A Sporting Chance

We’re in a sporting mood at www.mycapreol.com lately. Not only is curling season finally in full swing—with a nifty local connection—but several other athletes with Capreol ties are being honoured with induction into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame.

Ever since its 1965 founding, the Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of has worked tirelessly toward five goals: #1. To Promote Interest In & Recognize and Honour the Achievements in Athletics of Teams, Organizations, Clubs & Individuals who Bring or who have Brought Special Distinction to Greater Sudbury #2. To Encourage the Development of Various Aspects of Athletics & Sport Activities by Permanently Recording Sudburian’s Achievements. #3. To Seek, Harbour, Protect and Display Artifacts & Records of Sport & Athletic Achievements Significant in Sudbury #4. To Engage Younger Generations by Developing Game Type Computer Generated Sport Programs that will Educate viewers about Past Accomplishments of Athletes within our Community #5. To Work with Agencies/Organizations who have an Interest in Sports while Provide Promotional Opportunities by Hosting Special Events & Tours (Ex. Sportlink, post-secondary education institutes, schools, health related agencies, etc.) #6. To Help Maintain & Upgrade Displays & Enhance Computer-Based Equipment Housed and Used at the Facility .

The annual Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame Dinner is the most public example of the group’s work. Taking place on the second Wednesday of June it is, for many Sudburians, the highlight of the city’s sports calendar—reuniting past greats and recognizing current athletes.

To date the HoF has enshrined 199 Individuals, 9 Teams, and 7 Corporations. These are broken down into the following categories: Administration 42; Builder 44; Corporate 7; Media 9; Players 104; and Teams 9. Inclusion is a rare honour. And, in 2020, there are four entrants with Capreol links. 

The most recognizable of this year’s inductees is hockey ‘lifer’ Terry Crisp.

Born in Parry Sound but raised in Capreol, where his parents moved for work and lived out their lives, Terry played 10 years in the NHL (Philadelphia Flyers—claiming 2 Stanley Cups as part of the notorious ‘Broad St. Bullies’, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, and St. Louis Blues) before moving behind the bench and becoming a successful coach with the Calgary Flames (winning another Stanley Cup) and the then-expansion Tampa Bay Lightning. Not ready to leave the game he became a radio/TV broadcaster for the Nashville Predators.

By far the most surprising is the inclusion of the Capreol Mazzuca’s Fastball team. Their numerous provincial titles and decades long local dominance earned them loads of well-deserved accolades but, due to the HoF’s very specific rules—mandating that any team must be from a specific calendar year—meant an impossible choice. Picking just one iteration of the constantly evolving Mazzuca’s roster seemed unfair. Its history stretched for decades.

Luckily, the creation of a new category—the Norm Mayer Memorial Sports Dynasty—presented a solution and Capreol’s fastball powerhouse, the Mazzuca’s, were the inaugural winner…deservedly so.

[For more information on the team, and Capreol fastball in general, including their long list of achievements and many anecdotes of the ‘glory days’, pick up a copy of Matthew Del Papa’s Capreol at Bat: The Fastball Years]

Capreol at Bat, by Matthew Del Papa

There are two more entrants in this year’s HoF class with…let’s call them tenuous ties to Capreol. The first requires the biggest stretch.

We are making the claim that Tessa Bonhomme, Olympic Gold Medal hockey player (2010), is an honorary Capreolite.

Her resume speaks for itself: multiple IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championships (2 gold and 3 silver), not to mention a silver at the ’09 Canada Cup, a gold at the 2010 4-Nations Cup and 2 golds at the Air Canada Cup. As a professional hockey player she was with the Toronto Furies from 2010 to 2015 and would help lead the team to the 2014 Clarkson Cup—becoming just the 12th woman in history to win the Clarkson Cup, Olympic Gold and IIHF Gold. Since then she has distinguished herself as an analyst and broadcaster, been featured on screen (both big and little), and otherwise parlayed a successful playing career into a brand all her own.

Tessa’s link to our town might strike some as a rather lame that claim: she has several relatives who call Capreol home.

There is a stronger case for the second woman on this list. Arm-wrestler Christine Jaworski, was born and raised in Sudbury, but now lives alongside Lake Wahnipatae. Though that iconic waterway is not part of Capreol per say, it is adjacent to our town…and that’s good enough for us. Besides, when an athlete is as dominant as Christine was everyone wants a part…even if just a little one.

The World Arm-wrestling Champion couldn’t have picked a better time to claim her third title, 1986 happened to be the year Sylvester Stallone filmed “Over the Top”, by far the greatest movie to focus on the sport.

“I was just a strong little kid,” says Jaworski. “I wanted to be the best at something, so arm wrestling became the one sport that I could become the best at, with the least amount of funding behind me.”

Described by Sudbury sports writer Randy Pascal as, “One of the greatest female natural athletes the city has ever produced.”

Coming from a large family, she was one of seven children, the world of elite sports could have seemed out of reach. But rather than despair Christine started local, competing at school and local bars, then, in 1982 she made her mark.

“There were little competitions in Sudbury, at Winter Carnivals, some in Timmins, but I started travelling more because I was just so darned good at it,” she said. “I ended up going to Canadians that year, winning the lightweight and heavyweight title on the same day. I was the only Canadian ever to do that.”

Following her 1986 win Christine was labelled “Lady Liberty of Canada” by the New York Times. With her third title she retired from the sport and returned home.

“I was 26 years old, getting past my prime, and I wanted to get into fitness and nutrition.”

Still highly regarded in arm-wrestling circles, Christine Jaworski ranks among the Top 10 in most 1980s polls. One site listed her at #5, writing Jaworski is a “Canadian puller who made quite an impression in the mid-80s. She won a WPAA title, Canadian national titles in multiple weight classes, and most impressively, she won the lightweight division at the Over the Top World Championship atop an incredibly strong field of competitors in the biggest tournament of the 20th century.”

Posted on: February 27, 2021, by :