Quinte West Sports Wall of Fame will welcome Nine Individuals and Five Teams
By NICK OGDEN
The Quinte West Sports Wall of Fame is not just about recognizing talented athletes, but about bringing the community together for the love of sport.
Each year, athletes, teams and influential builders in the Quinte West community are nominated to be inducted into the Sports Wall of Fame. The wall was founded by then councillor Doug Whitney in 2009 after trying to establish it for years. He was the chair of the selection committee until his passing in May, 2015. The wall is located at the YMCA in the City of Quinte West. 2017 will be the 9th annual induction ceremony, and the committee says that every year it is an honour to induct people who have helped shape the sporting community in Quinte West.
“These people are a testament to the level of athleticism, teamwork and passion for sports that exist in our community,” says Cheryl Paul, a Wall of Fame committee member since its inception. “It is a great honour for the Inductees as well as their family members. We have had many Inductees pass away, and their families have been there to see their names honoured. It is a very heartfelt moment.”
The wall is split into three sections: Athletes, Builders and Championship Teams. All inductees must be a resident of Quinte West currently or during the time of their athletic career. A builder is a person who leads an athlete in some way, be it as a coach, trainer, manager or program developer.
Currently, there are 306 inductees on the wall. This year, 14 new ones will be added, including nine individuals and five teams joining the ranks.
“I was apprehensive at first, but as the committee explained, the criteria had been met and that’s why I was asked to join.”
But the athletes and builders inducted aren’t the only ones deserving recognition. Coxwell, who has been involved with sports since public school, says that the committee does a fantastic job every year to make the event possible.
“It’s enjoyable working with the committee to maintain the integrity of the wall through the criteria as directed by Quinte West city council. I feel gratified when it all comes together for the ceremony.”
Coxwell added that the wall helps to bring people together as one with a common goal, and upholds the rich legacy set by those who dedicated their talents and leadership to the development of the Quinte West sporting community.
Patrick Tracey Jr., a 2016 inductee recognized for his contributions as a football coach, says being inducted was, “one of the most meaningful and personal honours I’ve ever received.” Tracey, who joins the same wall that his parents, Pat and Marie Tracey had previously been inducted into, says that the goal of a sport Wall of Fame is, “to bring prestige and honour by publically acknowledging and celebrating the many athletes, volunteers and builders who have made outstanding contributions to their sports programs.”
Sports have always played a key role in Quinte West. “It can play a role in bringing a community together, having a social and cultural impact by minimizing ethnic barriers, and strengthen competition, integrity and ambition,” says Tracey.
He says that having the Sports Wall of Fame in Quinte West is a way to unite people of all backgrounds. “The wall creates a bond and a sense of connection to the community, the region and the many avenues available to its citizens through health, wellness and leadership.”
“They are the people who have attained their goals as either an athlete or part of a team,” Coxwell expressed. “Builders are the people within our community who stepped forward to help others achieve those goals through their volunteer efforts. We honour those achievements by preserving them on the wall so others can see and possibly be inspired to follow that path.”
Tracey echoed Coxwell’s sentiment with his own thoughts about what the wall means for the public. “The standards they uphold provide both educational and inspirational value for the youth of today. A Sports Wall of Fame preserves its history and provides a pathway for the future.”
This year’s ceremony will be on Saturday, July 8th beginning at 2 p.m.
Visit www.quintewest.ca for more information about the Sports Wall of Fame program or to nominate a deserving athlete, builder or team. Nomination deadline is December 31st of each year.
Pat Tracey Jr was inducted into the Sports Wall of Fame in July, 2016. Tracey was recognized for his years of playing hockey and football, and even coaching in the Canadian Football League.
The 2017 ceremony will be Brian Coxwell’s second ceremony as chair of the committee. Coxwell was inducted himself in 2009 recognized for his contributions to minor hockey in Frankford, Ont.