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Five new members enshrined into Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame

Former Oshawa Generals play-by-play announcer Paul Romanuk (top) and NHL alumni Rob Pearson (at left, bottom) were among the five newest entrants into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame. Joining them at the annual induction ceremony on May 30 were former Generals coach Paul Theriault and player Scott McCrory, and track and field athlete/coach Kevin Dillon. (Photos by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Five members of the local sporting community have taken their respective places in the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame.

The annual induction ceremony was held at the Tribute Communities Centre on May 30.

The 2018 class includes former Oshawa Generals head coach Paul Theriault, NHL alumni Rob Pearson, Generals single-season point record holder Scotty McCrory, broadcaster and writer Paul Romanuk, and track athlete/coach Kevin Dillon.

Romanuk began his career as the play-by-play announcer for the Generals between 1982 and 1987, before moving to Canada’s first all-sports network TSN.

There, he became the voice of Canada’s junior and international hockey between 1990 and 2001. Since leaving TSN, he has broadcasted at six Olympic Games and written more than 25 children’s sports books. Joining Rogers Sportsnet in 2014, he serves as the play-by-play commentator for national and regional NHL coverage.

Romanuk said it was a “very special night for him.”

“What an honour to go in with this group,” he told those in attendance.

He noted how it was interesting that his career had intertwined with a number of his fellow inductees, namely Theraiult who was the coach of the Generals during Romanuk’s run as announcer.

“He was an inventor for his time…he was a heck of a coach, and he was the perfect coach for that team at that time, and I’ll never forget my interaction with him,” Romanuk stated.

In a video package highlighting his career, Romanuk spoke on calling the action when the Generals won the 1990 Memorial Cup.

Although noting he was expected to be unbiased as a national broadcaster, he admitted he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t excited that Oshawa came out on top.

A multi-sport athlete growing up in Oshawa, Pearson excelled most of all in hockey, winning numerous awards from peewee to bantam.

After beginning his OHL career with the Belleville Bulls, Pearson was traded to the Generals in 1990 and racked up 57 goals and 109 points in just 41 games. In 1990, he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and would go on to play 269 NHL games with Toronto, Washington and St. Louis, scoring 56 goals and 54 assists.

Since retirement, he has coached in minor hockey and with the UOIT Ridgebacks.

Pearson says his success was somewhat distinct because he didn’t start playing hockey until he was eight years old.

However, he dedicated himself to the craft and yielded the results.

“I played during a time if you wanted to excel, you worked hard. You worked at home shooting pucks at your garage door,” Pearson said. “There wasn’t extra ice, off-ice training, yoga classes or everything that’s happening today.”

For Pearson, hockey taught him the characteristics of “commitment, respect, accountability, team spirit, pride, and initiative.”

Theriault began his OHL coaching career in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie before taking over in Oshawa before the 1978-79 season. Over the course of his nine seasons with the Generals, the team never finished below .500, amassing a 350-234-22 record. Under Theriault, the Generals reached the Memorial Cup finals in 1983 and 1987, both in a losing effort. Later, Theriault would coach in Italy and serve as an assistant coach for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres before returning to the OHL between 1998 and 2001 with Sault Ste. Marie and the Erie Otters.

Dillon, a 1978 graduate of Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School, captured gold medals and set records in numerous track events as a high school student, and also while attending Villanova University. He followed up his successful athletic career as a business and physical education teacher at his alma mater high school from 1986 to 2015.