Former teammates attend ceremony to see five local sports figures inducted
Leaside Memorial Gardens was flying the Blue and White colours, Nov. 20 during the third annual Leaside Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The sports community inducted five benchmarks of Leaside, and named their 2015 athlete of the year award in front of a packed house — which included members from the 1967 Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs.
The reason for the small reunion featuring Bobby Baun, Eddie Shack and Mike Walton was the guest of honour, George Armstrong, who after living 55 years in the community, and his kids having grown up there, was being given the
It was almost two weeks after his most recent accolade, a bronze statue outside the Air Canada Centre was unveiled on the Maple Leafs’ Legends Row, but somehow, this honour hit closer to home for him.
Even Leafs president Brendan Shanahan sent a letter to the Hall of Fame, noting “tonight’s induction preserves and recognizes your legacy in the Leaside community.”
Armstrong joked about the letter.
“He knows what to say,” Armstrong told the Town Crier, of the Legends Row nod and Shanahan’s remarks. “That’s why he has the job.”
His family, seated at the table, laughed.
“They have to be dragging the bottom of the barrel to pick me,” Armstrong added, his eyebrows raised.
Still, it was a proud moment for him and his family, and he was sure to point out the First Nation’s neck attire that he wore for his mom.
In his speech, he shared how he settled his young family in Leaside after travelling from Stouffville, Agincourt, Danforth Village and Davisville and, of course, going back home to Sudbury during the off-season.
“I lived all over the city, and I looked for a place that was close to work — Maple Leafs Gardens — good schools, good recreation and I chose Leaside to live in and I must say, I’ve never been disappointed,” he told the applauding crowd of more than 100. “Now the cream coming to the top of the milk is me being inducted to the Leaside Hall of Fame.”
Leaside’s 2015 Athlete of the Year, Reid Humphrey said he was happy about the event, and was admittedly caught off guard when he was notified of his own award.
“They just said I was such a good hockey player for the team, and I had been playing in Leaside since I was four years old,” he said. “I was always a part of the Leaside organization.”
Though he has a long way to go to be inducted, he said he admired those getting the nod: former president of the Canadian Amateur Basketball Association, Arthur (Laurie) Irwin; tennis stalwart Pat Friesen; hockey player and coach, Annie Fahlenbock and Leaside Atom Baseball Association president Norm (Charlie) Ahier.
Also in attendance, were councillors Mary Fragedakis, Jon Burnside, keynote speaker and hockey historian, Bryan McFarlane as well as former Toronto Maple Leafs’ president and general manager, Cliff Fletcher.