Durham Sports History

Celebrating over 100 Years of Athletics

Whitby Hall of Fame

2017 Induction Class

Mike Primeau

Jennifer Johnson

Paul Ranger

Born in North Bay, Ontario in 1941, Mike Primeau spent his childhood in the Ottawa Valley and, after graduating from Blind River High School, moved south to Toronto before settling in Whitby. From 1981 until the late 1990s, many Whitby Minor Hockey Association teams under Mike’s tutelage enjoyed considerable success at the local, regional, and provincial levels; the impressive list of achievements by his teams includes: 1984 OMHA Peewee AA Finalists, 1985 Minor Bantam AA Silver Stick Champions, 1985 OMHA Minor Bantam AA Champions, 1986 OMHA Minor Bantam AA Champions 1991, OMHA and OHF Bantam AA Champions, 1993 OMHA Atom AAA Finalists 1996, and OMHA Midget AAA Champions. Mike’s coaching career spanned a period of 21 years and seven of his former players went on to have great success in the NHL, including his sons, Keith and Wayne, as well as Adam Foote, Paul Ranger, Jay Harrison, Jamie Allison, and Brad May. As further testament to his overall influence and commitment to hockey in Whitby, Mike was instrumental in establishing the Whitby Fury Junior A franchise in 2008, and served as team president for its first two seasons. Mike also spent eight years as a hockey scout, beginning with Niagara Falls of the OHL (1989-1990) before holding similar roles with Owen Sound Platers (1992-1995) and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes (1996-1999).

A native of Brooklin, Ontario, Jennifer Johnson developed an abiding passion for her sport at a very young age and began her career playing box lacrosse in the Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association. She subsequently made the transition to field lacrosse at the high-school level, where she led Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute to three consecutive regional titles. Jen’s field lacrosse career continued at Penn State, where she led the Nittany Lions in scoring in her junior and senior years. She finished her career at Penn State ranked among the school’s all-time top 10 players in goals scored (136), assists (64), and total points (200). As a senior, Jen received first-team All-America honours after leading the Nittany Lions to a record of 15-5 and a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, where the team advanced to the semi-final round. Johnson also represented Canada in several competitions from 1995 to 2005. Jen was a co-captain of the Canadian Under-19 National Team that finished fourth in the 1995 World Cup, and was a key contributor on the Canadian Women’s Lacrosse National Teams that finished fourth in both the 2001 and 2005 World Cups. Upon her retirement as a player, Jen moved to the coaching ranks, working as an assistant at Penn State and Cornell before accepting the position of head coach at the University of Vermont.

A native of Whitby, Paul played his minor hockey in the Whitby Minor Hockey Association, including several years as a member of the Whitby Wildcats before being drafted, as an underage player, by the Oshawa Generals of the OHL after his Major Bantam AAA season. Paul played all four seasons of his OHL career with Oshawa and participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game, as well as the CHL Canada-Russia Challenge, and the 2004 OHL All-Star Game. He was also nominated for the Max Kaminsky Trophy, an award given to the OHL’s best defenceman each season. Paul was chosen by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After one season in the AHL, Paul earned a roster spot on the Lightning's defence and played in the NHL Young Stars game in January 2007. After two shoulder surgeries and a sabbatical from the NHL, he resurrected his professional hockey career in 2012-2013 with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, followed by a season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and another in the Swiss-A league. While with the Maple Leafs, Paul was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He finished his NHL career with 323 games, 24 goals, and 82 assists for a total of 106 points.

Durham Sports History

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Oshawa Hall of Fame

2016 Induction Class

Elena Davydova

Ron Keys

Eric Lindros

Elena Davydova was born Aug. 7, 1961 in Russia. She is the World Champion and the two times Olympic Champion in artistic gymnastics. Wile representing the Soviet Union she scored a perfect 10 on floor and vault edging out Nadia Comaneci at the 1980 Olympics for the all around title.

As a Oshawa Gemini coach for the past 25 years, and the head coach since 1999, she has amassed an astounding list of achievements and guided numerous athletes into elite level competitions and toward exciting post-secondary school opportunities. Under Elena’s leadership Gemini has produced 22 All Around Canadian Champions, 10 AA Elite Canada Champions, 21 Eastern Canadian AA Champions, and 113 AA Provincial Champions.

Since moving to Oshawa in 1991, Elena is recognized as one of the most successful Canadian coaches, placing athletes on the Canadian Team for major games and Championships since 1995. Gymnastics Canada and Gymnastics Ontario named Elena the high performance coach of the year in 1997, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013. In addition to the 2012 Olympics, leading the team to an historical 5th place, Elena coached the Canadian team at six World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and Pan American Games. International Gymnastics Federation has invited her as an Expert for several International Academy coaching courses.

One of the most talented riders ever to race a motorcycle, Ron Keys went straight out of the gate to excel at his chosen sport. Unlike some child prodigies, Ron’s first ride on a motorcycle was at age nineteen. A few weeks after buying his first bike in 1965, he raced all comers at a local track and won. The following year Ron obtained a racing licence and, racing this same ill-prepared street bike, won the Junior Class at the Annual Canada/USA Challenge Race. In 1967, riding a proper racing motorcycle, he won all six of his first races but then had an accident that sidelined him for the year.

In 1968 Ron was promoted to the Expert Class, leapfrogging the Senior Class altogether, and in August of the same year, riding a borrowed bike, won his first Expert Class race. In 1969, leading from start to finish, he won his first Canadian National Championship.

From there Ron was fully sponsored on a proper racing bike and spent winters racing in California and summers in Canada. Over his short career, Ron won five National Motocross Championships, three Provincial Dirt Track Championships, one National Dirt Track Championship and a Silver Medal in the Olympics of motorcycling—the International Six Days Enduro. For Yamaha, he won their first National Motocross Championships in Canada in all three classes. Retiring in 1974, Ron was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2008.

Eric Lindros was one of the most dominant players to ever wear an Oshawa Generals jersey.

Born Feb. 28, 1973 in London, Ont., Eric came to Oshawa in 1990, at the age of 16. Physically well beyond most players his age, he proved to be an invaluable piece for a Generals team that went on to win its first Memorial Cup since 1944. He racked up 18 goals and 36 points in the playoffs and was named a Memorial Cup all-star.

Lindros spent parts of three seasons with the Generals amassing 180 goals, 200 assists, 380 points and 437 penalty minutes in just 157 games. In 1991, although the Generals were upset in a spirited OHL final by the Greyhounds, Eric was named the junior player of the year for both Ontario and Canada. He also twice won gold with Canada at the world junior hockey championships, in 1990 and 1991.

His dominance carried into the NHL, where he became a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. He ended up playing 760 games over an injury-plagued NHL career with the Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars, scoring 372 goals and 865 points, and winning the Hart Trophy as MVP in 1995.

Eric played on 3 Canadian teams at the Olympics winning gold and silver medals. In 2006, became just the third player to have his number 88, retired by the Generals.

Gord Garrison

Peter Stephenson

local legends

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Gord Garrison, was a broadcasting pioneer who lived in Oshawa from 1948 until the time of his death in May, 2009.

Born July 31, 1924 in Manitoba, Gord settled in Oshawa in the late- 1940s and soon became a familiar voice on the airways, bringing local, national and international sports coverage to southern Ontario. In 1958, he became the owner and operator of CKLB AM and FM, where he continued to ensure Durham sports fans were made aware of the excellence in the community.

He was the voice of the Oshawa Generals from 1948 through the mid-60s and now has the press gondola at the General Motors Centre named in his honour. His work went far beyond that, however, as he was also the ring announcer for professional wrestling in the 1940s and 50s at Oshawa’s Hambly Arena and other local venues, the stock car race announcer at James Park in north Oshawa, a periodic announcer for the Oshawa Green Gaels lacrosse team in the 1960s, and the play-by-play voice across Canada for the 1958 world hockey championships in Oslo, Norway, where the Whitby Dunlops won gold.

Gord was innovative and entrepreneurial, as evidenced by hiring an aircraft and pilot to enable him to report live, Marilyn Bell’s famous swim across Lake Ontario in 1954.

Peter Stephenson was born in Oshawa on Feb. 17, 1944.

Although a strong player, Peter’s major impact on the sport would be as builder, where he has served as a coach, official and administrator. he was a coach at the 1974 Canada Winter Games, received a certificate of recognition for achievement in amateur sport in Ontario in 1986, won the Ontario Badminton president’s award in 1987, 2004 and 2008, earned a Celebration ‘88’ certificate of merit from the Canadian government in 1988, became a Badminton Canada life member in 2003 and won the Syl Apps special achievement award in 2007.

He is a certified Level 2 coach, has been a national referee for more than 15 years, a national umpire for over 30 years and has officiated at all levels, including provincial and national championships and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Peter started and coached a badminton program at Durham College and has served as president at the Oshawa YMCA, district president for Ontario’s Central Region, and a director for the Ontario Badminton Association.

Also prominent in the Boys Scouts of Canada for more than 35 years, Peter was recognized with the Silver Acorn award, one of scouting’s highest volunteer honours, in 1999.

Ajax Wanderers RUFC

A Brief History the Rugby Club in Durham Region

The Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club can lay claim to being the founding club for rugby in post-war Ontario. Started by a group of English immigrants who missed their favourite sport from back home in 1949, the club originally had no similar opposition to compete against.

The early years saw games against the University of Toronto and McGill University. The Toronto Nomads, Aurora Barbarians, Irish Canadians and to a lesser extent the Brantford Harlequins all owe their existence to those early Wanderers.

Once a league was in place Wanderers became immediately successful winning several provincial championships in the late 1950s. The club also began a tradition of touring that continues to this day. Going on tour and hosting teams is one of the finest traditions in rugby and the sport provides an opportunity like no other for players to travel the world as a team or as individuals.

Over the years Wanderers have toured extensively within Canada, the United States, Great Britain and even an occasional trip to the continent. The club has also hosted teams from all over the world.

Developing players to play on the provincial, national and international stage has always been a priority and the Wanderers have provided players to the Canadian national team almost from its beginnings with John Ackerly representing his country in 1971. That tradition has continued through the years with the likes of Scott Mackinnon and David Moonlight who was a long time captain of the Canadian National 7s team.

Wanderers have also welcomed players from around the globe to play with the club as they travel or on an exchange basis.

Ajax Wanderers is a dynamic and growing club and not all of the clubs success is buried in the past. The club last won the Ontario Senior Men’s championship in 1998, a decade which also saw the women’s team as the dominant force in the province with a large contingent moving up to play for the women’s national team. Although the club suffered two relegations after that provincial championship, the Wanderers won the TRU Men’s title in 2004, 2006, and 2009 as well as the TRU Men’s 2nd XV title in 2007.

The club is currently experiencing an upswing in its fortunes both for individuals and as an organization. With one of the best facilities in the province, and a continual stream of up and coming players, the club continues to provide players to Ontario and Canada. John Moonlight is a current member of the Men’s National Program and several Wanderers have recently represented their country at U17 and U20 level. Most exciting of all though is the success of the Men’s 1st XV, which last year won promotion back into the Ontario leagues for the first time in a decade. This success was achieved with an extremely young group who look forward to working together to put Ajax Wanderers back at the pinnacle of rugby in Ontario.

Oshawa Vikings

A Brief History the Rugby Club in Durham Region

The ORU is only nine (9) years older than the Oshawa Vikings. In 1949, the Wanderers were the only club in Ontario, and they played out of Riverdale Park in Toronto. Competition consisted of intra-squad play, exhibition games with touring teams and touring themselves. At this time, groups within the Wanderers split up to form three other teams, known as the Barbarians, Nomads and the Irish Canadians.

Soon immigrants from the British Isles had the Scottish, Welsh, Saracens and others quickly flourishing. These teams, plus the old Canadian footballers from Balmy Beach formed the original senior league of the ORU. These teams were centered in Toronto with younger, weaker intermediate teams springing up on the edges of Toronto, in centres like Oshawa.

Chris Krause, who played for the Nomads in the early fifties, realized that Canadian boys had few opportunities to participate in contact sports after high school. Chris loved rugby, knew it was not difficult to learn and would fill a void for enthusiastic young athletes. If memory serves well, it was Jimmy Stephenson who posed the question, “Why don’t you start your own club, Krause?” Chris did. He got a few fellow workers interested and it was on its way. In the early years, the bulk of the players worked at General Motors, but this slowly changed over the years as Oshawa industry diversified.

Except for a core of British players, most of the Canadian boys knew nothing of the game. They learned quickly though, since there was quite a carry-over in skills from football. Initially, rugby wasn’t a free-flowing and open a game as seen today by the rugby playing world, but that quickly changed. Football strategy and philosophy took time to eradicate.

The name “Vikings” came about from the types of names new clubs were all adopting. Most names wished to denote a historical association with strength, valour and a hint of Celtic rapine and pillage. So much for British heritage!

The club colours were chosen to represent the black of the New Zealand side and the red was an honour paid to Chris’ wife Brenda, whose ancestry was Welsh. This was quite canny on Chris’ part, for how could Brenda deny him time with the rugby team, after such a chivalrous deference.

Oshawa’s early success coincided with the meteoric growth of rugby in Ontario schools, during the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, the forty years of Viking successes and failures mirror the development of high school rugby in Oshawa. In the early years, the bulk of the players were not home grown talent; thankfully that has now changed and the only way for a club to remain vital and have a sustained growth is through youth development. All in all, we as a club have much to be thankful for and much to be proud of.

Whitby Hall of Fame

2016 Induction Class

Jason Pottinger

Gavin Prout

David Branch

The first inductee to speak was Jason Pottinger who grew up in Whitby playing football for Henry Street High School and the Oshawa Hawkeyes before moving on to McMaster University and later the CFL. While at McMaster Jason was twice named a First Team All-Canadian and also awarded the President’s Trophy as the defensive MVP of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league. Jason also had a very successful CFL career winning the Grey Cup as a rookie with the BC Lions in 2006 and again with the Toronto Argos in 2012. At the ceremony Jason spoke about how important his high school and youth coaches and volunteers were to his development into a professional football player.

Gavin Prout was the second inductee of the night and like Pottinger he stressed how proud he was of his Whitby roots and how important all of his minor coaches were to his success as a lacrosse player. Gavin started his lacrosse career in Whitby and then moved on to play Junior A with the Warriors, where he won two Minto Cups, and then Senior A with the Brooklin Redmen where he won a Mann Cup. After junior Gavin enjoyed a successful career playing professional lacrosse in the NLL and also representing Canada in both indoor and outdoor lacrosse. Gavin reflected back on his younger playing days and the dedication and hard work that was instilled in him by legendary lacrosse coach Jim Bishop.

The final inductee of the night was David Branch who entered the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame in the Builders category for his lifetime dedication to hockey both at the minor and junior levels. David has been the Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) since 1979 and also the President of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Even with his responsibilities with junior hockey David still dedicates his time to coaching minor hockey in Whitby often times with his sons behind the bench with him. Originally from Bathurst, New Brunswick David spoke about how the community roots and sporting background that attracted him and his family to the Town of Whitby.

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