Acknowledging the masters of our sport is an important way of not letting history die. Today Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is proud to announce today the establishment of the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame (CRHF) as well as the inaugural class of inductees. In Canada, the sport of rowing has a long and storied history with many people that have nurtured and promoted its development. The CRHF has been established to recognize those outstanding athletes, coaches and builders who are responsible for RCA’s continued excellence in rowing, both nationally and internationally.
“As we establish the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame, I am proud that our inaugural class of inductees spans the history of our nation and recognizes the achievements of men and women from coast to coast,” said Mike Walker, President, Rowing Canada Aviron. “Rowers and supporters should take the opportunity of this inauguration to reflect on Canada’s rowing history and to draw inspiration from our Canadian rowing legends as we continue to build our sport, following the great legacy they have left to us.”
The 2016 and inaugural class to be inducted into the new Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame include representatives from the Athlete, Coach and Builder Categories.
In the Athlete Category, inductees were selected across three important and distinct eras of Canadian Rowing. The Paris Crew of 1867, Ned Hanlan, Kathleen Heddle and Marnie McBean were selected.
The Paris Crew captured Canada’s attention in it’s infancy when in 1867, just weeks after confederation, four men from St. John, New Brunswick defeated heavy favourites including England and France at the World Amateur Rowing Championships in Paris, France. Robert Fulton, George Price, Samuel Hutton and Elijah Ross were celebrated for their victory across the young country uniting Canadians in their excitement.
Ned Hanlan came to rowing naturally, growing up on Toronto Island. Hanlan made a career out of rowing, dominating any and all available regattas including securing the “triple crown” – the American, English and Canadian national championships. He also embraced modern techniques of rowing including the sliding seat. With so many accomplishments, Hanlan was also called “our first national sporting hero”.
[Hanlan’s Spirit rowing book written by Jim Joy is in our store – it covers much of Hanlan’s story about lengthening the sliding seat and his sculling with "flow”. ]
Two of Canada’s greatest all-time rowers, Kathleen Heddle and Marnie McBean, have careers and accomplishments mirroring each other – three-time Olympic gold medallists, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame inductees, recipients of the Thomas Keller Medal by FISA and multiple podium finishes at the World Rowing Championships to name a few. Both have continued involvement in sport following their international rowing careers, promoting healthy and active living and mentoring the next generation of rowers.
In the Coach Category, Frank Read was elected.
Through a decade of coaching, Frank Read came to be known as one of the world’s top rowing coaches and was recently recognized by the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements. A rowing coach at the University of British Columbia, he also supported the Vancouver Rowing Club beginning in 1949. This partnership yielded multiple accolades and upset victories – including Canada’s first ever Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1956.
In the Builder Category, Claude Saunders was elected.
Claude Saunders, the first Honorary Officer ever appointed by RCA has an immense list of accomplishments in Canadian rowing that span from the grassroots to the Olympic level and are felt at the both the domestic and international levels. His distinguished resume includes achievements as an athlete, umpire and as a key individual in the growth of rowing programs across the country including the establishment of the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association. His work with the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta led to it become one of the largest regattas in North America and the key summer event for clubs across the continent.
An official celebration will take place at the opening ceremony of this year’s Royal Canada Henley Regatta in St. Catharines, Ontario on Monday, August 1. Formal inductions of the nominees are scheduled to take place across the country over the next eight months beginning with the induction of Ned Hanlan and Claude Saunders at the event on August 1.
Details regarding CRHF:
The Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame was established in 2015 to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Canadian rowers at the highest levels of the sport, and those whose efforts have contributed directly to those results. These individual stories will serve as inspirations to Canadians and others, and will help to promote the sport and its amazing history.
Individuals or crews can be nominated in the following categories: Athlete (Individual or Crew), Coach and Builder. Information and nomination forms will be available on the new Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame web page at rowingcanada.org to be launched following the official opening celebration on August 1. The Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame Committee will select each year the inductees to be named to the Hall of Fame.