Eight individuals and a team comprise the Sarnia-Lambton Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2023.
Professional athlete: Brett Gray
Baseball star Gray began his pro career in 1998 with Kalamazoo of the Frontier League. A year later, pitching in London, he racked up 129 strikeouts in 125 innings pitched.
In his first outing of the 2000 campaign he struck out an astonishing 25 batters. Two days later he was signed by the Cincinnati Reds and assigned to Dayton in the Midwest League.
Amateur athlete: Abby Pearson-Spadafora and Kevin Schofield
Pearson-Spadafora and Schofield share this award. Pearson-Spadafora excelled in gymnastics for the Bluewater Gymnastics Club, Canadian national team and the University of Arizona. She once won the university’s outstanding performance of the year award and took part in the 2000 Olympic trials, among many other achievements.
Bowler Schofield has won an amazing 28 medals in 11 trips to the World Police and Fire Games, including 16 gold, seven silver and five bronze.
Special Achievement: Dr. John Vargo
A sports injury specialist who has been a member of Athletic Canada’s medical team and has travelled with that organization to 10 countries for such prestigious events as the Commonwealth Games and the world championships. He is also the team chiropractor for the Sarnia Sting and a sports injury consultant to NHL and NFL players.
Earl MacKenzie Award: Gene Fleet
Legendary football coach Gene Fleet has won this award, which is for people involved in sports for at least 30 years. Fleet coached senior boys high school football for 34 years, winning no less than 11 championships, including three for the SCITS Blue Bombers and eight for the Northern Vikings. Several of his teams went undefeated and a number of his players went on to college and professional careers. As a player he suited up for the semi-pro London Lords and Sarnia Golden Bears.
Bud Morrison Award: Arthur White
This award is for contributions to young people in sports. White has spent more than three decades as a coach, referee, executive and volunteer with hockey, figure skating, soccer, track and field, volleyball, baseball, two-pitch and basketball teams, including many elementary school clubs.
Builder: John ‘Jack’ Zonneville
The late John ‘Jack’ Zonneville is being honoured for playing a vital role in the birth of lacrosse in Sarnia-Lambton. He helped start the SMAA boys lacrosse program, serving as president, treasurer and board member as well as being a team manager, equipment manager, referee-in-chief and coach. In 1969 he was president of the Southwest Ontario Lacrosse League. He was also general manager of the 1971 Sarnia Juvenile Ontario championship team.
Jack Isom Award: Tyler McGregor
The Jack Isom award honours athletes who have participated in international and/or Olympic Games. McGregor captained Canada at the 2023 para world hockey championship. A leader of the club for many years, he has scored over 200 points, placing him fifth among all-time scorers. In 2017 he led Canada to a record fourth world title. During one contest that year he scored two goals in 13 seconds. He was also a member of a Paralympic Winter Games silver medal winning Canadian team.
Team: The 1989 Sarnia Pacers lacrosse club
The 1989 Sarnia Pacers lacrosse club is being recognized for winning an Ontario Intermediate ‘A’ championship. The team defeated a powerful Six Nations squad 7-2 to capture the title. Prior to that achievement the Pacers posted an impressive 11-2 record in tournament play, winning titles in Guelph and St. Catharines.
Rose Hodgson Memorial Award: Elaine Hayter
This award is for outstanding contributions to the community. As senior development manager for the local chapter of the kidney foundation, Hayter advocated on behalf of kidney patients as well as raising funds for kidney research and patient programs.
The enshrinement dinner will be held Oct. 14 at the Dante Club in Sarnia. Tickets are available from any of the hall’s board of directors or by calling President Pete Coenjarts at 519-542-4095.