September 18, 2017

Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame welcomes five new members

September 18, 2017
By Mark Newman

Cindy Neale-Ishoy, Charles Juravinski, Don Knight, Jeremy Kovak and Ric Nattress are the 2017 inductees to the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame.

Cindy Neale-Ishoy

Neale-Ishoy was a six-time Canadian Olympian who also attended the 1968 Mexico Olympics as a groom at the age of 16.

She began her riding career in Germany and, just a few years later, she started turning in outstanding results for Canada.

Neale-Ishoy was a member of the gold medal equestrian team and placed fourth individually at the 1971 Pan Am Games in Cali, Colombia.

In 1976, she was selected to the Olympic team, but did not compete. In 1979, she became the first Canadian to win an international dressage Grand Prix event in Goodwood, England.

She was seventh in the 1986 world championships, second at the 1988 World Cup in the Netherlands, and was a member of the bronze medal-winning Canadian dressage team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and finished fourth individually.

Neale-Ishoy competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and, in October 1993, captured two gold medals at the prestigious Dressage at Devon, in Pennsylvania, only three months after giving birth to her second child.

That was followed by a final Olympic competition in Athens in 2004.

Charles Juravinski

Juravinski was born in Saskatchewan during the Great Depression. His family moved to Hamilton in 1942.

From the mid- to late-1950s, he worked in construction and was co-founder of a Dundas-based construction company.

After that venture closed, Charles and former Ontario P.C. cabinet minister Ray Connell opened the standardbred racetrack Flamboro Downs in 1975.

He managed the successful facility for almost three decades, before selling it in 2003.

Since his retirement, Charles and his wife, Margaret, have made considerable endowments to the city and McMaster University, permitting the establishment of a new state-of-the-art cancer care facility at the former Henderson General Hospital, now the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Don Knight

Knight was the 1965, ’66 and ’67 Canadian national senior men’s figure skating champion and 1967 North American champion.

Born in Hamilton and raised in Dundas, he became the Canadian junior champion when he was just 13 years old.

He finished on the podium over the next six years at the senior Canadian championships.

Knight was just 15 when he competed in the first of his five ISU World Skating Championships, and won the bronze medal at the 1965 world event.

He was a five-time member of Canada’s world team and represented his country at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.  Considered a master of the compulsory figures, Knight trained with Hall of Fame coaches Ellen Burka and Sheldon Galbraith, and his tremendous work ethic enabled him to become an all-round skater, incorporating powerful jumps, spins and intricate footwork into his programs.

After retiring from competitive skating, he toured for 11 years as a principal performer with Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice in Europe. Following his retirement, Knight continued his association with his sport as a skating coach consultant with the Burlington Skate Centre.

Jeremy Kovak

Kovak is considered a pioneer in wakeboarding, which is considered one of the world’s fastest growing water sports.

He had a stellar career on the professional circuit and was responsible for the Maple Leaf flying highest at competitions around the world, including more than 30 wins on the pro tour.

Kovak became the first Canadian to win a world wakeboard title in 1993.

He did it again in 1997, when he also won the World Cup crown and the World Championship.

In 1998 he blew an ACL, but the next season he turned in a stunning performance to capture a pro tour title in Abbotsford, B.C.

Knight was also a star on the Canadian junior water ski team from 1988 to 1991, earning the world junior crown in 1990.

After retiring in 2000, he wrote an instructional wakeboard book.

Ric Nattress

Nattress is a graduate of the Hamilton Huskies program.

He was drafted 27th overall by Montreal from the Brantford Alexanders in 1980. He appeared in 40 games with the Canadiens in the 1982-83 season, played in 34 games with the Habs in 1983-84, and five more the following season before being traded to the St. Louis Blues.

After playing two seasons with the Blues, Nattress was dealt to the Calgary Flames following the 1986-87 season.

He played four years in Calgary and was on the Flames’ Stanley Cup championship team in 1989 before being traded to Toronto in a 10-player blockbuster deal that also sent Doug Gilmour to Toronto. He retired after joining the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent for the 1992-93 season.

Nattress played 536 regular-season games. While he was known as a solid positional rearguard, he still managed to record 29 goals and 135 assists for 164 points.

The blueliner also appeared in 67 playoff games, collecting five goals and 10 assists.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder was also a member of the 1985 AHL Calder Cup champion Sherbrooke Canadiens, and played seven games with Team Canada in the 1991 World Hockey Championship.

Following his playing days, Nattress was an assistant coach during the first two years of the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League starting in 1996, and has been involved at the junior hockey level as well.

He has also remained close to the game by working on radio and TV and entertaining people at sports dinners across the country.

All five inductees are expected to be on hand at the Class of 2017 luncheon on Oct. 17 at noon at the Best Western Premier C Hotel by Carmen’s on Stone Church Road East.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Hutch’s on the Beach, United Trophy, R&R Trophies & Awards, and the Canadian Motorcycle Association.