The theme for the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony was the importance of community in helping to shape the lives of young athletes.
That was the sentiment humourist and author Terry Fallis shared while addressing the audience of 200 residents, Nov. 18, in the William Lea room at the Memorial Gardens.
Members of the 2016 class also shared that view as they thanked their coaches and the athletes they coached for continuing the tradition of volunteering in Leaside.
This year’s class included former Toronto Argonauts wide receiver, Mike Bradwell, former NHL first round draft pick, Terry Caffery, figure skating sage, Tom Kalweit and tireless volunteer, as well as advocate for women’s hockey, Ian Shaw.
Bradwell, who is the second Argo to be inducted (Joe Krol was the first), thanked his coaches, Jim Georgiadis and Csaba Vegh, at Leaside High School for helping to give him the confidence to pursue football beyond the one season he played it.
“It’s pretty amazing. I never really expected this,” he told the Town Crier. “Even if I asked my teammates, I never really would have expected this.”
In his senior year he played for the Lancers squad on special teams. It led him to try out for the McMaster squad, which eventually led him to being drafted in the second round by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. He also won himself a Grey Cup with the team during the 2012 season, and brought the storied trophy to Leaside High School.
He’s now working as an engineer in Los Angeles, Calif.
Another top draft pick, though from a different sport, was Caffery, who joins his brother Jack (Class of 2014). The former NHLer, taken third overall by Chicago Black Hawks, said he has nothing but perfect memories of his sporting days in Leaside.
The Aurora resident lauded the coaches who made the transition from baseball to hockey seamless.
“The more I travelled and all the places that I lived, I realized how all of us kids were lucky to have grown up in Leaside because of all the great volunteer coaches and managers,” he said, just before the ceremony got under way.
Caffery went to high school at St. Michael’s College School, which led him to play for the Toronto Marlies. From there he was drafted into the NHL, and would play there as well as its rival, the World Hockey Association. He scored a career high 100 points during his 1972-73 season with New England Whalers.
Figure skating coach Tom Kalweit was also honoured. The Barrie resident, who spent 26 years of his life in Leaside admitted he hasn’t put on the skates for 10 years, but now that he’s a grandfather to three girls, he’s game. Though he did quip he may need a helmet.
Shy as a kid, Kalweit studied hard and after winning his first gold at a 1968 skating competition, he was hooked. In 1981, he began his career in Leaside, coaching plenty of youngsters looking to be the next Scott Moir or Tessa Virtue.
“I saw some of the kids (I taught) here and they said they got so much out of my coaching, and it helped them with their coaching and skating,” he said.
Shaw left his mark on the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association. He joined the league as a volunteer coach, but eventually became president, and an advocate for women’s hockey.
Unfortunately, Shaw died before being inducted, but his 33-year-old daughter, Jenny, accepted the plaque in his stead.
“Hockey was really big in our household and every Sunday that was what we did,” Jenny said, adding she continues his legacy as a referee and volunteer coach.
Athlete of the Year honours went to 14-year-old Remy Cattell, who has being tearing up the tracks province-wide with her long-distance prowess.
She thanked her mom, Cory, for being the touchstone for her early career.
“Basically, she’s the whole reason why I started running,” she admitted after the ceremony. “I never would have thought of joining unless she made me in Grade 1.”
Cattell said she was really happy with the news of winning Athlete of the Year. She follows previous winners, Olympic swimmer Martha McCabe, speed skater Ayanna Badali and hockey standout Reid Humphrey.