HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
If you want to see the ever-moving Barclay Frost on Saturday, you’ll need to be at Wesley Clover Parks for the Athletics Canada cross-country running championships.
At age 80, don’t look for him tackling the challenging overland running course in the masters age-group race. He’s not a runner and is gradually returning to old-timers’ hockey, after a stroke earlier this year.
Instead, Frost will be using his skills as an official to organize the runners at the start line for the seven races and also will serve on the jury of appeal to resolve any disputes.
When Athletics Canada put the call out for volunteers for the national cross-country running championships not far from his home in Munster Hamlet, ON., he couldn’t resist.
And if you happened to be at Ottawa City Hall last week, guess who you would have seen? That’s right. That’s Barclay.
Frost was among a group of 15 elite individuals who were recipients of the Order of Ottawa and received a special pin from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson for their wide-ranging accomplishments.
Jeff Hunt, who bought the Ottawa 67’s major junior hockey team in 1998 and later was part of a group to receive a Canadian Football League expansion franchise, also received the Order of Ottawa.
“I was shocked when I got the initial phone call from (City of Ottawa) protocol. I said: ‘Wow!’ I didn’t know much about it. I am deeply honoured to be one of the 15,” Frost said in an interview.
Forty-one Ottawa residents were nominated for the Order of Ottawa, which recognizes exceptional residents who have made a significant contribution in a professional way in arts and culture, business, community service, education, entrepreneurship, public service, labour, communications and media, science, sports or entertainment.
Frost has touched all the important bases in sports as he has and continues to serve as an official, an athlete, a coach, a convenor and a builder.
For more than 65 years, Frost has been an all-around sportsman and has played a vital part in the Ottawa amateur sports scene at the club, community and elementary school levels.
Frost is a level 5 field referee in track and field and has officiated at athletics competitions for 55 years from high school meets to the Summer Olympics. He also has served as a basketball referee at the high school, intermediate, senior, college and university levels, as well as being a softball umpire in local leagues.
As a youth, he grew up on the Strathcona Park and Sandy Hill playgrounds playing all sports well and excelled at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in football, volleyball, basketball, badminton and track and field.
He eventually became a summer park supervisor and later used his leadership skills as a city parks and recreation sports specialist, organizing summer and winter leagues. As a seniors’ athlete, he’ll play 60 to 70 games as one of the oldest hockey goaltenders in the city, take to the curling rink in the winter and the golf course in the other three seasons.
His passion for sports also found him coaching athletes at various levels. As an elementary school teacher in the former Carleton Board of Education, he was the cross-country running and track and field convenor for eight years.
For the past several years, Frost has been the chair of the Ottawa Sports Awards dinner, which is the most comprehensive and inclusive amateur sports recognition award event in Canada.
This year has been a celebratory time for Frost. In June, he turned 80 years old and a few days later received a plaque from Athletics Canada’s national officials committee to solidify his spot on the Officials Wall of Honour.
Frost also is a member of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame, Lisgar Collegiate Institute Sports Hall of Fame and the Goulbourn Sports Wall of Fame.
During one of his many outings, Frost was stopped by an elderly woman who wanted to pass on some wise words about growing older. She said: “You’re either going to rust out or wear out.”
Frost subscribes to the latter.
A native Newfoundlander, Hunt moved to Ottawa in 1983 and ran a successful carpet cleaning business for 15 years.
After selling his franchised operation, he bought the 67’s and immediately took a more professional approach to marketing the team, which led to record attendance and success on the ice. Hunt has seen the 67’s play in three Memorial Cup championships, winning in 1999 at home and reaching the 2005 final.
In 2008, Hunt, Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy and Bill Shenkman formed the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group and paid $7 million to put the nation’s capital back on the CFL map. After six years of legal battles and redeveloping Lansdowne Park and the Frank Clair Stadium (now TD Place), the Redblacks debuted in 2014.
In 1998-99, Hunt was named the OHL and Canadian Hockey League executive of the year. Hunt was named in 2015 to the Yahoo Canada Sports list of the top 25 “Movers and Shakers,” who are the most influential sportspeople in Canada.
Manock Lual, Julie Richards share Brian Kilrea coaching award
The 2021 Order of Ottawa award ceremony in the council chambers also honoured Manock Lual and Julie Richards as the recipients of the Brian Kilrea Award for excellence in coaching.
Lual, who came to Canada as a refugee from South Sudan, founded and is head coach of Prezdential, a non-profit group focused on improving life for disadvantaged Ottawa youth and racialized children living in low-income neighbourhoods.
He presents his free basketball and life skills programs in “an environment of acceptance and positivity that follows participants into their communities,” according to the City of Ottawa press release. His programs not only help young athletes develop better basketball skills, but also learn to be better people in the process.
Richards has coached house league, club competitive and high school basketball teams for youth ages 10 to 18 in the West Ottawa Basketball Association and at Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Her leadership, dedication and commitment to the game has been clearly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She organized hour-long, weekly Zoom meetings and workout sessions to motivate her players. The sessions also involved conversations on health, nutrition and drill challenges.
“These workouts provided these youth with stability, stimulation and motivation during an unprecedented time. Her leadership and support kept the boys engaged and involved during a time where most kids slipped into isolation,” said the press release.
In December, 2020, Richards also introduced the Calendar of Gratitude, which asked each player to do an act of kindness every day in the month.
The 2020 Order of Ottawa awards were presented the day after the 2021 ceremony, which included Jean-Sorphia Guillaume winning the Brian Kilrea Award for coaching.
A teacher and second-year football head coach at St. Matthew High School, Guillaume spearheaded the Tigers to the 2016 National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association senior title and an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ AAA championship by winning the Metro Bowl. He also was second in voting for coach of the year by Canadian universities.
In 2018, St. Matthew was the only Canadian school invited to the multi-game Freedom Bowl in Georgia. The Tigers played the team from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which suffered the loss of 17 students earlier that year in a school shooting.
“For coach Jean, it was about the value of student reflection and learning, bringing people together, humanitarianism and sharing a common goal and love of a special game,” according to a city press release.
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 email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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