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Curling and football join hockey in the spotlight at House of Kin Dinner

On a night when sporting accomplishments galore were being celebrated, it was a man who is among the hundreds who make it all possible who perhaps summed it up best.

"As volunteers, we don't get into this for the recognition," noted Bill Roman Administration Award winner Leo Verrilli. "We get in to make a difference in whatever sports activity that we're involved with."

Verrilli was one of eleven individual award winners that were recognized on a night that also welcomed eight individuals, one team and one corporation as inductees into the Souse of Kin Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame.

A member of the Northeast Houseleague executive for the past twelve years, including serving as NEHL president for the past decade, Verrilli has also toiled diligently as the houseleague director for the Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association for 15 years or so.

"I have to give credit to my executive," noted Verrilli of his stint with the NEHL. "With a league that size, I have a wonderful support staff, with Bruce Vaillancourt (VP), Sue Leon (Secretary) and Lisa Anderson (Secretary) - they make me look good."

As well, Verrilli singled out the experience of working alongside CCMHA veterans Ken Creasey and Ron Didone as being key to his development as a minor hockey administrator.

And while hockey can often steel the show at this event, the 46th Annual Sports Celebrity Dinner might be remembered more for the diversity of award winners. Both curling and football shared the spotlight with hockey, with each sport boasting a pair of worthy recipients.

Reg Bonin, the man who guided the Lively Hawks to a city football title despite matching up with a whole slew of schools who easily dwarf the numbers at LDSS, was presented with the Joe Drago Coach of the Year placque.

"This championship, in my mind, is reflective of all of the kids who have been through that program," noted Bonin. "They all had a part in it, even those kids who played when we weren't very successful. They were the building blocks that enabled this year's team to have success."

"I'm lucky to have a lot of really awesome people around me that make this possible for me just to be involved," Bonin added. "My wife, my family, the staff at Lively Secondary, the principals here - and at the end of the day, the kids make my job so much easier."

Throughout the re-establishment of the football program at Lively Secondary, Bonin has maintained one tried and true approach that he picked up early in his football playing days.

"Positivism," he declared without hesitation. "I've had great mentors. Guys like Paul Gauthier, one of those guys who just gives you confidence by being positive with you. I learned a lot from his as a player."

"And other coaches that I've worked with, guys like Kevin Ellsworth, whose just exceptionally positive all the time, regardless of how poorly things are going."

Bonin's players later completed the sweep when the Lively Hawks senior boys football team was recognized as the Dr Fred W. Sheridan High School Team of the Year.

The Sudbury curling community had plenty to cheer about as both of the High School Athletes of the Year rank curling as their number one sport, with Krysta Burns of Marymount earning the female accolades while Tanner Horgan of Lockerby picked up bragging rights for the boys.

OCAA Women's Soccer "Rookie of the Year" T.K. Rocca from Cambrian was announced as the "Import Athlete of the Year", with Nick Foligno (Professional Athlete of the Year), Rebecca Johnston (Elite Athlete of the Year) and Kayla Folz (Amateur Female Athlete of the Year) also among the winners.

NOJHL goaltending star Joel Horodziejczyk has seen an interesting few weeks, recently traded from the Soo Thunderbirds to the Pembroke Lumber Kings, and walking away with Amateur Male Athlete of the Year honours on Wednesday night at the Caruso Club.

Finally, the Sudbury Midget "AA" Lady Wolves, who won the OWHA Provincials with back to back shutouts of the Whitby Wolves (1-0 in OT) and the Stoney Creek Sabres (3-0) before moving on to claim bronze medals at the 2014 Esso Cup National Midget Championships, closed the book on their season, named as the Sheridan Family Team of the Year.

The 2014 Class of Hall of Fame inductees included:

Wayne Eadie - Administration Category - for his work with the Sudbury Lakers in both minor hockey circles and club basketball

Terry McKinty - Administration Category - the founder of both the Northland Athletic Club and Sudbury Fitness Challenge and highly successful track & field coach with Lockerby Composite during the 1970's

Don Benoit - Builder Category - from his start with the martial arts in 1972, Don Benoit continued as both a competitor and coach, ultimately creating Benoit's Martial Arts in 1993, an organization that continues to produce elite competitors to this day

Polish White Eagles (1969 team) - Team Category - the last local soccer team to capture the All-Ontario Football Association Championship (now known as the "Ontario Cup"), the Eagles defeated Oshawa for the provincial crown before falling to Montreal in the Eastern Canadian playdowns

Mike Stewart - Player Category - a graduate of Lasalle Secondary, Stewart remains the last Canadian boxer to hold the World Junior Championship title, a belt that he claimed in October of 1992, also representing Canada in Thailand

John McCreedy - Player Category - also a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, McCreedy was a Memorial Cup, Allan Cup and World Champion (Team Canada - 1938) before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1941, eventually earning a Stanley Cup with the team

Paul Gauthier - Player Category - a multi-time recipient of both NFC (Northern Football Conference) regular season and championship game MVP, Gauthier led the Sudbury Spartans to six league titles during his career, inducted into the league Hall of Fame in 1995

Joyce Salo-McKenzie - Player Category - representing the Copper Cliff Skating Club, Salo earned a bronze medal at the 1949 Canadian Jr Championships, adding several titles as Northern Ontario senior skating champion and remaining actively involved in the sport as a coach and organizer for many years thereafter

Dr Ricardo de la Riva - Builder Category - the Spanish-born immigrant arrived in Sudbury in the early 1960's and quickly began steering his efforts towards the creation of both youth soccer leagues, as well as working diligently to obtain reasonable soccer fields for local children

Track & Wheels - Corporate Category - Connie and Sheila Houle have grown a small family mining business into a key member of the Sudbury economy, using that success to help promote amateur athletics in Sudbury for many, many years as well as supporting countless local charities

Be sure to follow over the next week or so as many others of the athletes that were recognized share their thoughts on the awards, and updates on their careers (the shere number of interviews involved makes this a multi-day project)

Greater Sudbury Soccer Club