The sounds of conversation, laughter, and applause made a welcomed return when the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame resumed its Gala Induction Ceremonies after a long hiatus. Due to the pandemic, the event planned for April 2020 was cancelled outright, followed one year later by a virtual induction ceremony. But on the evening of April 30, 2022, the Hall of Fame resumed its tradition of staging an in-person Gala to preserve, promote, and celebrate the history of sports in our community.
An audience of 175 guests was in attendance at Royal Ashburn Golf Club to recognize the newest members of the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame: Ed Docherty, a six-time Canadian national championship medalist and a former world champion in the sport of karate, and well as Gee Nash, a provincial, national, and international gold medalist in lacrosse.
Ed and Gee gave exceptional acceptance speeches, each citing the family members and mentors who provided the support and encouragement that propelled these inductees to their individual and team accomplishments. They also noted the importance of discipline, practice, and perseverance in attaining and surpassing their goals in sport, which in turn solidified their positions as role models for young athletes of today and tomorrow.
The Hall of Fame committee also utilized the evening to recognize the Class of 2021 who were inducted via the aforementioned virtual ceremony. This group consisted of Carolyn Mountjoy (Builder – Ringette), Gil Nieuwendyk and Shawn Williams (Athletes – Lacrosse), and the 1964/1966 Brooklin Concretes softball team. Each of these inductees, or a family representative, received a personalized Certificate of Congratulations from the Town of Whitby, and the entire group finally heard the applause they so richly deserved.
Our keynote speaker for the Gala was Signa Butler, Host and Play-by-Play Commentator, CBC Sports. Signa spoke about the importance of proper preparation in preventing poor performance, and how community support is pivotal in encouraging and inspiring athletes and teams to achieve success in their chosen sports.
The evening also included a live auction and a real-time online silent auction, along with a surprise presentation to each attendee (of legal drinking age) of a commemorative label beer can, created by Brock Street Brewing Company. This unique and limited-production can was designed to honour and celebrate the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2022, and we acknowledge the brewery, in particular Chris Vanclief, for their exceptional support of the Hall of Fame and for creating this unique, limited-run label.
The Whitby Sports Hall of Fame committee expresses sincere thanks to all friends of the Hall who attended the 2022 Gala, as well as our Corporate Partners, Gala Sponsors, and numerous advertisers and auction item donors for their generous and continued support of our efforts.