2007 Hall of Fame
BLACK ICE HOCKEY & SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
The second Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame Conference and Inductions was held on August 24 – 25, 2007, at the Alderney Landing Cultural Convention Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. This conference was co-hosted by the Society of North American Hockey Historians and Researchers (SONAHHR) and SONAHHAR Canada Black Sports Awards. The National Hockey League was a major sponsor of this event. Mr. Willie O’Ree, Hall of Famer, and the first player of African descent to play in the National Hockey League was the keynote Speaker. Ms Angela James, considered by many to be the greatest women’s hockey player, in the modern era was the Special Honouree. The National Hockey League was a Major Sponsor of this event.
Theme: Breaking the Colour Barrier: A Tribute to Willie O’Ree, the first Person of Color to play in the National Hockey League.
2007 THE HERITAGE AWARD was announced and presented by Darril Fosty, Co-Author of “Splendid is the Sun: The 5000 Year History of Hockey”. This award is named in honour of the Sun God Religion of the ancient Mesopotamians, in whose records we find the first references of a hockey like game, referred to as Pukku-Mikku, dating back to 2750 BC.
THE BOBBY BRYDE MEMORIAL TROPHY, to be called “The Hockey Meister” will be presented annually to Illustrators whose works present a lasting contribution and promotion to hockey. Bryde wrote, “Betting Hockey, 1988 -1989. He boasted a collection of 1500 video archives of hockey games. He was one of the founders of the North American Hockey Historians and Researchers (SONAHHR). The award was introduced and presented by George Fosty, Co-Author of BLACK ICE: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 – 1925.
2007 BASEBALL/SOFTBALL INDUCTEES
JIMMY CLAXTON was born in Wellington, British Columbia, Canada (1892 – 1970) and was a black baseball pitcher who broke the professional baseball colour bar in 1916, when he played two games with Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, under false pretences. When it was revealed, within a week, that Claxton had both African American and Native American ancestry, he was immediately released from his baseball contract.
MARK SMITH, Falmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada was regarded as one of the most talented and feared fast pitch softball pitchers of any era, in the world. A member of the Nova Scotia Hall of Fame and the Canadian National Softball Hall of Fame, Mark was an International softball super star. He played 14 years in the International Softball Congress, and led Canada, as a Player and as a Coach, to numerous ISC and Pan American Games Championships. Smith was a menacing pitcher, who threw the ball at blazing speeds of 80 plus miles per hour.
GEORGE “OLD CHOC0LATE” GODFREY (1853 – 1901), born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada was the black Canadian Heavyweight boxer that the Great John L. Sullivan refused to fight. He took up boxing, at the age of 30, in Boston, Mass., USA and called himself “Old Chocolate”. He engaged in 100 or more bouts with both black and white fighters, most of whom were much, much bigger than him. In 1992, he was inducted into the P. E. I. Hall of Fame.
GEORGE “LITTLE CHOCOLATE” DIXON (1870 – 1908) was born in Africville, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dixon was the first black world boxing champion in any weight class. He won World Championship titles in two divisions, Bantamweight in 1890, and Featherweight in 1891. It is estimated that he fought between 230 and 800 bouts, often fighting twice in one day. At 5’3” tall, Dixon was a classy fighter whom many consider to have been the greatest Bantamweight fighter of all time. The George Dixon Recreation Centre in Halifax, NS, and the George Boyd Play, “Shineboy” showcase Dixon’s life. He has been elected to several Boxing and Sports Halls of Fame.
CLYDE GRAY was born in Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia, Canada and fought unsuccessfully for the World Welterweight Championship against three different champions. In 1971 he won the Commonwealth Welterweight Crown, to add to his Canadian Welterweight Championship Belt. Today, he is retired in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is a distinguished Member of the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Hall of Fame.
DAVE DOWNEY, born in Halifax, NS, Canada in 1942, was the youngest of five boxing Downey brothers. As a youth, he was an all around athlete, and a Member of the undefeated Vaughan Furriers Junior Baseball team that won the Eastern Canadian Championship and was chronicled in the book, The Boys of ’62. Dave was a two time Canadian Middleweight Boxing Champion, who held the title for 9 years between 1967 and 1975. He has been elected to the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Hall of Fame. Dave Downey’s life and boxing career are captured in Robert Ashe’s book entitled, “Halifax Champion: Black Power in Gloves”. Dave Downey is the father of 1988 Olympic Boxing Bronze Medallist Raymond Downey, who lost a controversial decision in Seoul Korea.
RICKY ANDERSON, like the great George Dixon, was born in the predominantly black community of Africville, situated on the basin of Halifax, NS, Canada. He began boxing at the tender age of 13 years, and had an 85 – 12 amateur boxing record before turning professional. In Tokyo, Japan Ricky won a Silver medal at the World Junior Championships; and a World Cup in Montreal, Canada. At age 21 years, he turned Pro and won the Canadian Welterweight Championship in 1987. As a professional fighter, Anderson had a 19 and 2 won/loss record. Unfortunately, Ricky Anderson was forced to retire due to a nagging knee injury. He lives and works in Halifax as a Drug Rehab Counsellor and a motivational speaker. He is a Member of the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Hall of Fame.
LENNY SPARKS, was born in Halifax, NS, Canada and won three Canadian boxing titles, including the Maritime Welterweight Championship, the Canadian Junior Welterweight Championship, and the Canadian Welterweight Championship. Sparks was a switch hitter, who had power in either hand and finished his career with a 50 and 7 won/loss record, including 27 knockouts. A sought after fighter, Sparks appeared on fight cards in Madison Square Garden’s and Boston Gardens , considered two of the Mecca’s of boxing in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
KEITH “HARD ROCK” PARIS was born in New Glasgow, NS, Canada in 1930. Paris fought many memorable fights throughout his career and was fondly known for his “tough as nails” style of fighting. He fought 208 boxing matches, and only lost 17. To his credit, Paris was never knocked out, with a reputation for fighting the toughest boxers within his division. Paris was the Maritime Welterweight Champion in the 1950’s, when boxing was a major sport in Canada and the world.
2007 ICE HOCKEY INDUCTEES
GEORGE TOLLIVER played in the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, with the Halifax Eureka’s. He was known for his flying body checks. Both of his sons served in Canada’s All Black No. 2 Construction Battalion in World War 1, at a time when Blacks were not accepted into the all white Canadian armed forces.
CHARLIE LIGHTFOOT, a black man, played hockey with the Fort Wayne Wanderers in Stratford, Ontario, Canada from 1907 – 1910. In 1907, the Ontario Hockey Association was formed, and in 1907 Fort Wayne won the league championship. Lightfoot was one of the better players in the league in the 1910 season.
FRED “BUD” KELLY, was one of the best negro hockey players to play in the Ontario Hockey Association. In 1916, Lightfoot was a member of the Seven (7) Man, 118th Battalion Hockey team based out of London, Ontario, Canada.
JOHN “BUSTER” PARIS, a black man, grew up within the town limits of Windsor, NS, Canada’s birthplace of hockey, and attended school with his white neighbours. In 1920, he played on the all white Windsor Bulldog’s town team. His son’s enjoyed similar experiences and played on local high school, university, junior and senior level teams. In 2001, Buster was inducted into the Windsor Hall of Fame, as a Builder. He is the father of NS Cabinet Minister, Percy Paris, and Professional Hockey Coach John Paris, Jr.
ALTON WHITE, Amherst, NS, Canada played three years in the World Hockey Association. He was the second player of African descent to play professional hockey. He was the first black hockey player to score a hat trick (3 goals in one game) and to score 20 goals and have 21 assists in a single season. He played professional hockey in Winnipeg, Los Angeles, New York and retired with the Baltimore Blades.
ELDON “POKEY” REDDICK, was born in Halifax, NS, Canada in 1964. He is a retired Goalie, who spent much of his career in the minor leagues, before his NHL playing days. He played with Winnipeg and Florida, and won a Stanley Cup Championship with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. He holds the distinction of being the only goal tender in professional hockey to go through a three round playoff series undefeated. He achieved this feat while leading the Fort Wayne Komets to their first IHL Championship title in 20 years. He is retired and is an assistant coach with the Tri City Storm of the United States Hockey League.
ANGELA JAMES, born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is considered to be the first superstar of women’s ice hockey. She has been called the Wayne Gretsky of women’s hockey, with the aggressive style of Mark Messier, and the scoring touch of Mike Bossy. She won several titles for Seneca College, in both women’s hockey and softball, where her jersey has been retired for her exploits. She played for Canada in the inaugural Women’s World Hockey Championship; and the following three Worlds, where she led Canada to consecutive goal medals. In the process, she won 8 MVP awards. In 1992 and 1994 Angela was a member of the Women’s Gold medal winning Roller Hockey Team, at the World Championships. Hockey Canada awarded Angela James with the 2005 Female Breakthrough Award for her significant contribution, promotion and development of female hockey in Canada.
JAMES W. POWERS, born in Halifax, NS, Canada and in 1864 began writing for the Acadian Recorder Newspaper and covered the Colored Hockey League games over a 15 year period (1895-1910). He was the first Reporter of his era to cover the CHL games in a positive manner. Today, his articles account for 80 percent of the stories and accounts of the existence of the Colored Hockey League, the players, their style of play, and the important contribution of these pioneers to the Canadian game of hockey.
DR. COLIN D. HOWELL, author of “Northern Sandlots: A Social History of Maritime Baseball” written in 1995. This book is considered by many sports historians, as one of the most important Canadian sports histories ever written. It is one of the few books to chronicle the history of the Black Baseball Leagues throughout the Maritime Provinces, and its place in Canadian sports history.
DR. GARTH VAUGHAN, a Canadian Historian, is the author of “The Puck Starts Here” written in 1966. This is one of the few sports anthologies to promote and acknowledge the role of Black players in the early evolution of the game of Hockey. In particular, Vaughan recognized the history of Black Hockey in Windsor, Nova Scotia and its’ claim to be the Birthplace of Hockey. He was the first writer to credit the CHL style of play that allowed the Goal Tenders to flop on the ice to stop pucks from going into their net.
DR. BRIDGLAL PACHAI, was born in South Africa and worked as Professor and Dean of History throughout many African universities. In 1975, he arrived in Canada and has been employed extensively by both Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities. Dr. Pachai, is the author and editor of 18 or more books published on Black History, Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Race Relations. He served as Executive Director of the Black Cultural Society for Nova Scotia, where he authored many of his publications on African Nova Scotian history. He is the recipient of the Order of Canada, the Queens’ Jubilee Medal and many other major awards for his work.
DONNA BYARD SEALEY, born in Truro, NS, Canada is a retired school teacher, and the author of “Colored Zion: The History of Zion United Baptist Church and the Black Community of Truro, Nova Scotia”. The Writer tells the story of the descendants of the Black Loyalists of Guysborough, NS who struggled to start a new life in the Town of Truro. A new life that would be centered on the establishment of a black church, the camaraderie of athletes and the friendly competition among the three smaller communities of the Island, the Marsh and the Hill. Too, these ingredients were essential to the founding of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes. The author is a direct descendant of the founding members of Zion United Baptist Church and Truro Sheiks hockey team of the CHL.