Birth of the sports hall of fame

Since Allan Williams is a sport fan, it seemed natural to him that in the 100th anniversary of Leaside there should be some commemoration of its sports history.

Since he’s vice-chair of the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens, and since there was going to be a new rink added, he saw a natural coupling: a Leaside sports hall of fame in the arena.

He also thought, he says, that it would be good to “create something that would extend beyond the 100th anniversary”.

Since Councillor John Parker is also on the arena board, Williams mentioned the idea to him “and he was very supportive…. He encouraged me to run with it, suggesting that I involve David Stickney.

“David’s unparalleled knowledge of Leaside’s sports history has been critical to getting us this far.

“I spoke with the presidents or other contacts from every Leaside sports association or club that I could identify and, without exception, they all enthusiastically got on board.”

The next step was deciding where to put the hall. In a way, that came before the idea of a hall of fame.

“In the planning of the arena expansion, the members of the arena board and expansion committee came to think of the large corridor between the original rink and the new rink as new community space, or a community asset, and we wondered what we should do with it.

“For one thing it would house the donor recognition wall where we would pay tribute to those whose financial contributions helped make the new rink possible

“I also thought there could be something profiling Leaside’s history, including the strong sports tradition in the community.”

Where else?

Then the real work started.

Williams credits the following for much of the hard work: Ray White, Roanne Argyle, Neil Anderson, John Morgan, Phillip Francis, Rita Lee, Kathy Mackenzie and Tim McCutcheon.