Sports shrine honours McGill’s finest athletes
By Jim Hynes
Its members include James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, hockey legend Frank Patrick, football pioneer Frank Shaughnessy, three-time Olympian Dr. Phil Edwards, stadium namesake Percival Molson, and modern-day greats like CFLer Michael Soles. Within its ranks you’ll find 21 Olympians and 23 doctors. It is the McGill Sports Hall of Fame, and the biographies of its inductees read like a veritable history of Canadian sports.
The McGill Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1996 to honour the athletes, teams and builders that have marked McGill’s rich sports history, one that dates back to the 1860s. Its original class of inductees included, among others, the aforementioned Naismith, the Almonte, Ont., native and 1888 McGill Phys-Ed grad who is credited with inventing the sport of basketball in Springfield, Mass., in 1891.
Today, the Hall of Fame roster consists of 80 individuals (67 men and 13 women) and 10 varsity sports teams. Every year, a working group from the McGill committee overseeing the Hall of Fame wades through a long list of nominations, which includes new candidates and past nominees. The deadline for nominations is March 31 of each induction year.
“One group gets together to whittle it down to a workable number and then the whole committee meets to vote on who gets in,” said committee member Rob Watt, Business Operations Manager in McGill’s Athletics and Recreation Department.
About six people and teams are inducted into the McGill Sports Hall of Fame every year. A new group of inductees will be announced in June, after which an induction luncheon will be held.
Each of the current inductees is honoured with a plaque displayed on the walls of Tomlinson Hall in the McGill Sports Centre. If you like sports, and haven’t been up there to read about the exploits of people like Dr. James Cyril “Flin” Flanagan, who survived the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 before returning to McGill to star on the ice and football field with the Redmen, then you should. It’s a slice of Canadian sports history… with a McGill twist.
To nominate someone for induction into the McGill Sports Hall of Fame send their name and some background information to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the list of current inductees visit www.mcgill.ca/athletics/varsitysports/athletes/hof/inductees/. Profiles of each inductee will be available soon.