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Leaside Sports Hall of Fame

Leaside Sports Hall of FameThe Leaside Sports Hall of Fame has announced the names of the first group of athletes and builders who will be inducted into the newly-established hall.

“These 10 outstanding individuals represent the wide range of Leaside’s rich and colourful sports heritage,” said Bill Watters, former assistant GM with the Toronto Maple Leafs and long-time former Leaside resident, who was a member of the selection committee.

Profiles of the 10 inaugural inductees can be found on pages 20-21.

They will be honoured at the induction ceremony and reception in the William Lea Room at Leaside Gardens on Nov. 29. The community is invited. Tickets go on sale in October.

Inductees will also be highlighted in a permanent Hall of Fame display inside the new arena.

“By honouring the great athletes from Leaside’s past, and the most notable coaches, officials and other volunteers who have contributed to our sports tradition, we also hope to inspire the next generation of athletes and volunteers,” said Ray White, chair of the arena board at Leaside Gardens.

The Hall of Fame has been established as a committee of the East York Foundation – so it can issue tax receipts for charitable donations – with representatives from each of  Leaside’s major sports associations, including baseball, curling, hockey, lawn bowling, skating, soccer and tennis.

No athletes who are still competing were among the initial group of inductees. Instead, the hall will be announcing a Leaside Athlete of the Year for 2013 during the lead up to the event on Nov. 29.

“That idea came from Bill Watters,” said historian Michael Bliss, also a member of the selection committee. “We thought it would be unfair to put undue pressure on an athlete who is still in mid-career. This is a nice way around that; it can become an annual thing and in future years the local sports groups and the high school can get their players, parents and coaches involved to help select the athlete of the year.”

Former U of T field hockey star and 1984 Olympian Phyllis Ellis, the third community member of the selection committee, is a passionate advocate for women in sport. “Each of the three women among this initial group of inductees is eminently deserving of this recognition,” she said. “And it’s great that two of them are gifted coaches inspiring more young women to participate in sport and achieve their full potential as athletes.”

Nominations for next year’s Hall of Fame inductees and Athlete of the Year will be welcomed and will be due in September, 2014. For details about the selection criteria and process, and for other information about the hall including inductee profiles, visit www.leasidesports.com