Hall of Fame cel­e­brates 40th an­niver­sary

The Glengarry News - - Sports In The Glens - News

BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK

Staff Four area sports greats and two sur­viv­ing founders of the Alexan­dria Ju­nior ‘ B’ Glens Hockey Club were of­fi­cially hon­oured at the 40th an­niver­sary edi­tion Glen­garry Sports Hall of Fame (GSHOF) 2018 in­duc­tion cer­e­monies and ban­quet, held on Satur­day, Aug. 15.

Over 400 peo­ple at­tended the evening af­fair, their ta­bles fill­ing the Glen­garry Sports Palace (Billy Geb­bie Arena) to com­fort­able ca­pac­ity.

Also hon­oured were six­teen out­stand­ing young grad­u­at­ing ath­letes, from the re­gion’s high schools, who were seated on a daïs in front of the el­e­vated head ta­ble.

The 2018 Hall in­ductees were Ge­orge Cur­rier of Maxville, Kent MacSweyn of Lag­gan, the late Gary Shep­herd of Alexan­dria, Colleen Cameron-We­ter­ing, for­mally of Alexan­dria and now of Pick­er­ing, Ont., and Guy Cho­lette and Wal­lace Hope of Alexan­dria, rep­re­sent­ing the found­ing mem­bers of the Ju­nior ‘B’ Glens, from 1967.

This year’s ban­quet was again em­ceed by John Hope, who kept the evening on track.

In his open­ing re­marks, he asked the au­di­ence for a round of ap­plause for the GSHOF, say­ing, “Forty years ladies and gentle­men this has been go­ing on, and it’s be­come a Glen­garry in­sti­tu­tion.”

Chris Mac­Donell, mayor of North Glen­garry, wel­comed guests in the au­di­ence, sin­gling out the ju­nior ta­ble and de­scrib­ing how the se­nior hon­ourees had “spent end­less hours to per­fect their skill and achieve their goals,” and then after re­tir­ing had spent a great many “years giv­ing back to their com­mu­nity by coach­ing and train­ing Glen­garry’s young ath­letes.”

One such 2018 in­ductee was Mr. Cur­rier, a life­long vol­un­teer who was rec­og­nized in 2012 with the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Medal, which hon­ours sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions and achieve­ments by Cana­di­ans. He served as a North Glen­garry coun­cil­lor, and later, reeve, for 27 years, re­ceiv­ing the county’s 2017 Life­time Achieve­ment Award. In 2014, he was pre­sented On­tario’s Se­nior Achieve­ment Award, and he is a 45- year mem­ber – twice pres­i­dent – of the Maxville & District Lions Club.

So it was only fit­ting that Mr. Cur­rier’s con­tri­bu­tions to Glen­garry sport also be cel­e­brated, adding to his list of trib­utes.

His sports ca­reer be­gan early – he played var­i­ous sports through­out his life, in­clud­ing peewee, ban­tam, mid­get, and old-timers hockey. He coached Maxville’s ju­nior ‘B’ hockey team for eight years, lead­ing the club to the East­ern On­tario Cham­pi­onship, in 1966.

With his brother Edgar, he founded the com­mu­nity’s first broom­ball league, and his many vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded or­ga­niz­ing char­ity bon­spiels and other fundrais­ers.

The ex­tended Cur­rier fam­ily and friends ar­rived for the event by bus from Maxville, the ride do­nated by fam­ily friend Ge­orge Vil­leneuve, of Roxbor­ough Bus Lines. In front of the daïs there was a sweep of ta­bles seat­ing Vil­l­leneuves, Maxville Lions, and Cur­rier fam­ily and friends.

In ac­cept­ing his award, Mr. Cur­rier asked his two great­grand­chil­dren, Talon St. Louis, 11, and his sis­ter Tessa, 7, who live near their grand­par­ents’ house in Maxville, to join him at the podium where he thanked his wife of 57 years, An­nette, his fam­ily, his sports col­leagues, his fel­low Lions, and his friends and sup­port­ers.

An­other in­ductee who con­tin­ued to coach and or­ga­nize sports after his own ca­reer on the ice and pitch was over, was hon­ouree Kent MacSweyn, an out­stand­ing Glen­garry sports­man who, as a young teen, honed his hockey skills with the Pine Grove team and played his soccer with McCrim­mon / Lag­gan.

At 16, he was re­cruited by the fa­mous Lochiel men’s team, the

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year the group won the county’s soccer cham­pi­onship.

Mr. MacSweyn was named Most Gen­tle­manly Player in 1955 and 1957, as well as Most Valu­able Player in 1959.

Ex­celling in mi­nor and ju­nior hockey, he went on to be named cap­tain of the Glens. He was spot­ted, while with the Ju­nior Glens, by St. Pa­trick’s High School with whom he was of­fered a chance to play on the school’s team, an af­fil­i­ate of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In­stead, he re­turned to Glen­garry, be­fore pur­su­ing a teach­ing ca­reer that took him to Europe, where he con­tin­ued to play hockey.

Mr. MacSweyn re­turned to the county in 1969 to take up the po­si­tion of prin­ci­pal of Lag­gan Pub­lic School, where he stayed for 27 years un­til his re­tire­ment, in 1995.

Dur­ing this time, he was a force, or­ga­niz­ing and coach­ing mi­nor soccer, serv­ing as di­rec­tor of the Alexan­dria & District Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion, and be­ing in­volved in many ini­tia­tives or­ga­niz­ing recre­ational sport in Lochiel and Kenyon town­ships.

Guy Cho­lette and Wal­lace Hope mounted the in­ductee stage after their ac­cep­tance speeches and looked up at a framed plaque with their pho­tos and those of their fel­low Ju­nior ‘ B’ Glens Hockey Club found­ing mem­bers: Gilles Lefebvre, A.W. Hope, Gary Shep­herd, Dun­can Mac­Donell, Wil­fred Me­nard, Dun­can Mor­ris, J.P. Touchette, and Roger Roy.

It was Mr. Cho­lette, with help from for­mer Glen­gar­rian JeanLuc Caron, who, in 1967, reached out to fel­low Alexan­dria busi­ness­men to help es­tab­lish a new ju­nior hockey club, where lo­cal mi­nor hockey play­ers could con­tinue their ca­reers. Their faith in the project and fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion brought the club to a state of ma­tu­rity, con­tribut­ing to the growth and de­vel­op­ment of hockey in Glen­garry.

One of the most ar­dent sup­port­ers of hockey and sport

in Glen­garry was the late Gary Shep­herd, who was in­ducted both in­di­vid­u­ally and as a found­ing mem­ber of the Ju­nior ‘B’ Glens.

There was hardly a per­son in the room who didn’t know Mr. Shep­herd from his 23 years on North Glen­garry coun­cil and as owner of Shep­herd Mo­tors.

He was an all-round ath­lete, ex­celling at hockey in high school, and in soccer for the Lochiel Loks, and later as pres­i­dent of the Ju­nior B’s board of di­rec­tors.

Colleen Shep­herd ac­cepted on be­half of her late hus­band, do­ing pre­cisely as Gary would have wanted, re­gal­ing the room with anec­dotes about Gary’s var­i­ous fish­ing trip es­capades, and, to know­ing laugh­ter from the au­di­ence, how when she would drop into Shep­herd Mo­tors to find Gary in his cus­tom­ary hud­dle with sports or po­lit­i­cal col­leagues, an im­me­di­ate si­lence would drop.

The fi­nal in­ductee was the fit and youth­ful Colleen Cameron-We­ter­ing, 58, an all-round ath­lete whose in­duc­tion brought a large gath­er­ing of her many fam­ily mem­bers and friends in Glen­garry.

“This seems a lit­tle sur­real,” said Ms. Cameron-We­ter­ing look­ing out over the room at the start of her ac­cep­tance speech. Now liv­ing in Pick­er­ing, where she and her high school sweet­heart, Henri We­ter­ing of Lan­caster, raised three chil­dren and have a one-year-old grand­son, Logan, Colleen con­tin­ues to play bas­ket­ball. She com­peted with the Scar­bor­ough United Women’s Soccer Club, from 1997 to 2000.

“I love all sports and will con­tinue to play as long as I’m able,” noted the for­mer three-time Most Valu­able Player in bas­ket­ball at Glen­garry District High School, where she also ex­celled in track and field, won many awards, and qual­i­fied for EOSSAA.

The evening’s guest speaker was Bob Daw­son, from Mart­in­town, who, as owner and pres­i­dent of Mad Moose Pro­duc­tions, and after a long news and sports broad­cast­ing ca­reer, has a life­time of in­sider anec­dotes, in­clud­ing as an em­bed­ded re­porter dur­ing the Viet­nam War, where he saw the power of sport in play.

His speech touched on some of the in­ter­est­ing peo­ple he has met in his broad ca­reer as a news an­chor and di­rec­tor, tele­vi­sion ex­ec­u­tive, and hockey cov­er­age pro­ducer in Canada.

Mr. Daw­son ended his speech telling the au­di­ence, “This or­ga­ni­za­tion is one of the best I’ve seen, and my wife Me­lanie and I travel around this coun­try a lot, and I have spo­ken at many Halls of Fame and other or­ga­ni­za­tions ded­i­cated to sports.”

He asked the au­di­ence to take a sec­ond look around their ta­ble and around and the room. “You’re all heroes; this is a tremen­dous or­ga­ni­za­tion. And, your Hall of Fame in Maxville is beau­ti­ful and one of the best in the coun­try – you should be very, very proud of it.”

Spe­cial men­tion must be made of this year’s por­traits of the in­ductees.

This year’s paint­ings, by GSHOF por­trait painter Deb­o­rah Kerr, truly cap­tured each of the hon­ourees and their sports mi­lieu.

On a sad note, it was very hot in the Billy Geb­bie arena last Wed­nes­day night, and just as the evening was clos­ing, Ge­orge Cur­rier was asked to pose for a photo with his por­trait.

He stepped back­wards, catch­ing his heel on the stage cur­tain’s frame­work, los­ing his bal­ance and tak­ing a hard fall back­wards off the five-foot-high stage.

Mr. Cur­rier is home now, re­cov­er­ing, after an overnight stay in hos­pi­tal, in Corn­wall, where a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­mark­ably re­vealed noth­ing bro­ken. But, as he says in typ­i­cal good hu­mour, echo­ing his at­tend­ing doc­tor at the hos­pi­tal, he is dis­cov­er­ing some­thing new that hurts every day.

Dark­ness de­scends over the soccer pitch at Lochiel.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

HON­OURED: The in­ductee stage from left, with Colleen Cameron-We­ter­ing, Colleen Shep­herd (on be­half of her late hus­band Gary), Kent MacSweyn, Ge­orge Cur­rier, and Wal­lace Hope (rep­re­sent­ing the ju­nior ‘B’ Glens). Above them are the por­traits which will be hung in the Glen­garry Sports Hall of Fame. For more images from the Aug. 15 in­duc­tion din­ner and cer­e­monies, please see our on­line gallery at glen­gar­rynews.ca/pho­tos

LIAM MACDON­ALD

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