Guelph Sports Hall of Fame welcomes five inductees

Update (March 18, 2020): The Kiwanis Sports Celebrity Dinner on May 20 is postponed. Anyone who has already purchased tickets will be refunded. Questions can be directed to the Kiwanis Club of Guelph.

Guelph, Ont., March 12, 2020 – The Guelph Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors is pleased to announce the names of the 2020 inductees who will be celebrated at a ceremony this May.

This year’s inductees are Paul Brydges (athlete), Brad Pirie (athlete), Rob Massey (builder), Ben Wallace (builder), and in the team category the 2014 U16AA Guelph Sodrox Predators.

The induction ceremony will take place during the annual Kiwanis Sports Celebrity Dinner on Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club.

Tickets are on sale now through eventbrite and cost $100 per adult, $70 for past inductees, and $35 for students 17 years of age and younger.

For more information, visit the Kiwanis Club of Guelph’s website at guelphkiwanis.org, email info@guelphkiwanis.org or call 519-836-5450.

About the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame

The Guelph Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that recognizes and honours the achievements of Guelph individuals and teams who have attained prominence and distinction in any field of sport, and who have made a major contribution to the development and advancement of sports in Guelph. Funding is generously provided through the Guelph Kiwanis Club’s annual Sports Celebrity Dinner. The Guelph Sports Hall of Fame was established by the City of Guelph and the Kiwanis Club of Guelph in 1992.

Media contacts

Lynne Briggs
Secretary, Guelph Sports Hall of Fame
519-822-1260 extension 2683
lynne.briggs@guelph.ca

Andrew Maloney
Chair, Guelph Sports Hall of Fame
519-836-5450
andrew@maloneythompson.com

Inductee Bios

Athlete – Paul Brydges

Paul Brydges began his hockey career at six years old, working his way up through the Guelph Minor Hockey system and eventually playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), American Hockey League (AHL) and National Hockey League (NHL). When Paul’s playing career ended, he remained involved with hockey in multiple assistant coaching roles in both the OHL and Ontario University Athletics.

Career highlights

  • Captain of the Guelph Midget Optimist team that had the opportunity to tour and play in Czechoslovakia (1981)
  • Drafted by the OHL Guelph Platers (1982)
  • Played for the and garnered Guelph Platers from 1982–1986 and garnered 179 points in 243 games and 191 penalty minutes
  • Captain of the Guelph Platers 1985/86 when they won the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup Championship, with 25 points and 22 penalty minutes in 19 playoff games
  • Signed as a free agent by Buffalo Sabres in 1986 and played 15 games, scoring two goals and two assists. Scored his first NHL goal at Maple Leaf Gardens.
  • Played the next four years of hockey in the AHL, three seasons with the Rochester Americans and one season with the New Haven Nighthawks. In four seasons, he racked up 85 points and 214 penalty minutes in 211 games.
  • Helped the Rochester Americans win the Calder Cup in 1987 and became assistant captain in the 1987/88 season
  • Paul’s captain’s jersey from the 1986 Guelph Plater Memorial Cup Championship team currently resides in the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Post-playing career spent active in various coaching roles with the Guelph Storm and the University of Guelph, including 2004 year when the Storm won the OHL Championship and 2007 when the Gryphons won the National Championship (and were subsequently inducted into the University Sports Hall of Fame).

Athlete – Brad Pirie

Brad Pirie, born in Guelph in 1955, was a gifted hockey player who started his junior career with the Peterborough Petes from 1972–1976, including the 1974 World Junior Championships where he represented Canada.

Brad played one game for the Dallas Black Hawks in 1978/77, but made the decision to play with the University of Guelph for three seasons. At the university, he was an Ontario University Athletic Association All-Star and All-Canadian for all three years, receiving the Walter Rickard Award (76/77) Jack Pos Most Valuable Player Award (78/79) and holds the Gryphon record for assists by a defenseman. He was inducted into the University of Guelph Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

After completing his university career, he was selected to represent Canada on the Canadian Olympic Team in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. This was the first Olympic Games for the Canadian men’s hockey team since the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France. The team placed sixth out of the medals.

Brad concluded his hockey career after the Olympics. Career stats (excluding University of Guelph): played 269 games with 54 goals and 67 assists.

Builder – Rob Massey

For the past 33 years, Rob has been a driving force when it comes to the coverage and overall growth of amateur sports in the Guelph area. From 1986 to 2016, Massey served as the sports editor at the Guelph Mercury, one of Canada’s longest-tenured broadsheet newspapers.

In 2016, the newspaper published its final edition in what was its 149th year of existence. While the closure of the local newspaper could have proved catastrophic for the coverage of local sports in the Guelph area, Rob continued the rich tradition of amateur sports coverage in the region by launching an online journal dedicated solely to covering Guelph-based sports (Guelph Sports Journal).

In April 2019, Rob was the recipient of the prestigious Fred Sgambati Media Award at the U SPORTS Honours Awards Gala. The Fred Sgambati Media Award is presented annually to a member of the media in recognition of major contributions to the development and growth of Canadian university sport. Rob has been the recipient of many sports media awards over the years, including:

  • Ontario Newspaper Awards 2012: Sports Photography (under 25,000 circulation)
  • Ontario Newspaper Awards 2013 and 2014 (Finalist): Sports Writing (under 25,000 circulation)
  • Ontario Newspaper Awards 2015 (Finalist): Multimedia Journalism and Sports Photography

His presence has been continuously felt at sports events in the city, and will be for years to come.

Builder – Ben Wallace

Ben is approaching 50 years as an accomplished Standardbred horse trainer on the Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine and International racing circuit. From 1996 through 2013, he recorded a remarkable string of 18 consecutive $1 million plus purse earnings per season. In 1996, Ben was honoured as the Ontario Jockey Club trainer of the year, awarded to the leading trainer on the circuit.

2002 proved to be his best season, topping $4.5 million in purse money, largely due to Camotion, a $1.9 million earner, and 2 year old Breeders Crown champion Totally Western.

In 1999, Ben trained Pacing Triple Crown winner Blissful Hall, a horse voted as the United States Dan Patch winner, being recognized as the best 3 year old pacer of that year in all of North America. In Canada, the horse was voted in as Champion 3 year old pacer, and took top honours as Horse of the Year, the highest award achievable. Blissful Hall has also been recently inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for his incredible record on the racetrack. Also in 1999, Ben was voted the O’Brien winner, recognizing him as the top trainer in Canada.

Ben’s major career awards

  • Breeders Crown winners (these races are significant year end championship races)
    • 2002 Totally Western
    • 2003 Pans Cullottes
  • O’Brien Award winners (Canada’s top awards for the best of the season in all categories)
    • 1997 Armbro Rosebud
    • 1999 Blissful Hall
    • Trainer of the Year
  • Ontario Jockey Awards (awarded to the best on the local circuit)
    • 1999 Trainer of the Year

Lifetime Statistics as of November 22, 2019: 1938 wins, UTRS (universal trainer rating) average .350 (win percentage) and $37,841,246 in purse earnings.

Team – 2014 U16AA Guelph Sodrox Predators

Ringette Division “AA” is the highest, most competitive category at the Canadian Ringette Championship stream for both the U16 and U19 age divisions. In 2014, the Guelph Predators went undefeated at both the U16 Provincial and Canadian Ringette Championships. Emma Eccles and Samantha Gorgi were named to the tournament 1st All-Star Team and Nicole Shaw and Mariah Coverdale were named to the 2nd All-Star Team.

This amazing team had an incredible 64 wins and one tie during the regular season. They were offensively strong scoring 492 goals and defensively only allowed 171 goals. The team had a perfect record at the provincial championships defeating West Ottawa, Ottawa, Nepean, Whitby, Gloucester, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, and London through a series of eight games in four days. As provincial champion, they earned the right to attend the Canadian Ringette Championships as Team Ontario.

At the National Championship, they went undefeated during the seven round robin games against Nova Scotia, Alberta Zone 5, Saskatchewan, Gatineau, Manitoba, Edmonton and Calgary. They went on to beat Quebec in the quarter final game and Manitoba’s Eastman Flames in the semi-final game. The Gold Medal game between Team Ontario and Central Alberta Sting was a dual between the only undefeated teams in the tournament. A close match, with both teams taking the lead throughout the game, ended with a 6–5 result for Team Ontario/Guelph Predators.

The team was presented with City of Guelph medals after their championship season and the official championship banners for all of their wins hang proudly at the West End Community Centre, highlighting the sport of ringette and team.