By definition, a hall of fame represents a collection of individuals who have been acclaimed as outstanding in a particular field of endeavour, profession, or locale by a group of electors.
In some cases, such institutions are single-entity organizations, that is, all of their inductees are recognized on the basis their achievements in the same area of specialization; some of the more popular examples of this type would be halls dedicated to the fields of rock ‘n roll, agriculture, mining, insurance, aviation, and for sports fans, hockey and lacrosse.
However, many halls of fame are far more encompassing in their characterization of a field of endeavour, preferring to recognize the achievements and contributions of individuals under a somewhat wider umbrella. This is not to say that one method is better than the other but simply a matter of interpretation by the respective hall founders and their succeeding panels of electors.
The Whitby Sports Hall of Fame falls under the category of all-encompassing institutions. Established in 1997, the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame recognizes and honours persons and groups of persons who, through their individual or group efforts, have:
• Contributed to the advancement and quality of sport within the Town of Whitby, or
• Exhibited and attained athletic prowess in a particular sport of such a standard as to attract acclaim and recognition from the sporting community at large
Over its first 21 years, the Hall has steadfastly adhered to this mandate. To date, past and present Executive Committees have recognized and honoured representatives from no fewer than 17 different sporting disciplines; this includes seven teams and 49 individual inductees for an aggregate membership of 244 athletes, builders, team executives, and members of the media.
Many people within the sporting community, both locally and abroad, will mistakenly refer to Whitby as a hockey town or a lacrosse town.
While this is understandable to a degree, based on the history of success for Whitby-Brooklin in these two sports, the sheer breadth of having inductees from 17 sports in the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame belies this notion of a one-sport or two-sport town. Whitby athletes and teams have represented our community on the national, international, and Olympic stages in such disciplines as gymnastics, sailing, rugby, swimming, and precision skating to name but a few (see the complete list by visiting http://www.whitbysportshalloffame.com/hall-of-fame/inducted).
Our Executive Committee will reconvene in late September to begin its 2018-2019 session. One of the first orders of business will be to select the inductees for 2019, to be honoured at our 22nd Annual Induction Ceremonies at Royal Ashburn Golf Club on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
The official announcement of the newest inductees will be made during the last week of January 2019 – who will they be, and might we be further expanding the range of sports represented in our Hall?