Women in sports pi­o­neer in­ducted

The Casket - - Sports - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­blanc@the­cas­ket.ca

Jane Han­ley-macgillivray, a pi­o­neer in women’s sports, is now a mem­ber of the St. F.X. Sports Hall of Fame.

“I am just amazed to stand here – 50 years later – to re­ceive this recog­ni­tion and this hon­our, es­pe­cially as a builder,” she said.

She added she was “just de­lighted that so many women are join­ing me tonight,” in­clud­ing fel­low in­ductees the 2006 Xwomen rugby team, which Han­ley-macgillivray ac­knowl­edged with a wide smile and dou­ble thumbs up.

Be­fore putting her stamp on women’s sports as a builder, she ex­celled as an ath­lete, in­clud­ing as player-coach of the Antigo­nish Scots, a team that cap­tured a se­nior na­tional bas­ket­ball crown in 1964.

Han­ley-macgillivray, who coached the Mount Saint Bernard Col­lege squad from 1964 to 1968, was hired as the school’s di­rec­tor of women’s ath­let­ics in 1965.

“I am cred­ited with a lot of things, but this all started with the Con­gre­ga­tion of Notre Dame (CND), when they de­cided to hire me to coach and then hired me to do sev­eral other things,” she said.

Along with bas­ket­ball, Han­ley­macgillivray coached sev­eral other sports, in­clud­ing vol­ley­ball, field hockey and bad­minton.

“And teach the 101 course that I knew noth­ing about,” she noted, with a laugh.

Peggy Gal­lant, who read her friend’s ci­ta­tion, said “Jane helped to lay the foun­da­tion for women’s sport at St. F.X.”

As an ex­am­ple of her in­ge­nu­ity and de­ter­mi­na­tion, Gal­lant re­flected on how Han­ley-macgillivray brought field hockey to the cam­pus, which came af­ter a week­long visit to Maine.

To fill the need for cleats, she or­dered Ox­fords from the Sears cat­a­logue and had St. F.X. main­te­nance staff fit them with cleats.

“Some­one who al­ways dis­played ex­cep­tional agency; if some­thing needed to be done, Jane did it,” Gal­lant said.

Han­ley-macgillivray was at the fore­front of the push for changes to women’s bas­ket­ball which, at that time, was played with six play­ers and not full court, be­cause the ‘pow­ers-that-be’ that gov­erned the sport thought it was ‘too chal­leng­ing’ for women.

“Jane never got the memo,” Gal­lant said, not­ing her teams played full court and with five play­ers aside.

Han­ley-macgillivray and other fe­male ath­letic di­rec­tors from across the Mar­itimes pushed for change.

“With great co­op­er­a­tion, these pi­o­neers ad­vo­cated for uni­fied rules of play, ex­tended or­ga­nized leagues and tour­na­ments, ref­eree de­vel­op­ment and much more,” Gal­lant said.

“Their de­lib­er­a­tions and ef­forts to im­prove the fe­male ath­letic ex­pe­ri­ence would im­pact how women ath­letes at in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing could en­joy an ath­letic ex­pe­ri­ence that would con­trib­ute to their de­vel­op­ment and have a last­ing ef­fect for years to come.”

Paul Hur­ford

Jane Han­ley-macgillivray re­ceives her St. F.X. Sports Hall of Fame plaque from Pres­i­dent Kent Mac­don­ald (left) and Di­rec­tor of Ath­let­ics and Recre­ation Leo Macpher­son.

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