Special to The Journal
Eight individuals and a team comprise the Sarnia-Lambton Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2017. Here are the winners:
Jason Simon played 20 years of pro hockey, including brief stints with two NHL teams. He grew up on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and became the first indigenous player in history to go to the minor leagues and the NHL in one year.
Figure skater Taylor Steele and ATV flat track racer Dave Little are co-winners. Both won multiple championships in their storied careers.
BUD MORRISON AWARD
The Morrison Award recognizes a person who has made a significant contribution over many years to youth in sports.
Larry Lecour has been involved as an executive, manager and coach with championship teams in baseball, softball and hockey.
Collette McAuley has coached rugby for almost two decades, guiding a number of teams to championships at the high school, university and national levels. She was also a national level athlete from 1996 to 2007.
Brian Fowler and Joe Kerrigan – a pair of Wyoming residents – share this award.
Fowler is a lifelong leader of minor baseball in Wyoming. On top of being on the executive of that organization for a quarter of a century he coached several teams to championships.
Kerrigan has also been involved in Wyoming minor baseball for decades, doing everything from helping to create policies and building registration to serving as president.
EARL MACKENZIE AWARD
Joe Panik has won the Mackenzie award, which recognizes contributions to the establishment of a sport from its infancy to a mature state within the community.
A former SMAA baseball chairman, he enhanced registration, especially at the T-ball and novice levels and reorganized the travel program. He is also credited with reviving the juvenile, junior and senior levels of baseball in Sarnia.
ROSE HODGSON AWARD
Norma Cox has made outstanding contributions to the community with updated and new facilities at the city pool and park that created the Cox Youth Centre, made possible by a $1-million donation she made in 2006 in memory of her husband, Edward.
JOE DeRUSH AWARD
Swimming star Koty Alkerton has won the DeRush award, which celebrates athletes who have overcome disabilities.
Alkerton, who has autism, has won many awards while taking part in OFSAA and SWOSSA meets for Northern Collegiate. He also had two fourth place finishes at the Ontario Special Olympics, where he competed against almost 250 other athletes.
PAPPY BURR AWARD
Marissa Mueller and Katie Barwitzki are co-winners of this honour, which goes to students who are headed off to university or college. Both have remarkable records of achievement in academics and volunteer work.
The 1967/68 Sarnia Legionnaires have been enshrined almost half a century after they steamrolled their way to the Sutherland Cup as Jr. ‘B’ hockey’s all-Ontario champions. The squad finished in first place during the regular season, amassing a sparkling record of 38 wins against just 11 losses and three ties. And they scored 333 goals while surrendering only 178.
During the playoffs the Legionnaires won four best-of-seven rounds. And they did it in short order, posting 16 wins against a single defeat.
The inductees and award winners will be celebrated at the 35th annual enshrinement dinner Sept. 23 at the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club. Tickets are available until Sept. 10 by contacting any board member.