By Darren Lum
After three years of work, much of it by its chairman Scotty LaRue, the Haliburton Highlands Hall of Fame has officially named its first group of inductees, who represent athletes for their achievements on the ice, field, court, and track; builders for their dedication to athletics and the community, and the athletic teams that excelled and earned respect in the area and outside of it for how they not only competed, but for how they represented and united the community.
LaRue made the induction announcement official, listing 17 inductees on Monday, June 7.
“This is a group of people and teams that truly reflect the depth and the breadth of athletics in the Highlands,” LaRue said. “We have 11 athletes, three builders and three teams whose excellence and commitment deserves to be celebrated and that is exactly what we are doing today. These individuals have contributed so much to their sports and to their communities and we want to ensure these contributions are never forgotten. They are a very important part of the fabric of our communities and we are proud to be able to celebrate their many accomplishments.”
The athletes listed in alphabetical order are retired CFLer Mike Bradley, hockey standout Glen Dart (deceased), who was considered to be the best hockey player from the area during the 1930s, contributing to winning clubs; retired NHLer Cody Hodgson; Don Beverly “Joe” Iles (deceased), a multi-sport athlete and star defenceman during the 1940s and 1950s; touted as the Highlands’ best all-around female athlete Marla MacNaull, a two-time HHSS athlete of the year and champion in different disciplines such as cross-country running, hockey, baseball, track, floor hockey, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, curling, badminton, and road racing; retired NHLer Bernie Nicholls; retired NHLer Ron Stackhouse; Haliburton’s only Olympian Lesley Tashlin; HHSS’ only three time athlete of the year Anna Tomlinson, who was a Ontario University Association finalist for York University in the seven-event heptathlon; accomplished competitive curler, Jake Walker, who won bronze at the World Junior Championships in 2010, and Haliburton’s first pro football player, Taly Williams.
The builders include Linda J. Brandon, who founded the Haliburton County Red Wolves and brought Special Olympics to the Highlands; community leader and hockey booster Albert John (Ab) LaRue, who was a key figure behind bringing an artificial ice rink to Haliburton through fundraising and building while serving on the Dysart Community Centre Board; and a dedicated community youth coach for baseball and hockey Lenny Salvatori, who was also an athlete that excelled in a variety of sports, and was a long-time volunteer in different capacities, such as 30 years as the Haliburton OMHA representative.
The teams being inducted are the 1934 Haliburton Huskies, who won six championships; the 1956 to 1958 Minden Monarchs, a dominant team in Haliburton County in the 1950s, winning three straight league championships and three straight Eastern Ontario championships, and the 1971 Haliburton Huskies, who won the Ontario Hockey Association Junior D Championship and the Central Ontario League Playoff Junior D Championship, including the OHA Cup, the Central Ontario Junior D League Championship and the Eastern Ontario Junior D Championship.
The Sports Hall of Fame, which is comprised of volunteers, is a member of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative Inc. (The Co-op).
The new Hall of Fame will be located on the upper level of the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton.
This year the official induction ceremonies are scheduled for Oct. 23 at a banquet at the Pinestone Inn and Conference Centre.
See profiles about each of the inductees in upcoming issues of the Echo and Times.