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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Nepean Sports Wall of Fame’s 2021 inductees will be revealed Oct. 28 on YouTube

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

This is what we know for the moment.

The biennial Nepean Sports Wall of Fame induction will be Thursday, Oct. 28.

Set your clock for 7 p.m., but stay at home. There’s no need to travel to the salons at the Nepean Sportsplex as happened in 2019, when a crowd of 300 celebrated the induction of nine athletes and builders.

The 2021 ceremony will strictly be a virtual presentation on the Nepean Sports Wall of Fame YouTube channel.

From start to finish, the induction of eight athletes and builders as well as one member of the media, should take about 35 minutes. This is the second time builders will be honoured along with athletes. The wall membership will grow to 84 athletes, builders and media.

That’s a fair bit of information, but we’re missing the main core of what this ceremony is all about.

So, who will be inducted onto the wall in the Class of 2021?


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Unlike other halls of honour, which announce their chosen athletes and builders months in advance to help sell tickets, the Nepean Sports Wall of Fame will keep everyone guessing until the Bytown Video Production plays out on YouTube.

“Because it is a virtual broadcast, if we put the names out ahead of time, people will know who they are and will not watch the broadcast,” said Gavin Leishman, the chair of the Nepean Sports Wall of Fame board.

The ceremony will be a virtual one this time because of the restrictions about gathering in large crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We decided the night of the event will be the first unveiling (of the Class of 2021 inductees),” he added. “There are some neat people. It’s amazing how many people there are in Nepean who have done something and no one knows anything about it.”

While we may not know any of the names, we have uncovered what sports these soon-to-be honoured members played in their competitive days.

There will be two hockey players. That’s interesting because there were two former NHL players inducted in 2019 – Jamie Baker and Jeff Chychrun.

The number of paddlers on the wall will double to four and they will join sprint kayaker Renn Crichlow (1990) and marathon canoeist Joanna Fallon (1994), who is now a member of the wall’s board of directors.

Janet Morrissey (1985) will finally get some company as someone from figure skating will get the nod. Could it be her former coach Cynthia Reid, who was a lifetime member of the Nepean Skating Club?

There will be a prominent Canadian referee in sledge hockey, a sport which earned the wall spotlight for the first time with the induction of athlete Lou Mulvihill (2005).

For the second straight induction year, a soccer executive will get the call, after Alex Foti of the Nepean Hotspurs was honoured in 2019. Soccer also is represented on the wall by the sister and brother team of Charmaine (2005) and Lyndon (2007) Hooper.

The first member of the media also will have his or her name posted on the new wall of fame in the lobby of the Nepean Sportsplex.

Three-time Summer Olympian Rosey Edeh, a CTV Morning Live anchor, is the host for the induction ceremony. She will introduce each of the wall inductees, who also will have time for a thank-you speech.

The idea of the virtual show is to give the impression it is a live show, even though it was filmed one month ago.

“It (filming) didn’t come together all in one day,” Leishman added. “It took three nights of filming in front of the wall of fame. I saw a preview and it looks very, very good and very neat. I had no idea what it was going to look like.”

Four years ago, Leishman spearheaded a movement to revitalize the wall, which included recolouring all the photos, repairing many plaques and relocating the wall of honour away from the area above the lobby windows overlooking one of the rinks to a location where people could better view the plaques.

The wall’s new location also has a kiosk, which provides continuous interactive videos about the wall members and the story behind Rowan’s Law.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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