Hall of Fame class of 2012 unveiled
by Randy Pascal
Come early June, the House of Kin Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame will grow by another ten members. Eight individuals, one team and a corporate
sponsor were announced last week as the latest additions to the shrine that is moving ever-closer to boasting a permanent residence at the Countryside
The Class of 2012 includes curling instructor/competitor Alan Arkilander (Builders Category), track & field official John Roberts
(Administration Category), former NHLer Jim Fox, hockey players Bill McDonagh and Cummy Burton (also inducted in the Media
Category), baseball player John "Lefty" Barbeau and former CFL (Canadian Football League) all-star Jim Piaskoski.
The Sudbury Hardrocks football team (1952-1966) will also be recognized, as will long-time local corporate donor Xstrata, formerly
Falconbridge Nickel Mines.
With a handful of the recipients on hand for a gathering at M.I.C., Roberts summarized the feelings of so many who have been honoured in the past. "This
is awesome. I wasn't expecting it at all," he said. "Today, I'm just tingling."
A co-chair of the 2010 Ontario Summer Games in Sudbury along with a variety of other events (most notably with the Special Olympics program) as well as
a volunteer track official for countless years at the Rainbow Elementary meets and a slew of other competitions, Roberts admitted his move to the
"administrative" side of track & field was driven somewhat out of necessity.
"I remember going out for pole vault practice," he said. "At the time, that's how the coaching was done - here's a set of hurdles, so hurdle. That's how
we found out if we could compete."
"The pole was a bamboo pole and the landing pit was sawdust and bales," Roberts added. "After a couple of tries, that was the end of my career as a pole
vaulter, so I thought I would become a manager."
A graduate of Markham District High School, Roberts maintained an involvement with some athletic competition, despite a physique that was perhaps
less than ideal for the sport in question.
"I played football in high school," he said. "One year I played corner linebacker and the next year I played offensive lineman at 150 pounds." Over time,
he would migrate over to the areas at which he is such a recognizable face these days, starting track races for hundreds if not thousands of local athletes.
"The end result, you see success with kids who might otherwise not get it. You see the growth in young athletes. Maybe they don't win, but they've grown
from the experience," he said.
If the involvement of John Roberts helps showcase the sporting opportunities for youth, Oscar Clouthier and the Sudbury Hardrocks bring to life a
vastly different era of summer football.
"We were coming out of high school and playing with older men" recounted Clouthier, at least as well-known for his work in minor and junior hockey
circles as he is for a 15 year career with the Hardrocks and Spartans.
"The guys that played really enjoyed it. We had long-term football players. We had some turnover, but a lot of guys stayed for 10 years or more," he
said. That nucleous would keep in touch in the off season, regrouping in the spring and producing athletes who moved along to the pro ranks in Ken
Shaw and the afore-mentioned Jim Piaskoski.
While he played a little hockey in his youth, Clouthier suggested that football will always hold a special place in his heart. "I coached a lot of
hockey, but didn't play as much as I coached, so it was different," he said.
"But to me, football is probably the best team sport I ever played, because everyone depends on everyone else, everybody had a part to play. Even moreso
when (the late) Sid Forster took over," Clouthier said.
"He was so organized and such a great coach. He changed the whole atmosphere around the team." The 2012 Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame Dinner is set for
Wednesday, June 13th at the Caruso Club.
Tickets for the sports celebrity dinner, awards and induction ceremony are available for $ 45 (adults) and $ 20 (children age 10 and under) and can
be obtained by contacting either Norm Mayer or Chris Sheridan at (705) 522-3600.