus' McCauley coached Brampton's Mann Cup national-champion squad in 1980 and oversaw Canada's winning entry at the World Field Lacrosse Championships in 1978. A huge men's recreational tournament is held in his memory each spring in Brampton.
Statistics are usually considered when looking back on an athletes' hall of fame carreer and a big number stands out when assessing Jim "Tubby" Ford's impact on youths as a sport builder in Halton Hills 8,000.
That's approximately how many girls who have played in the Kinsman Girls' Softball League in the four decades that Ford has been involved with the organization. Starting off as an umpire, he remains the commissioner and chief executive officer for the league, among many jobs he's undertaken as a volunteer. Ford, who turns 75 in October, also was involved with minor hockey for several years and he is the first person to receive the Georgetown Hockey Heritage Award as well as Halton Hills Sports Museum Hall of Fame induction. Ford is the only person ever to become an Honorary Member of the Kinsmen Club in Georgetown and last year earned the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. "It just becomes a habit and it's something I enjoy doing, so why not?" said Ford, longtime president of the Industrial Softball League. "We're fortunate in that we've had a lot of the same sponsors for over 30 years and they keep us going. I keep saying I'm going to give it up, but it never seems to happen."