Ottawa, Ont. – Softball Canada is pleased to announce the list of inductees to the 2018 Hall of Fame Class who will be inducted at the Softball Canada Congress and Annual General Meeting taking place November 7-10 in Montreal, Que. The inductees are Sophie Bedard (Builder – Quebec), Serge Laflamme (Official – Quebec), Larry Lynch (Coach – Ontario), Gisele Vezina (Builder – Quebec) and the 1993-1996 Toronto Gators (Team – Ontario).
Softball Canada will also be inducting Cam Ecclestone (Ontario) as the first inductee in the Pioneers category, which was established in 2015 to recognize those who compiled outstanding accomplishments or made significant contributions to the sport prior to Softball Canada’s inception in 1965. Ecclestone’s induction will take place at a separate event to be determined later.
SOPHIE BÉDARD (Longueil, Que.) has been active with Softball Québec for almost 30 years and has been at the forefront of many of the Federation’s programs, including the highly successful Quebec Rebelles high performance program. Since the 1990s, she has organized 24 International tournaments (including the Montreal Challenge and the Quebec Rebelles tournament), 13 Canadian Championships and several other notable events in the greater Montreal area. Her expertise in administration and project management has allowed Softball Quebec to achieve a healthy organizational and financial stability. She has donated significant amounts to the federation's excellence program through her events, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and tourist benefits for the greater Montreal area. She was inducted to Softball Quebec’s Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2013 and was recently awarded the Égale Action Recognition Award for her excellent lifetime contributions to sport.
SERGE LAFLAMME (Levis, Que.) worked his way up the ranks and built an excellent reputation as one of the top umpires in the world highlighted by working the 2000 Sydney Olympic Summer Games and the 2015 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship in Saskatoon, Sask. He began umpiring at the age of 13 and obtained his Level V status in 1994, with his WBSC certification coming a year later in 1995. He worked a total of seven Canadian Championships and four international events between 1994 and 2016. Since 1987, he has served as an instructor and umpire supervisor at a number of clinics and events at the regional, national and international level. He served on Softball Canada’s Officiating Development Committee (ODC) from 2001 to 2004 and has been an Umpire Instructor for the WBSC since 2001. He has been a presenter at eight Softball Canada Blue Conventions and has actively participated in the French translation of Softball Canada’ Rulebook, Case Book and many other documents for the training of umpires in Canada.
LARRY LYNCH (Kitchener, Ont.) has been a field manager and coach of a senior men’s team for the past 29 years, leading the Kitchener/Waterloo Twins organization to a long stretch of national success. Between 1993 and 2009, he earned a total of seven Men’s Canadian Championship medals including three Gold (2004, 2009 and 2010), two Silver (2000, 2003) and two Bronze (1993 and 2007) medals and has most recently been involved with the Toronto Gators Master Men’s team competing at the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Provincial Championships and World Master’s Games. His level of involvement in the game goes beyond coaching, as he has been a strong supporter and builder of Men’s Fast Pitch in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, including the development of Peter Hallman Ball Yard in Kitchener, several local associations and ran the Legends of Fastball Classic for over 25 years, with proceeds from that event going towards the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
GISÈLE VÉZINA (Delson, Que.) contributed a large portion of her life to the sport of softball in Quebec and in Canada. She was a coach and administrator for her South Shore regional softball association for more than 30 years, served on the Competitions Committee and supervised Softball Quebec Provincial Championships for over 30 years and served on Softball Quebec’s Board of Directors for nearly 20 years. She attended a total of 14 Softball Canada Annual General Meetings as a delegate of Softball Québec between 1988 and 2002 and served on Softball Canada’s Board of Directors for six years from 2003 to 2008. Vezina supervised a total of five Canadian Championships and was a member of Softball Canada’s Canadian Championship Committee, while also serving as the Board liaison of the Officiating Development Committee (ODC) for the Board of Directors. In 1997, she was named Sport Quebec’s Builder of a Quarter Century and was inducted to Softball Quebec’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
The 1993-1996 TORONTO GATORS won the Gold medal at three Men’s Canadian Championships in a four-year period, winning the Canadian title in 1993 before going an undefeated 11-0 in back-to-back Championships in 1995 and 1996. During this four-year period, the Gators won over 300 games which included over 20 invitational tournament wins. Led by sponsor/owner Jack Fireman, the Gators included several members of the Canadian Men’s National Team and the club team represented Canada at the 1993 Pan American Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico, winning the Gold medal at the event. In addition to the incredible amount of success the team had on the field, their contributions have carried with several team members developing the game at the grassroots level throughout Ontario.
1993-1996 TORONTO GATORS
|Brad Baker||Mark Bendahan||Don Burnett|
|Bruce Casselman||Terry Challis||Craig Crawford|
|Mike Crawford||Rob Gray||Bob Green|
|Chuck Hendricks||Dave Hoffman||Chris Jones|
|John Kemp||Ted Koscienza||Brian Paton|
|Randy Peck||Mike Sedore||Grant Skinner|
|Adam Smith||Ray Tilley||Terry Wallin|
|Rob Watson||Ron White||Rod Wetherell|
|Terry Baytor||Todd Idenouye|
|Peter Kostin||Bob Richardson|
Individual members of the Softball Canada Hall of Fame indicated in BOLD
CAM ECCLESTONE (Toronto, Ont.) had a lengthy playing career that ran from 1928 to 1962 and was named Canada’s Softball Player of the Half Century (1900-1950). He played for five Ontario teams throughout his career including the Tip Top Tailors, Canada D, Cities Service, British Consols, Daltons and People’s Credit Jewelers, competing on several Toronto and Ontario Championship teams and in four ASA World Softball Championships. He threw a total of eleven no-hitters including two in back-to-back games in his first ASA World Championship in 1936 and recorded over 500 wins in his professional career. In newspaper clippings from his era, he was referred to as “The Babe Ruth of Softball” and “Mr. Softball” and was “in a class of his own in an era when softball was more popular than hardball”.