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Obituary: Hamilton’s Bill Friday was NHL’s most-colourful ref

(May 14, 2024 by Scott Radley) He was just a kid back in the early 1970s when he travelled with his dad to an away game. These were the days of the Broad Street Bullies and the Philadelphia Spectrum could be a wild place when the rambunctious Flyers were wreaking havoc on the ice.

As dad got ready for work downstairs in the bowels of the rink, Don Friday and his siblings were led to their section by an arena employee. 

“Here are your seats,” the usher said. “Do not tell anybody who you are.”

Bill Friday, who was in the HSHOF’s inaugural Class of 2010, passed away on Monday.

Full story at thespec.com

Obituary: Founder of Transway basketball club changed ‘thousands’ of lives

(March 19, 2024 by Scott Radley) The question was simple. Who is most responsible for Hamilton being a longtime hotbed of girls’ basketball?

Doug Harrison,” says McMaster women’s coach Theresa Burns.

“Dougie Harrison,” agrees legendary hoops referee and whistle magnate Ron Foxcroft.

Full story at thespec.com

Doug Harrison obituary

Annual call for nominations

The deadline for nominations for our 2024 induction ceremony is March 31, 2024. You can read about the nomination guidelines and submit a nomination here.

Obituary: Willie Bethea was one of Tiger-Cats’ most special players

(Jan. 10, 2023 by Scott Radley) It didn’t matter that Willie Bethea was a heck of a football player and a major contributor to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ dynasty of the 1960s. (Willie Bethea was inducted to the HSHOF in 2010 as a member of the 1967 Ticats). It seemed like every training camp there was some hotshot running back brought in to take his spot.

But before each season’s opening kickoff, they’d be gone. And the man teammates called “X” would still be standing.

Why did they call him that?

Full story at thespec.com

Obituary: Boxing coach Vinnie Ryan ‘made champions’ inside and outside the ring

(Dec. 11, 2023 by Daniel Nolan) Vinnie Ryan discovered his passion for boxing when he was 10.

He got beat up in his native Dublin and his father decided it was time Ryan learned to defend himself. So, he took him to a boxing club and Ryan admitted to being scared.

He told the Spectator in 2006 his first bout was with the toughest kid in the gym.

“I closed my eyes, threw a straight left and hit him right in the nose,” Ryan said. “He went down and was pumping blood. I said, ‘Hey, get up. This is fun.’”

That first bout would lead Ryan, who died at age 84 on Oct. 31, to become a Canadian boxing legend.

Full story at the spec.com

Veteran broadcaster Al Craig finally sees Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame

(Dec. 2, 2023 by Mark Newman) Al Craig paused to look around and was impressed by what he saw.

A founding director of the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame, the retired sports announcer and director at radio station CHML — and longtime sports information officer at Mohawk College — finally set foot on Nov. 28 in the hall he helped establish.

“I think they did a great job,” said Craig, who had been unable to see the hall that opened this past spring in the Eva Rothwell Centre on Wentworth Street North due to scheduling conflicts.

“People have been very appreciative in giving us the information (about the hall exhibits),” said the 74-year-old Craig, who noted he interviewed many of the people in the hall during his nearly 30 years at CHML.

Full story at thespec.com

Memorial Cup Red Wing: Joe Bujdoso (1941-2023)

(Nov. 25, 2023) The Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame is saddened to learn of the passing of Joe Bujdoso, the Hamilton native who was inducted in 2015 as a member of the 1962 Memorial Cup-winning Hamilton Red Wings.

Joe’s early years were marked by his passion for hockey, a sport he embraced wholeheartedly. He traveled extensively and played hockey for many years, starting with the junior Red Wings and later with the Greensboro Generals.

Joe Bujdoso obituary at thespec.com

Local racers inducted into national halls of fame

(Nov. 9, 2023 by Tim Miller, The Spectator) Two national motorsport halls of fame announced their inductees over the past week to honour racers for their efforts in the sport. Both the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame and the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame enshrined classes for 2023.

For the CMHF, 15 names were chosen out of 56 submissions. Some of these 15 include Hamilton’s John Massingberd (posthumously), who produced and hosted national media productions including Raceline Radio and Raceline TV; Formula Vee and Volkswagen racing expert Bill Vallis of Welland; drag-racing sponsor and team leader John Waldie of Stratford; former karter and present ASN Canada official Norm Jennings of Toronto; and former IndyCar-driver-turned-media-personality James Hinchcliffe of Oakville.

Full story at thespec.com

2023 HSHOF Inductions to be aired on Cable 14

A video recap of the Oct. 25 Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame inductions which honored Bob Hanley and Ellison Kelly (posthumously), Jessica Rakoczy, Melissa Tancredi and Bob Young, will be aired on Cable 14 tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 7) at 8 pm EST and on demand at http://www.cable14.com.

2023 Inductions today

(Oct. 25, 2023) Earlier today the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2023.

Once Ragin’, Jessica Rakoczy is now content and about to be a Hall of Famer

As a champion boxer and a successful mixed martial artist, she knew how to throw a heavy punch and how to take one, too. Few people from this city have been tougher.

But when she got the call telling her she was going into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame?

“I cried,” Jessica Rakoczy says.

Full story by Scott Radley, The Spectator

2023 INDUCTION GALLERY

Hours of Operation

2023 HSHOF class announced

(Aug. 28, 2023) The Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame (HSHOF) proudly announces its Class of 2023:

Bob Hanley (Builder-Media) *

Ellison Kelly (Athlete-Football) *

Jessica Rakoczy (Athlete-Boxing)

Melissa Tancredi (Athlete-Soccer)

Bob Young (Builder-Football)

*Denotes Inductee honoured posthumously*

Induction Event Details

Date:                Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023

Time:               Reception 11am, Induction 12 noon (luncheon to follow)

Tickets:            $75 (hot luncheon buffet, reception)

Location:         Michelangelo Events and Conference Centre,
                          1555 Upper Ottawa Street, Hamilton, ON

Limited number of tickets available at:

HSHOF to open for public viewing

(Aug. 2, 2023) For the first time, the inaugural physical home of the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame will open for the public. The hall has announced two dates in August that the facility will open. Our initial admission will be to “pay what you can”.

Thurs. Aug 3 –  6 to 8 pm

Thurs. Aug 17 – 6 to 8 pm

The Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame is located within the Eva Rothwell Centre, at 460 Wentworth Street North in Hamilton.

Former Fincup Joe Kowal passes away

(July 25, 2023) Joe Kowal, a member of the 1975-76 Hamilton Fincups squad inducted by the HSHOF in 2011, has passed away at the age of 67.

Joe scored 32 goals with the Fincups in the regular season, and added another 5 in the OHL playoffs.

Joe, a Toronto native, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 1976 entry draft and he spent two seasons with the Sabres. The rest of his pro career was spent in the American Hockey League until his retirement in 1981.

Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame finally finds its home

(May 31, 2023 by Scott Radley) In the 13 years that the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame has been a thing, inductees or other people around town have regularly donated artifacts and memorabilia to organizers, figuring they’d know what to do with them.

It was terrific the stuff wasn’t being destroyed or lost to be sure. But without a physical home, it eventually just found its way to a storage room at the Eva Rothwell Centre.

“We had a bunch of stuff piled in the corner and we’re asking, ‘What are we going to do with this?’” hall chair Garry McKay says. “Six months later …”

More at thespec.com

The final victory of Leone Efrati

In 1944, Efrati was sent to Ebensee Labour Camp where survival depended on the ability to withstand hunger, exhaustion, disease, and the cruelty of the guards

(May 26, 2023 by Harvey Starkman) On Nov. 17, 1939, two boxers met for the first time at centre ring in a darkened Milwaukee arena, the air blue with cigar and cigarette smoke. Their fight was the main event of the evening. The other fighters on the card were just beginning professional boxing careers. None would last long.

For 10 punishing rounds, the two strangers traded blows to the body and head. They were small men who fought with heart, not finesse. There was no high drama for the spectators; no knockouts or knock downs to trigger an adrenalin rush. Just two fighters doing what they could do. At the final bell, the judges awarded the decision to Hamilton hero and future Featherweight Champion Jackie Callura.

Full story at thespec.com

Jackie Callura HSHOF induction bio

Hamilton philanthropist Margaret Juravinski, ‘quiet pillar of strength,’ dies at 91

Margaret Juravinski’s ‘compassion for the people of our city can be seen right across Hamilton,’ said Mayor Andrea Horwath

(April 11, 2023 by Jon Wells) Margaret Juravinski was the “quiet pillar of strength” next to her charismatic husband, Charles, and together they formed an unstoppable philanthropic team, gifting tens of millions of dollars to health care in Hamilton.

The woman whose motto was “sharing is caring” died May 9 at 91. Her birthday was July 25.

Charles died 15 months ago, on Feb. 16, 2022. The couple had been married 66 years.

More at the spec.com

Hamilton’s City 10-Pin, oldest bowling league on the planet, still rolling at 121

City 10-Pin was born in 1902 in the Tivoli building before it was a theatre and bowling balls were made of wood

(April 28, 2003 by Jon Wells) Balls spinning, pins flying, fists pumping, hands clapping.

At any given moment, bowlers raise one arm, and start the chant in unison: “Ohhhhh…”

It’s a drinking game: if the lone pin standing after your first roll is the five pin — considered the easiest to hit — and you also fail to knock it down on your next attempt, you owe everyone taking part in the game a drink.

“Ohhh … ohhh … Oh!” The bowler knocks down the five. Arms down. No free drinks this time.

It’s Monday night at Skyway Bowl in the heart of east Hamilton, polished lanes glowing under the lights, classic rock on the sound system, and bowling teams competing with names like Alley Cats, Grip and Rip, and Put Your Thumb In It.

More at thespec.com

Dundas Real McCoys win Allan Cup

(April 23, 2023 by Scott Radley) Moments after winning his second Allan Cup, the man who operates the Dundas Real McCoys and who bankrolled the tournament that was given the green light just a month ago, admitted he’ll be losing money on the venture.

“Yep,” Don Robertson said. “It’s going to be expensive.”

But was it worth it?

He immediately broke into the kind of smile that would allow a dentist to check his molars from five paces away.

“Yeah.”

More at thespec.com

The legend of the lane: In 1881, a Hamilton bowler became the first in North America to manage a perfect game

(April 4, 2023 by Mark McNeil) I’ve never been much of a bowler, but I do like the shirts.

With their loose fit, they have a way of camouflaging bodies that should be at a gym rather than at a bowling alley.

And they convey a vibe of early rock and roll, which is cool, or at least used to be cool when people used the word “cool.”

Lately, though, I’ve been looking into the fundamentals of the sport after learning that a ten-pin record of continental significance happened in Hamilton more than 140 years ago. To understand the importance more fully, I decided to head out to one of the city’s bowling alleys.

Full story at thespec.com

Obituary: ‘Golden Adonis’ Johnny Powers was a product of Hamilton’s legendary pro wrestling ‘factory’

(Jan. 9, 2023 by Jon Wells) Years ago, when visitors came knocking at the door of former pro wrestler Johnny Powers, his voice would bellow: “Is it friend or foe? If it’s a friend enter slowly, if it’s a foe run away fast.”

Johnny Powers

True to his invented surname, Powers didn’t seem to have an off-switch: forever the brash performer and theatrical tough guy.

It was only time, the undisputed and undefeated champ, that silenced him.

Powers died at 79 on Dec. 30, at 1:30 a.m., at home in bed with his hand held by his wife, Rosalee.

Full story at thespec.com

‘It’s terminal now:’ Martial arts Hall of Famer Rick Joslin finds faith in the face of death

Facing death has softened the martial arts legend. Even so, he remains one of the toughest guys in Hamilton, Scott Radley writes.

(Dec. 20, 2022 by Scott Radley) He wasn’t always a guy who’d cry easily or quietly pray for random strangers as they walk past. Not his thing, really. When you’re known as one of the toughest men in Hamilton, such softness would seem out of character. Even to himself.

Not anymore. So what’s changed?

“It’s terminal now,” Rick Joslin says.

Yeah, he’s dying. The cancer that’s gnawed at him three times over the past decade is back and growing, he says. This time there’s no getting past it. The Hamilton Sports Hall of Famer (Class of 2013) who won three national karate titles before building one of the best-known martial arts gyms in the country — one that’s trained thousands and thousands of Hamiltonians — now knows how his story will end.

Full story at thespec.com

2022 Induction ceremony to air on Cable 14

The Oct. 26 induction of the 2022 HSHOF class will be featured on Cable 14 several times over the next couple of weeks.

DateTime
Nov 04, 20223:30 pm
Nov 05, 20221:30 am
Nov 09, 20221:30 am
Nov 09, 202210:00 am
Nov 11, 20229:00 am

Hamilton area’s connections to the motorsport hall of fame class of 2022

Uli Bieri

(By Tim Miller) Of the 13 racing personalities the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame (CMHF) recently announced as its newest inductees, three of these have strong ties to the Hamilton area. Part of the 2022 class includes track owner Uli Bieri, race photographer Bruce Biegler and oval track racer Gary Elliott.

Let’s start with Elliott who is known as the “Iron Man” — and for good reason. He started racing in 1969 and continues to ply the paved ovals. He began with mini-stock cars, competed with a Canadian vintage modified (hobby car) for decades, and then modifieds before settling in with a late model, which he races in the Maritimes since his move east from his Greensville home three years ago.

Full story at thespec.com

Five Hamilton men were accidentally entwined in the Munich massacre. Here’s their incredible story

(By Scott Radley) It was shortly before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that he was asked to speak to his eldest daughter’s high school class about his experience at the Games.

Twenty-four years earlier, David Hart had been a water polo player for Canada in Munich. Remarkably, one of five Hamiltonians on that team. That afternoon at her school, he told the story of the competition, the other athletes and generally explained what the experience was like.

Then he opened the floor to questions.

Full story at thespec.com

David Hart inductee bio

Jimmy Thompson inductee bio

Zeno Karcz was one of the all-time great Ticats

(Sept. 3, 2022 by Steve Milton) Ralph Sazio, the longtime Hamilton Tiger-Cat executive who always set a very high standard, once said that Zeno Karcz was the kind of player coaches love to have on their team.

“He probably wasn’t as gifted as a lot of kids who come along and never make it, but the thing that made him was hard work and devotion to the job,” Sazio told the late Spectator sports writer Tony Fitz-Gerald in 2015.

Karcz, who was a linebacker for the powerful Tiger-Cats during their most glorious years from 1957 to 1966, died in Burlington on Wednesday, at the age of 87.

Full story at thespec.com

HSHOF proudly announces the Class of 2022

Nick Genovese*

Athlete-Blind Golf

Kathy Levy

Athlete-Builder-Dragon Boat Racing

Johnny Miles*

Athlete-Runner

Dr. Gene Sutton*

Builder-Gymnastics/Olympics

Jim Young

Athlete-Football

*Denotes Inductee honoured posthumously*

Our 13th annual induction celebration details:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 – 12 noon

Tickets: $60 (Hot Luncheon Buffet, Reception)

Michelangelo Events and Conference Centre, 1555 Upper Ottawa Street in Hamilton

A limited number of tickets will be available at:

Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame website: www.hamiltonsportshalloffame.com
To buy tickets online: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/hamilton-sports-hall-of-fame-2022-induction-ceremony-tickets-407161720667

United Trophy, 99 Cannon Street East in Hamilton

Media info, contact: HSHOF president Garry McKay at: 905-387-6335 or [email protected]

Inductee Hilda May Binns: 1945-2022

(Aug. 6, 2022) Hilda May Binns (HSHOF Class of 2019), Hamilton’s own internationally recognized Para Olympian and Pan Am athlete, has passed away.

Hilda May Binns (HSHOF)

The Spec: Hilda was Hamilton’s true Golden Girl

Hilda May Binns Obituary at legacy.com

Obituary: Bill Jamison was the ‘cornerstone’ of the sport of powerlifting in Canada

Founder of Steel City Powerlifting Club, he was a lifter, coach and referee
Bill Jamison

(June 27, 2022 by Daniel Nolan) It was not for nothing that Bill Jamison was referred to as ‘the cornerstone’ of powerlifting in Canada.

The Caledonia resident — who died April 10 at age 74 — was a champion of the sport and founded the Steel City Powerlifting Club in Hamilton in 1969.

He competed from 1969 to 1982 and won two provincial championships, placed second and third in the Canadian championships, and represented Canada at the world championships in Finland in 1972.

He helped found the Ontario Powerlifting Association and served as president of the Canadian Powerlifting Union from its inception in 1972 until 1984.

Full story at thespec.com

Bill Sadler left a legacy of sports car innovations

Prolific road race car builder, and Hall of Famer, has died at age 91, Tim Miller writes
Bill Sadler

(April 15, 2022 by Tim Miller) Bill Sadler, one of Canada’s most prolific road race car builders, has died. He was 91. He designed and built a succession of race cars beginning in 1953 that were innovative, successful, and went on to acquire international fame. He built sports racing cars along with open-wheeled Formula Junior and Libre cars.

A native of St. Catharines, Sadler went to work for his father’s auto electric shop in that city, then performed the same work at Sadler’s Hamilton branch before working as a guided missile technician at Hamilton’s Westinghouse plant.

Bulldogs closing in on a bit of Hamilton hockey history

First place is within reach. If that sounds unfamiliar, there’s good reason.

(March 24, 2022 by Scott Radley) You’d need some serious closet space if you were going to become a collector of sweaters from all the major junior hockey teams that have called this city home over the generations.

From the rather uninspired-sounding Hamilton Hockey Club of the 1933-34 season to the Tigers, Whizzers, Barons — an outfit that played just one game — Majors, Lloyds, Szabos, Tiger Cubs, Red Wings, Fincups, Steelhawks and Dukes right to today’s Bulldogs, it’s been tough to keep up with all the changes.

Yet, one thing has remained constant.

In all that time, no Ontario Hockey League (or before that, Ontario Hockey Association) team representing this city has ever finished first in a regular season. We’ve had a few seconds. A number of thirds. Nine dead-lasts. But first?

Not once.

Full story at thespec.com

Kenesky owner Joel Hulsman dead at 65

(March 3, 2022, by Scott Radley) It didn’t matter if you were the richest guy in the city or someone down on your luck who didn’t have two pennies to rub together. If you were on Barton Street and you wanted a conversation, you walked into Kenesky’s.

Because any time of day, any time of year, Joel Hulsman would talk. About hockey, about city politics, about the street. Mostly about you.

“When you walked into Kenesky’s, you were walking into his living room,” says longtime business partner Pete Richards.

The longtime owner of the Hamilton landmark died suddenly on Sunday. He was 65.

Emil “Pops” Kennesky (HSHOF)

Don MacVicar (HSHOF)

More at thespec.com