The 2020 Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Inductees were announced in the Spring. Four athletes will be inducted – Bobby Ross (Rugby), Bob McLaren (Athletics), Joanne Mick (Softball) and Donnie Orr (Boxing). In addition, two builders will be honoured this year – Pat Hall (Multi-Sports) and the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL). Unfortunately, the annual dinner, usually held in October had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. These great champions will be inducted formally in 2021.
One of the finest rugby players ever to play for Canada, Ross was capped 58 times between 1989 and 2003 and scored 421 test points, ranking him as Canada’s third all-time scorer. He represented Canada in three World Cups, set the Canadian record for drop goals that still stands and is the Pacific Rim Championships scoring leader. McLaren was a versatile middle distance runner setting long-standing records in the 100m and 200m while at Oak Bay High School. Specializing in the 400 metre hurdles, his bronze medal in the 1967 Pan American Games precipitated him being chosen to compete in the 1968 Olympic Games.
Mick had a successful 14-year softball career where she set the standard for catchers in BC and Canada. She participated in 13 BC and 13 Canadian Championships and represented Canada in three World Championships including winning a silver medal in 1978 in El Salvador. Orr was an amateur middleweight boxer who won multiple national championships over his career, and whose honours include a gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, being appointed Team Captain for the 2000 Olympic Games and named Canadian Senior Amateur Boxing Champion in 2001.
In addition, two builders will be honoured this year – Pat Hall (Multi-Sports) and the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL).
Hall has made significant contributions to the sports of field hockey and softball that have spanned 50 years. She was an active field hockey player before coaching and umpiring co-founding the South Island Field Hockey Umpires Association in 1988. She was President of the Stuffy McGinnis Softball League for many years and was instrumental in restructuring junior softball in 1996.
The Vancouver Island Soccer League has a venerable history dating from 1895 with just eight teams, to today celebrating their 125th Anniversary with 85 senior men’s teams from Powell River/Campbell River south. VISL teams have won numerous national championships over the years and in 1986 a large VISL contingent led the Canadian team to its first-ever World Cup tournament.
“The selection process is always difficult as there are so many outstanding people in the Victoria sports community,” said Lois Smith, chair of the Induction Nominations Committee. “I commend the committee members for their hard work and diligence in producing such a stellar slate.”
The annual inductee dinner was planned for October 24, however due to COVID-19 and the order on mass gatherings, this has been cancelled. “While these great champions are truly worthy of recognition and inclusion among their peers into our Hall of Fame, unfortunately at this time we cannot plan the celebratory dinner event,” said Doug Jennings, President of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. “We will however be recognizing these individuals on social media, on our website and through our quarterly newsletter.”
Over 220 athletes, teams, coaches, officials, builders and media personalities have been inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame since 1991.
Bobby Ross – Rugby
One of the finest rugby players ever to play for Canada, Bobby was capped 58 times between 1989 and 2003 and scored 421 test points, ranking him as Canada’s third all-time scorer. He began his rugby career with the Castaways and during his University of Victoria years was 1989 Junior Varsity Athlete of the Year. He played with the James Bay Athletic Association through six Island and four provincial titles, and was four-time club MVP. He played for both Junior and Senior Crimson Tide and the BC Team and professionally for Cardiff, Wales, until injury ended his career. He captained the Canadian Under 19, Under 21 and Senior Men’s teams and was once capped for all three levels in the same year. He represented Canada in three World Cups, set the Canadian record for drop goals that still stands and is the Pacific Rim Championships scoring leader. Always a team player, he came out of retirement to fill Canada’s need for an outside half for the 2003 World Cup and in his last game for Canada against Tonga, Bobby was named Man of the Match.
Bob McLaren – Athletics
As a high school athlete, Bob set records in 1963 in the 100m and 200m that were still standing at the time of his induction into the Oak Bay High Hall of Fame in 2008. Also in 1963, he was named “Outstanding High School Athlete” at the Provincial Championships. He honed his skills as a 400m runner at Oregon State and held the Canadian record as well as winning National Championships in the hurdles and several other events (indoors and relays) from 1966 to 1968. Bob represented Canada at the 1967 Pan American Games, winning bronze in the 400m hurdles and silver as part of the 1600m relay team. As a result, he was named Victoria Athlete of the Year in 1967. In 1968, he represented Canada in the 400 hurdles at the Mexico City Olympic Games. This was an amazing accomplishment at a time when Canada was only sending small teams to the Olympics and selection as an Olympian was very difficult to achieve.
Joanne Mick – Softball
In 1974, pitching and catching entered a new era in Canada when Victorian Joanne Mick joined the Vancouver Doc’s Blues Team. During her 14-year senior career, she set the standard for catchers not only in BC but in the rest of Canada. Joanne represented Canada at three World Championships: 1978 El Salvador (silver medallists); 1982 Taiwan (5th) and 1986 New Zealand (4th). She participated in 13 BC Championships and was on the winning team for 12 of them. Joanne represented BC at 13 Canadian Championships, winning nine, and was named All Star Catcher at the 1980 Canadian Championships. She was always able to get the best out of any pitcher she caught for and loved the challenge of moulding young throwers into pitchers. As a catcher, Joanne was known as the “finest pitching coach to ever play the game in Canada.”
Donnie Orr – Boxing
As an amateur middleweight boxer, Donnie began his winning career in 1994, taking the gold medal at BC Provincial Championships, Silver Gloves, Emerald Gloves and Diamond Belt. In that same year, he won gold at the Commonwealth Championships, silver at Canadian National Championships and became Golden Gloves Champion. Over the next seven years, he won multiple National Championships and gold at the Los Angeles Blue & Gold Tournament where he was named most outstanding boxer over all weight divisions among 320 fighters (1998). He made the Canadian team in 1999 and was named Team Captain for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. In 2001 he became Canadian Senior Amateur Boxing Champion, placed fifth at the World Championships and took the bronze medal at the Francophonie Games. After Donnie turned pro, he won 15 of his 16 bouts before retiring from the ring.
Pat Hall – Multi-Sports
For over 50 years, Pat has been involved with Field Hockey locally, provincially and nationally at all levels of the game from junior to senior. From 1961 to 1988, she was an active player with the Vancouver Island Ladies Field Hockey Association (VILFHA). She began coaching in 1970 and umpiring in 1973, co-founding the South Island Field Hockey Umpires Association in 1988. Although retiring as an umpire in 2000, Pat continues to coach teams in various divisions. Pat served on the executive of the VILFA for over 40 years and has held many positions on the Boards of the BC and Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Associations. She has received numerous awards over the years including Victoria Sports Person of the Year, Sport BC President’s Award, VILFA Life Membership and, in 2013, the VILFA introduced the Pat Hall Officials Development Award. Her contributions to Softball are almost as numerous. She became involved with the Stuffy McGinnis Softball League in 1960 and served as President from 1975-1993. From 1987 to 1999, Pat was Softball BC Senior District Coordinator and in 1996, led the restructuring of junior softball into three levels.
Vancouver Island Soccer League – Soccer
The Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) has a long and venerable history, starting in 1895 with only eight teams and now celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year with 85 senior men’s teams from Powell River/Campbell River south. The VISL Sir John Jackson Cup championship has been played since 1915, interrupted only for a couple of years during World War II. In 1923, the Nanaimo Wanderers became the first BC team to win a National Championship. In 1968, the Victoria O’Keefe’s won the Kennedy Cup – a Mexico, USA, Canada tournament – and VISL teams won five further National Championships in the ‘70s and 80’s: London Boxing Club 1975, Vic West 1976, 1979, 1982, 1984. In 1986, a large VISL contingent led the Canadian team to its first-ever World Cup tournament, with GVSHOF inductee George Pakos scoring twice in the qualifying rounds – goals described as the two most important goals in Canadian soccer history. Over the years, the VISL has hosted many touring British teams, including Chelsea, Fulham and Glasgow. Sir Stanley Matthews played at Royal Athletic Park in 1950 and, in 1951, the Victoria All Stars became the first Canadian team to beat a touring English team, winning 1-0 over Fulham. At least 20 VISL alumni have been inducted into the GVHOF.