News

Remembering the back-to-back championships of 1968 & 1969 Ottawa Rough Riders

Posted: May 28, 2019
By Martin Cleary The 1960s are often recognized as the golden years for the Ottawa Rough Riders football club. It’s hard to dispute that claim. In those 10 Canadian Football League seasons, the Rough Riders won their divisional pennant three times and finished in second place the other seven years. The red, white and black posted a combined record of 87-48-4 for a .640 winning percentage. The Riders were just as impressive in the playoffs, recording a 13-8 mark, playing in four Grey Cup championships and hoisting the legendary trophy on three occasions, including the final two years of the decade. The 1968 and 1969 Ottawa Rough Riders were two of the greatest sports teams ever to represent the nation’s capital and only the second Ottawa team to win back-to-back Grey Cups, after the Ottawa Senators in 1925 and 1926. While it has been half a century since quarterback Russ Jackson, running back Vic Washington and linebackers Ken Lehmann and Soupy Campbell tore up the grass fields of the CFL, their accomplishments have not been forgotten. The 1968 and 1969 Ottawa Rough Rider teams will be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame May 31 during the class of…
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Sport Hall of Fame Launches New “LEGACY” Category

Posted: May 23, 2019
Local Historical Sporting Greats to be Honoured May 31 The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame today introduced a new classification of honourees, entitled LEGACY Members.  Many of the star athletes and teams from the 1890s to 1960s haven’t been recognized for their achievements, which not only shined the spotlight on them, but also the City of Ottawa. The moment has arrived for three athletes, one athlete/builder and three teams, to enter  into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame May 31, as they become inaugural Legacy Category members. Included in the group are athletes Jean Beardsley (curling), the late Eddie Carroll (boxing) and the late Wilfrid Mathieu (speed skating); athlete/builder the late Donald Gilchrist (figure skating); and three teams, the Ottawa Silver Seven (hockey), the Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup winners from 1915-27 (hockey), and the 1892 Ottawa tug-of-war Canadian champions. Media note: 92 year-old Jean Beardsley will attend the ceremony. “Ottawa is, without question, a hotbed for athletic achievement”, says Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Chair, Dave Best. “We have produced an incredible roster of athletes over the years, decades, even centuries. Many of them of course pre-date the existence of the Hall (1968). So we are thrilled to launch this…
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John Halvorsen: from runner to race director of Canada’s largest race weekend

Posted: May 23, 2019
[caption id="attachment_7181" align="alignright" width="387"] 19 Mar 1989: John Halvorsen of Norway in action during the Mens race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Stavangar, Norway. Halvorsen finished in tenth place. Mandatory Credit: Gray Mortimore/Allsport[/caption] By Martin Cleary John Halvorsen knows Ottawa Race Weekend inside and out. In his days as a high-performance runner, Halvorsen knew what it was like to wait anxiously in the front row with the elite runners and less than half an hour later have the finish line all to himself. An unprecedented four times, he combined his race focus and particular running style—springing forward on the balls of his feet instead of rolling from his heels to his toes—to win what was then called the Nordion 10-kilometre race. In his first victory in 1988, the Ottawa runner set the race record of 28 minutes, 12 seconds, which stood for 21 years until Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga crushed it at 27:23.9. During an eight-year period, Halvorsen also won the race in 1991, 1992 and 1995. In his 10-year, international running career, Halvorsen represented his native Norway at two Summer Olympic Games, one world track and field championships, eight senior world cross-country running championships and was the…
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Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame introduces Legacy Category

Posted: May 20, 2019
By Martin Cleary They played in a different era, a time when local sport got people excited, travelling to out-of-town competitions meant you were really special and champions came home to a hero’s welcome. While the media of the day gave individual athletes, teams and high-level competitions full coverage, there was something missing in the end. Many of the star athletes and teams from the 1890s to 1960s haven’t been truly recognized for their exceptional talents and achievements, which not only shined the spotlight on them, but also the city of Ottawa. Well, better late than never, that moment has arrived for three athletes, one athlete/builder and three teams, who will be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on May 31 as the inaugural group in the Legacy Category. The induction ceremony inside the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park will pay tribute to athletes Jean Beardsley (curling), Eddie Carroll (boxing) and Wilfrid Mathieu (speed skating); athlete/builder Donald Gilchrist (figure skating); and three teams, the Ottawa Silver Seven (hockey), the Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup winners from 1915-27 (hockey), and the 1892 Ottawa tug-of-war Canadian champions. Since the hall’s opening in 1968, the board of directors has received hundreds of…
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Chantal Benoit: one of the most decorated athletes in the history of wheelchair basketball

Posted: May 14, 2019
By Martin Cleary Chantal Benoit, 58, still has the determination and passion for one of Canada’s most successful women’s para sports, and continues to play wheelchair basketball with the Vaughan City Lashers. Benoit will celebrate three decades of achievement on May 31, when she enters the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame at Lansdowne Park’s Horticultural Building. “It’s an honour and very touching,” says Benoit, a champion for sport inclusion who played in seven Paralympic Games for Canada and won four medals, including three gold. “I’ve tried to develop awareness for wheelchair basketball (especially through visits to schools). I have been surrounded by people who have given me this opportunity and they deserve the same award.” Turning tragedy into determination As a 17-year-old, Grade 12 student, Benoit developed bone cancer in her left leg and needed to have it amputated. During rehabilitation in Montreal, she was asked to go to the gymnasium to try wheelchair basketball. She felt insulted and refused to go as her main goal was to learn how to walk again with a prosthetic. Two years later, a friend phoned her and caught her at the right moment. Benoit was bored and looking for something to do. Her…
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2019 Hall of Fame Inductee Chris Phillips shares his top three NHL career highlights

Posted: May 09, 2019
By Martin Cleary If Chris Phillips allowed himself time to reflect on his elite hockey career that spanned more than half of his 40-plus years, he might be overwhelmed by his awesome journey. And he certainly never thought that one day his overall success as a nerves-of-steel defenceman with enviable junior, professional and Team Canada teams would land him a berth in the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on May 31. “It’s a huge honour to be recognized among the people of Ottawa,” Phillips, 40, (DOB March 9, 1978), “It’s not where I’m from, but being with the (Ottawa) Senators’ organization for more than 20 years and calling Ottawa home, it’s a huge honour. It’s very exciting.” From his first taste of tier 2 junior in his hometown of Fort McMurray, AB with the Oil Barons, to playing major junior with the Prince Albert Raiders and Lethbridge Hurricanes to his record-breaking assignment with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and to his numerous Team Canada journeys, Phillips has proudly and diligently crafted a profession that has taken him around the world as an amateur and a pro and rewarded him with envious treasures. A mind-the-store defenceman who once had his small share…
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High School Coach Rick Desclouds taught students important lessons in sport…and life

Posted: April 30, 2019
By Martin Cleary When it comes to winning championships in a wide range of sports involving elementary school-aged children, Rick Desclouds has an enviable and golden record. But, he insists, there’s no magic formula. It’s all about common sense and letting the young boys and girls enter, embrace and experience the sporting activity. Desclouds, who retired as a dedicated teacher/coach after 37 years at Glashan Public School in downtown Ottawa, has amassed an inconceivable 112 Ottawa board championships in volleyball, basketball, track and field, cross-country running, touch football, flag football, gymnastics, badminton and soccer. We also can’t forget his numerous championship titles as a baseball manager in the Pinecrest Little League program or as a community hockey coach in his early years behind the bench inside Lions Arena. And now his sports coaching career will hit a crescendo on May 31 as he will be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Lansdowne Park’s Horticultural Building. “You have to develop the base and give them the opportunity,” Desclouds said, explaining his basic approach to athletic success. “Then, it’s up to the coach to make the kids realize their strengths. You have to treat each player…
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Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Launches Ottawa Marathon Exhibit

Posted: April 15, 2019
“Ottawa Marathon: 45 Years Running” celebrates a world-class event On May 25, 1975 a shot rang out on the campus of Carleton University. A mad scramble ensued as 146 runners took to the streets and with that, the Ottawa Marathon was born. The rest, as they say, is history… and now, that history is chronicled in impressive detail at a new local exhibit. The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the launch of its newest exhibition “Ottawa Marathon: 45 Years Running”. Produced in collaboration with the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and Ottawa Archives, an assortment of fascinating displays trace the evolution of the race from its early days as a small, grassroots event into a world class showcase of running, walking and rolling, attracting athletes from across Canada and around the world. Over the last four and half decades more than 150,000 people have participated in the race, which has also raised millions of dollars for local charities and injected millions more into the local economy. “The community impact of the Ottawa Marathon across 45 years is extremely impressive”, said Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Chairman Dave Best. “So we are thrilled to be able to showcase…
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Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Inductees

Posted: January 28, 2019
Former Senators’ Defenseman Chris Phillips one of five to be honoured Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame announced today that Chantal Benoit, Chris Phillips, Rick Desclouds, John Halvorsen, along with the 1968 and 1969 Ottawa Rough Riders will be its 2019 inductees. They will be honoured at the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on Friday, May 31 in the Horticultural Building (Lansdowne). “The selection process is always extremely difficult and this year was no exception”, says Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. “Once again, we received a large number of very strong nominations from the community, a reminder of the broad range of sporting achievement and commitment to excellence that exists in the nation’s capital. This year’s class is exceptional, not just for their contribution to sport, but what they have done for our city.” Chris Phillips Former Ottawa Senators’ defenseman and alternate captain Chris Phillips, enjoyed an 18-year career in the NHL. In that time he played in 1,179 games, and holds the team record for longevity with the same club. He was selected first overall by the Senators in 1997 entry draft, and represented Canada…
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OTTAWA SPORT HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2018 INDUCTEES

Posted: February 28, 2018
Former mayor Jim Durrell, one of five to be honoured The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame announced today that Jim Durrell, Jeff Avery, Jim Kyte, Betty Shields and Steve Gray will be its 2018 inductees. They will be honoured at the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on June 1 at the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park. “Again this year, the selection process was very challenging”, says Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. “We received many strong nominations from the community, a reminder of the broad range of sporting achievement and excellence that exists in the nation’s capital. This year’s class clearly reflects that diversity, as each inductee not only has a truly remarkable sports pedigree, but an impressive record of community service.” Jim Durrell served as Mayor of Ottawa from 1985 to 1991, and was instrumental in making the city an attractive and viable destination for professional sports. Among the many achievements attributed to him are the revival of the Ottawa Senators in 1990, landing the CFL’s Grey Cup in 1988, and championing the return of professional baseball. Most recently Durrell was the Chair of the very successful 2017 Grey…
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World Rugby to Add Ottawan Al Charron to Hall of Fame

Posted: October 26, 2017
Good news! One of our local legends will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Rugby, England, November 10. Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame member, and Ottawa native, Hillcrest High Grad, of Ottawa Irish lore, an Eastern Ontario stalwart for years, and, oh yes, Canada’s most-capped and longest-serving team captain, Al Charron was one of the most dominant loose forwards in the world during the 1990s. Al played in four Rugby World Cups for Canada and managed the side at a fifth, in 2007. His record of 76 caps stood for 14 years until broken in the summer of 2017. Standing 6’5” tall and weighing close to 270 lbs. in his playing days, Al cut an imposing figure on the field and opponents feared and admired him in equal measure for his high work-rate and uncompromising play. A fine leader, Charron captained the Canadian national team 25 times – a record he still shares with Gareth Rees. He was also a member of Canada’s squad at the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1993 and turned out for the world-famous Barbarians five times. Professionally he played club rugby for Bristol and Moseley in England…
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2017 Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame honours newest Inductees and Top 50 Sport Moments

Posted: June 05, 2017
It was a fitting tribute on Friday, June 2nd as the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne was transformed into a glittering backdrop for the ceremony to induct the founding partners of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. Surrounded by 350 members of the sport and business community, Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy, Jeff Hunt, John Pugh and Bill Shenkman, joined the ranks of Ottawa sport legends as members of the Hall. The five men were integral to the revitalization of Lansdowne into a pre-eminent sport and entertainment facility, and orchestrated the return of CFL football to the nation’s capital. All five humbly accepted the award, with self-deprecating humorous remarks that despite their own lack of personal athletic ability, it was a very proud moment to now be honoured inductees of the Hall. There was definitely a football flavor to the evening, as the five new inductees proudly displayed their 2016 Grey Cup rings, celebrating the latest Grey Cup win by the Ottawa RedBlacks. And prior to the induction ceremony, ‘Pedro the Panda’ the legendary mascot of the annual varsity football game between Carleton University and the University of Ottawa was marched into the hall…
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Media Availability: Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Dinner

Posted: May 31, 2017
Ottawa’s sporting legends will gather on Friday, June 2nd at The Horticultural Building at Lansdowne to celebrate 50 years of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame at this year’s Induction Dinner. Honoured Inductees from the five decades of the Hall’s history will be in attendance. Several members of the 1960s Ottawa Rough Riders, including Russ Jackson, Moe Racine, Dave Thelen and Whit Tucker, will represent the great football teams of that era. Elizabeth Manley will be on hand to celebrate her 1988 Olympic silver medal skate in Calgary. Last year’s inductee Tina Takahashi, will be on hand to welcome the 2017 Honoured Inductees, the five founding partners of the Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group (OSEG), Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy, Jeff Hunt, John Pugh and Bill Shenkman. Family members will represent the legacy of Howard Darwin and stand in for Olympic gold medalist Glenroy Gilbert. (more…)
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OSEG Founders To Be Inducted Into Sport Hall of Fame

Posted: March 10, 2017
The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame announced today that the founding partners of the Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group (OSEG) will be its 2017 Hall inductees.  The OSEG founding partners include Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy, Jeff Hunt, John Pugh and Bill Shenkman. They will be honoured at the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which takes place on June 2 at the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park. “What an incredible living legacy the OSEG founding partners have built for sports fans, athletes and our city,” said Hall Chair Dave Best. “But their impact extends far beyond the revitalization of Lansdowne into a pre-eminent sports venue and marshalling the return of the CFL to the capital. Each of them has a long, history of generously supporting sport in Ottawa, and this induction is richly deserved.” “This is a tremendous honour for the OSEG partners,” said Bernie Ashe,  CEO of OSEG.  “Their journey began as an idea to have some fun bringing back CFL football to Ottawa and it evolved into a $500 million project in partnership with the City of Ottawa, that gave us the REDBLACKS, Fury FC, TD Place and the new Lansdowne. Their vision, passion and commitment, in…
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Help the Hall Choose the Top 50 Moments of Ottawa’s Sporting Heritage

Posted: March 06, 2017
From Stanley Cups to Grey Cups to stellar individual world championships, throughout this century-and-a-half of being the nation’s capital, Ottawans have witnessed a vast array of memorable sporting moments. Bravo Ottawa! It may have taken 100 years, but in 1967 Ottawa began recognizing this excellence in its sporting heritage through the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. So with its 50th Anniversary upon us, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame is asking the public to help identify the Top 50 Moments of Ottawa’s Sporting Heritage, from the city’s capital start in 1867-until-today. Whether you were watching on television, listening on radio, attending a game, or reading about it, many of us in Ottawa can visualize a local sporting moment we instantly remember. Some of these moments were more publicly recognized than others, some may have been life-changing, while others simply were memorable for their excellence and some may have altered the Ottawa sporting landscape. These moments may have occurred over a period of time, while others happened in a matter of seconds. And some of these moments just might have, to some of us, reached iconic status in the city. A few obvious examples might include: Barbara Ann Scott’s Olympic Gold Medal…
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Public Invited to Select Top 50 Moments in Ottawa Sport History

Posted: March 06, 2017
On Monday, March 6, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame launches its Top 50 Moments in Ottawa’s Sport campaign and invites the public to contribute. From the glorious Stanley Cup win by the Silver Seven in 1903 to the Redblacks’ thrilling Grey Cup victory in overtime in 2016, and all in between, there have been so many incredible moments in Ottawa’s rich sporting history. In 2017 the city celebrates its sesquicentennial, marking 150 years as Canada’s Capital. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. To recognise this important milestone, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame is compiling a list of 50 standout moments in Ottawa sport history. With countless possibilities, The Hall of Fame is seeking help and suggestions from the public. ‘Moments’ might be represented by a team or individual performance, a milestone or achievement, but must have a strong connection to Ottawa. Contributors can visit www.ottawasporthalloffame.ca to submit an entry. As an added incentive, one lucky contributor- chosen in a random draw- will receive two complimentary tickets to the 2017 Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and a chance to rub shoulders with some of the most outstanding athletes who call…
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Daniel Alfredsson Humbled By ‘Tremendous Honour’

Posted: June 03, 2016
Daniel Alfredsson was originally stunned when he heard he was going to be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. After all, when he was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1994, he didn’t know if he would ever leave his native Sweden to play in the NHL. When he first arrived in Ottawa, he thought he might last only a year or two. Accordingly, in the beginning, his knowledge of the city was basic. “I knew it was the capital city, or at least I think I knew that, anyway,” Alfredsson joked before officially joining fellow inductees Bob O’Billovich, Jeff Bean, Tina Takahashi and Barclay Frost in the Hall of Fame Friday. “I knew Canada loved hockey, but they weren’t very good at soccer. That was pretty much the extent of my knowledge at that point. I didn’t know what to expect.” Beginning with his first modest apartment on Lyon Street, where he lived during his Calder Trophy winning season as NHL rookie of the year in 1995-96, Alfredsson certainly never imagined the life that was to come. When his career finally ended after 1,246 games, 444 goals and 1,157 points, he also owned the legacy as…
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Ottawa Sport Hall Of Fame Announces Five New Inductees

Posted: April 07, 2016
OTTAWA, ON _ Daniel Alfredsson, who is recognized as one of the city’s greatest professional athletes as well as an unselfish humanitarian away from the arena, will be one of five new inductees into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. The 2016 induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, June 3 in the Horticultural Building on the grounds of the rejuvenated Lansdowne Park. The building is located at 1525 Princess Patricia Way. Alfredsson, a highly accomplished, all-around leader during his 17 years with the Ottawa Senators and the fifth longest-serving captain in the NHL, will be welcomed into the hall with fellow athletes Jeff Bean, a world championship silver medallist on the international freestyle skiing circuit, and Tina Takahashi, a female judo icon, as well as builders Bob O’Billovich, an all-rounder in football, and Barclay Frost, a veteran international and national track and field official. Their inductions will boost membership in the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame to 260 honoured sports figures, who were nominated and accepted either as athletes, builders, coaches or media. Two teams also have been inducted into the hall. “I am in awe of the accomplishments of our inductees,” says Dave Best, the chair of the Ottawa…
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