BRIDGETOWN, N.S. - For the ninth consecutive year, the citizens of Bridgetown came together in the Royal Canadian Legion building to honour their athletes, having honoured BRHS the institution last year.
The inductees into the Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 17 were paraded into the auditorium to the skirl of Andy Kerr’s bagpipes. Past chairman Dick Campbell gave opening remarks and introductions, which were followed by a pork dinner catered by Bonny Lightfoot, served by the O2 class at BRCS and the boys’ basketball team.
The first order of business was the reading of the honour roll by Margie Chipman. Each year the accomplishments of athletes who have won a championship at the provincial level or competed beyond that level between Oct. 1 of the previous year and Sept. 30 of the current year are recognized. This year’s roll contained 43 astounding achievements, of which 35 were gold. The various accomplishments came in lawn bowling, archery, badminton, bodybuilding, soccer, track and field, hockey, ball hockey, darts and arm wrestling. Such endeavours show the tenacity of Bridgetonians in keeping fit and bringing honours to their community.
A recurring theme of the evening was the appreciation shown by the inductees for parents, coaches and friends who have supported the athletic endeavours of the present generation. Memories of Harry Verran (a 2012 inductee), Evelyn Jackson, John Lawrence, Jim Saunders (a 2010 inductee), Theresa McNeil, “Doc’ Scanlan (a 2010 inductee) were all publicly recognized. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Jack McNeil (a 2011 inductee) who passed away since the last induction ceremony. The Bridgetown community is noted for the depth of its humanity: as one 2018 recipient remarked, “it is the people, not the accomplishments, I remember tonight.”
With present chairman Tim Jackson in charge, the evening’s first inductee was Athlete David Morse, known for his outstanding performances in track and field. In 1975 he broke the provincial records in the 400-meter and the 1500-meter runs at the Atlantic Selection meet. In the NS Track and Field Championships that year he won the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1500-meter events all on the same day. He continued his winning ways in 1976, 1977 and 1978. In 1981 he won silver and bronze at the high school provincial championships, also winning a silver with the 4x400 meter relay team. Two other sports commanded his attention: as captain of the Bridgetown Bantam C Provincial Hockey Champions in 1978 he was chosen MVP; he was also a member of the BRHS Provincial Soccer Champions in 1980. Like many victorious athletes, he is willing to coach younger athletes as head coach of the Kings County Academy track team, head coach of the Annapolis Valley Running Club, head track coach for North Kings Educational Centre.
Jason Lawton was inducted as a builder for his work in triathlons. As a member of the Canadian Forces, he and his wife Jennifer founded the Navy Tridents Triathlon Club, becoming members of the Triathlon Nova Scotia board. Their work with a program for youth in the 2009 Canada Games garnered a fourth place finish for the men’s triathlon team. He had been appointed in 2008 as national team manager of the Canadian Forces Military Triathlon team; in 2013 he was inducted into the Canadian Forces Sports Honour Roll as a builder for promoting the Military Triathlon team. As a member of the World Military Sports Committee, he oversaw the 2017 championships in Germany, the 2018 championships in Sweden: he is now preparing for the 2019 competition in Wuhan, China. Not to be forgotten is his work in establishing the Bridgetown Triathlon. Under Jason and Jennifer’s leadership as race directors, the triathlon achieved new heights, drawing upon the commitment and interest of the community, gaining provincial grants and local sponsorships. The Bridgetown Triathlon, held in August, is estimated to produce an income of $40,000 to the local community each summer.
Next to be inducted was Art Marshall as a volunteer. His participation began in BRHS with many sports including volleyball (a provincial championship) and track and field (110-yard high hurdles record). At Acadia University he was player/coach of the varsity volleyball team, a swimming instructor, and lifeguard. He taught physical education to Grades 4 to 12 at Digby Regional, coaching all the boys’ teams. At BRHS, he coached track and field his entire 26 years at the school, as well as coaching the girls’ basketball teams and boys’ volleyball teams to numerous regional banners: his A boys’ volleyball team won a provincial championship in 1966. For many years, he organized the Neil Heddington Volleyball Tourrnament. For the community, Art was involved in the Bridgetown Recreation Association as president, raising money for the pool and rink. He coached minor hockey; he was on the board of directors of the Eden Golf and Country Club. For many years he was the official starter of the district and regional high school meets, and designated starter of the Acadia Relays. He was inducted in the Acadia University Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Maritime Intercollegiate Track and Field Team. He was a founding board member of the Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame, serving a term as president.
Jim Verran, inducted as a coach, began his sports career as an athlete, playing for minor hockey and the BRHS hockey team. In junior hockey he played for the Windsor Royals and Halifax Lions, helping the Lions to win both Valley and Nova Scotia championships. With the Bridgetown and District Recreational League for many years, he won major scoring and MVP awards. His 35-year coaching career began in 1983 with a league championship for the Bridgetown Bantam “C” team. He and his brother John ran hockey schools for many years; he has coached at all levels of the game in the area including high school, junior hockey, and Nova Scotia Community College (winning the NSCC championship in 2009 and 2018). Jim has received the Annapolis County Volunteer Award and Coach of the Year Award from Middleton District Minor Hockey Association. He coached the BRHS team to a provincial championship in 2006: as assistant coach, the team won again in 2009. In soccer, he started the Bridgetown Youth Soccer summer program, which grew from 30 to 150 players in 10 years. The soccer teams he has coached have won many tournaments. In 1996, his co-ed U-15 soccer team won the provincial championship. A highlight for him was Bridgetown’s first Memorial Hockey Tournament when Jim, his three sons and many nephews won the title as Harry’s Tribe, in memory of his dad Harry Verran.
Chris Jackson, inducted as an athlete, joins his brother Howie (2010 inductee). At BRHS he excelled in track and field, particularly javelin as well as shot put, discus and hammer throw. In his graduation year 1972, at the provincial championships, he placed first in javelin and discus, second in shot put, second in long jump, second in hammer throw. At the Eastern Canada Track Championships, he placed third in javelin: at an international meet in Maine he placed second. He was a member of the BRHS soccer team which won two provincial titles and the BRHS volleyball team which also won two provincial titles. At graduation he was awarded both the Bruce Trophy and the Gary Cook Award. At Dalhousie University he was a member of the track and field team which won two Maritime university titles as well as the varsity basketball team. In Newfoundland working with deaf students, he has accumulated many honours: member of senior men’s basketball team (four provincial titles), coach of senior women’s basketball team (five provincial titles), coach for wheelchair basketball, coach of deaf team at Foresters Games for the Disabled in Vancouver, 2000 Wheelchair Basketball Canadian Volunteer of the Year, coach of Canadian Women’s Youth National Team at the Deaf Pan American Games 2000 (placing second), 2006 Coach of the Year at Bishops College.
The first team to be inducted was the Badminton Doubles Provincial Champions composed of Jennifer Ward, Mary Longley, and Cindy Keith. Various combinations of these three women would win four consecutive high school provincial titles in ladies doubles. In 1979-80, Cindy and Mary would enter a number of ladies double competitions with great success, eventually winning the provincial high school intermediate girls’ doubles championship. In 1980-81, Cindy and Mary would have another successful season, winning the senior ladies’ doubles provincial title. In 1981-82, Cindy and Mary once again dominated ladies’ doubles, winning a hard-fought battle against a Truro team (18-17, 18-14) to win their third straight provincial doubles title. Jennifer would join Cindy in 1982-83 to create another powerful doubles team. In the senior ladies’ division, they would defeat Annapolis Royal (15-6, 15-8) to win the senior ladies’ high school provincial title.
The second team inductee was the 1988 and 1989 BRHS Senior Boys’ High School Provincial Basketball Champions, coached by Dennis “Doc” Scanlan. Most of the players had played together from Grade 6 to graduation, winning two provincial basketball titles in consecutive years, 1988 and 1989; a remarkable feat. In 1987, although the team lost in the first round at provincials, the loss provided the team confidence to improve their game, posting a 29 win and 5 loss season in 1988. Despite playing against many schools with larger populations, the team hosted the provincial championships, winning the title against Hantsport 74-71. In 1989, the team would complete the season with 25 wins and 4 losses: it capped off the year by winning their second high school provincial title with a victory over KCA 70-64. Members of the 1988 team were: John Boyd, Scott Caldwell, Eddie Connell, Kevin Corbett, Mike Head, Mike Langille, John Ray Lawrence, Wally Lewis, Mark Marshall, Andrew McNeil, Anthony McNeil, Robin McNeil, and Tim Pettit. Members of the 1989 team were: John Boyd, Eddie Connell, Kevin Durling, David Joudrey, Mike Langille, John Ray Lawrence, Mark Marshall, Andrew McNeil, Anthony McNeil, Tim Pettit, Brad Poole, and Murray Taylor.
Nomination forms for next year’s inductees can be downloaded from the hall’s website at www.bridgetownsportshalloffame.org. The permanent location for the Hall of Fame is the Trojan Sports Centre, where anyone may drop in to see its history.
Article by John A. Montgomerie, a Bridgetown resident and retired educator who writes periodically for this newspaper.