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Celebrating the success of local sports at home and abroad

Over the past 31 years, the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame has inducted over 200 local athletes who have contributed or achieved great things through sports in Oshawa, including former NHL star Eric Lindros, above, who was inducted into the hall in 2016.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame is getting ready to celebrate five athletic success stories on May 31 and is calling on the local community to join them.

The hall of fame will be inducting its newest members during a ceremony at the Tribute Communities Centre at the end of the month and will see the honouring of volleyball star Stacey Jiggins (nee Gordon), lacrosse player and builder Carolyn Toll, former Argos receiver Andre Talbot, community builder Jim Kinlin and the 1987-88 Oshawa Kiwanis major midget AAA hockey team.

Dating back to 1986, these inductions are part of a group of 211 local athletes and teams within the fame’s halls, and for Dan Walerowich, its chairman, the ceremony is just as relevant now as it was back 31 years ago.

“It’s honouring those who have achieved success, whether it be locally, nationally, internationally, as either a builder, an individual participant or a team,” he says.

“I think it’s a good presentation of those who have attained a certain level of achievement in their own sport.”

With that said, Walerowich notes that in the coming years, ceremonies like this will become more important as the passion for recognizing success in local sports needs to be carried on, something the hall is currently struggling with.

“The old Oshawa sporting community is passing on,” he says.

“Now the younger folk, we’d like to see them carry the torch on, but that’s not happening.”

Because of that, Walerowich sees the induction ceremony as a chance to bring the entire sporting community together.

The group of inductees spans five different sporting categories and achieved a variety of sporting success.

Jiggins, now 35, played volleyball locally while growing up in Oshawa before going on to play nationally and internationally, twice being named the Ohio State Athlete of the Year and winning NCAA freshman of the year honours.

Kinlin, once compared to Terry Fox for his philanthropy work, was born in 1926 and died in 1990 at the age of 63. Well known for his annual swimathon event in Oshawa, Kinlin raised over $200,000 for leukaemia research and swam a distance equivalent to Canada’s 3,405 miles and then some. Among his series of accolades, Kinlin was honoured as Citizen of the Year by PPG Limited in 1980 and earned a community service award from PPG in 1983. The City of Oshawa has twice proclaimed (once in 1984 and 1989) a Jim Kinlin Day.

Talbot started his career as a quarterback at Paul Dwyer before moving on to play 10 seasons in the CFL, nine of them with the Toronto Argonauts, including as a member of the 2004 Grey Cup winning team. Drafting in the fifth round of the CFL draft in 2001, Talbot retired in 2010.

Toll started playing lacrosse in Grade 10 at Donevan Collegiate and would go on to become one of Oshawa’s most prominent builders of the sport. Along with representing Ontario at the national championships several times, she was also part of the Canadian World Cup team that travelled to England in 2001. Since moving to coaching, she has worked with Anderson Collegiate, Brookline High School and in the community with the Oshawa Lady Blue Knights.

The final inductee is the 1987-88 Oshawa Kiwanis Major Midget AAA team, which amassed a 70-12-8 record, scoring an average of 4.68 goals a game and allowing half of that number during that season. The team would go on to win almost every championship in Ontario and finish fourth at the national championships. Four players from the team would go on to win a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 1990 and three would move on to the NHL.

Tickets for the event are $65 and the night begins at 5:30 p.m. on May 31 with a reception and cash bar, followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available through Leslie Seeley by calling (905) 259-6764, or by visiting the TCC box office.