2019 Sports Hall Inductees Announced

The Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition is pleased to announce George and Mary Ann Pieters, Robert Proracki and Haven Swarts as the 2019 Inductees.  This group represents outstanding accomplishments in athletic success as well as leadership in officiating and coaching.

Photo of Mary Ann and George Pieters
Mary Ann and George Pieters

George and Mary Ann Pieters of McDowell Road in Simcoe have contributed over 40 years of their time and talents to the sport of archery.

Both got their start at the Belgium Hall in Delhi and have expanded their influence as role models, coaches and ambassadors for teaching archery to various youth organizations across Norfolk County.

George and Mary Ann have also won championship titles at many local, national, and international archery events.

Photo of Robert Proracki
Robert (Bob) Proracki

Robert ( Bob) Proracki, a Waterford native and proud resident of Round Plains, is being recognized as an outstanding athlete and official in a variety of sports.

Most notable is Bob’s success as a pitcher in the sport of fastball over a span of over 44 years. During that time, Bob was a member of several championship teams, including one with the London Major League which earned a Provincial AA Championship.

Photo of Haven Swarts with medal
Haven Swarts

Haven Swarts of Port Dover has achieved tremendous success as a power tumbler in the sport of gymnastics.

Starting at age 8, Haven was introduced to the sport of tumbling at the local Simcoe Gliders club. As a youth she went on to represent Ontario and Canada at international events.

Her trophy case includes several gold medals from Canadian championships and a top ten placing at the Worlds.  Haven is also an accomplished hockey player and gives back to the community by mentoring young athletes with special needs.

The 2019 Inductees will be celebrated at an official ceremony in 2021.


2018 Sports Hall Inductees Announced

David Baldock, the late Paul Davidson, David Edmonds, Jim Merrick and Peter Timpf have all been named to the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition for 2018. These outstanding athletes, coaches and builders are being recognized for their contribution to the rich sports history of Norfolk County.

Long-time Simcoe resident, David Baldock has excelled in the international sport of orienteering. This athletic endeavour combines racing and navigation with a compass through diverse and often unfamiliar terrain. Baldock has medalled in events held throughout North America and is a Canadian and Provincial champion. Locally, he helped to establish orienteering courses and enrichment programs for children in senior public school.

During his lifetime, Paul Davidson competed, coached and organized many sports with compassion. He  won championships in basketball, lacrosse, hockey, and curling but is most widely recognized for being part of the mixed pairs National and Provincial lawn bowling championships, with partner Muriel LaPlante. Paul was a well-respected coach at the Delhi Public and Simcoe Composite Schools. Davidson also served as a sight coach/guide for blind golfers and curlers at the Provincial and National level.

David Edmonds is being recognized as a dedicated builder and coach of hockey, soccer and baseball in the communities of Delhi, Simcoe and Tillsonburg for over 50 years. Whether Dave was on an executive, coaching from the sidelines or officiating in some capacity, he tried to provide the best opportunity he could for all participants. Former athletes Edmonds has coached describe him as an outstanding leader who instilled the values of hard work and sportsmanship. Dave made the game fun and encouraged all to perform their best.

Jim Merrick is passionate about football! After getting his start as a high school football player at Simcoe Composite School, Jim trained hard to make the line-up with McGill University and the CFL, with stints in Saskatchewan and Hamilton. Along the way to the big league, he also excelled in the shot put event, winning a provincial university championship and competing at the Canadian National level. Back home in Norfolk County, Jim continues to lead young football players to great destinies. The most well-known player he has assisted with coaching is two-time Grey Cup Champion Shane Bergman.

Port Dover resident Peter Timpf is being recognized as a builder of sport for the lakeside community. For more than 30 years, Peter has served on executives, coached, and spearheaded fundraising and membership drives for the Port Dover Figure Skating Club, Port Dover Minor Softball Association and the Ontario Rural Softball Association (ORSA). He has successfully coached two female teams to ORSA provincial championships and another to an Eastern Canadian Championship. Many credit Peter for serving as a mentor who inspires them to volunteer with sport and service club organizations in the community.

These outstanding athletes, coaches and builders along with the 2017 inductees will be inducted into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition at a gala celebration on July 13, 2019.


2017 Inductees Announced

Announcement of 2017 Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition inductees, Sharon Gardner, John Lotus, John MacDonald and the late Richard Wood. A brief description highlighting each inductee’s most significant sporting achievements is included. These inductees will be recognized at the July, 2019 induction ceremony.

On March 26, 2018, the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition announced its four 2017 inductees. Sharon Gardner, John Lotus, John MacDonald and the late Richard Wood have all been named to the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition for 2017. These outstanding athletes and builders are being recognized for their contribution to the rich sports history of Norfolk County.

Sharon Gardner has made significant contributions to figure skating as an athlete and coach. She joined the Port Dover Figure Skating Club in 1955 when the club opened. Most notably, she was a junior and senior’s pairs and solo champion and skated professionally as a member of the Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies of San Francisco. She has served as a CanSkate coach, executive member and taught skating with Brantford Parks & Recreation for the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind.

Since falling in love with the sport in high school, John Lotus has been a local curling ambassador for over 45 years. He curled competitively for many years, travelling to many bonspiels and bringing home championships. John has been a member of two provincial winning teams as a player and started coaching the vision impaired team from the Simcoe Curling Club and helped them realize three national championships. He also coached one of his athletes to win three provincial awards in the sport of golf.

John MacDonald is a retired professional football player from Simcoe. His career started at Simcoe Composite School, took him to McGill University and to pro ball with the Hamilton Tiger Cats who selected him in the first round of the 2002 CFL draft.

John continues to coach and mentor players and has developed many players at SCS, WDDS, McKinnon Park Secondary, Youth Football Camps, University of Guelph, McGill University and currently at Pauline Johnson Collegiate Vocational School. He has won numerous awards for his talent as a player and has contributed to the sport through his work with the SOAR program which is a unique program designed to support the pathway of aspiring elite athletes.

The late Richard Wood will be recognized for his accomplishments as an athlete in the sport of open water distance swimming as a marathon swimming champion. In 1989 he completed a solo swim across Lake Ontario. In 1990 he became the first Canadian male to ever complete a double crossing of Lake Erie. Richard also contributed to the sport as a meet organizer, manager and fundraiser. Most notably, he was part of a large relay team that swam across Lake Ontario to raise funds for Variety Village. Professionally he was employed at the George Hull Centre for Children and Families in Etobicoke, as a youth counsellor. He was inducted into the Solo Swims of Ontario Hall of Fame, served on the executive. Richard passed away in 1998 at the age of 39 but left a permanent impression on the sport.

For these and many more achievements, these outstanding athletes and builders along with the 2018 inductees will be inducted into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition at a gala celebration in July of 2019.