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Six inductees selected for 2024 Sports Wall of Fame

By St. Marys Independent staff

Three athletes, two builders and one team will be inducted as part of the inaugural class for the St. Marys Sports Wall of Fame.

The six inductees will be celebrated this fall at the Pyramid Recreation Centre, the site of the new Sports Wall of Fame. The recreation and leisure advisory committee selected the six inductees at their meeting on May 29 and noted that, in the future, each induction class would feature a maximum of three inductees per year.

“This group of inductees was selected to highlight the calibre of their achievements and dedication to promoting sport participation and appreciation in the town,” town recreation manager Joannah Campbell said. “We are very fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated sporting community and look forward to expanding this recognition program to celebrate other deserving nominees in the years to come.”

Riley Hern leads off the athlete category. Hern secured four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Wanderers in 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910. Additionally, Hern was part of the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) All-Star Team in 1902 and earned recognition as the International Hockey League (IHL) First-Team All-Star in 1905 and IHL Second-Team All-Star in 1906. In 1963, Hern was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Mark Bell was also selected as an athlete Inductee. Bell’s hockey journey began with minor hockey in St. Marys before, in 1996, Bell was drafted 15th overall in the first round of the OHL priority selection by the Ottawa 67’s, with whom he won a Memorial Cup in the 1998-99 season. The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks used the eighth overall selection on Bell in 1998 and went on to score 87 goals and 182 points in 450 NHL games.

Dale Levy rounds out the athlete category. Levy played baseball in St. Marys for 20 years and competed for Team Canada in the International Softball Federation Championships, culminating with a bronze medal. He won three world championships at the Men’s International Softball Championship (ISC) level with the Hill United Chiefs in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Two individuals will be inducted in the builder category, including the late Ferris Stewart. Stewart’s involvement in the St. Marys sports community was wide ranging, including being an athlete, coach, manager and supporter of minor hockey and competitive teams for more than three decades.

Legendary sports reporter Pat Payton completes the builder portion. Payton spent 40 years working as the pre-eminent sports reporter in and around St. Marys, working for the Journal Argus and St. Marys Independent Newspaper. Payton’s newspaper career also featured multiple sports-journalism awards.

Completing the 2024 class are the 1988 St. Marys Creamery Juniors, who are going in as part of the team category. In 1988, the Creamery Juniors ascended to great heights, being declared both the Canadian Junior Men’s Fastball Champions and the Ontario Junior Men’s Fastball Champions.

Campbell described how the recreation and leisure advisory Committee came to the decision that this was the right class to kick off the Sports Wall of Fame’s existence.

“The committee was delighted to receive a robust collection of nominations for the first year of the recognition program,” said Campbell. “Many deserving potential recipients were brought forward and countless others that we hope to receive in future submission periods. The committee used the criteria established in the nomination application as the focus of this decision. There was a lot of great discussion about the tremendous impact these folks have had on sports in St. Marys and the lasting impression they have made within their respective sports communities.”

The Sports Wall of Fame is expected to be installed at the Pyramid Recreation Centre in the coming months. The inductees will be celebrated this fall, and detailed biographies and memorabilia will be on display at the Sports Wall of Fame.


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