12.5 C
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Trio of champions honoured with Sports Wall of Fame induction
Yvonne Haines stands by her Sports Wall of Fame plaque, which is now on the wall of the Virgil arena.
Yvonne Haines stands by her Sports Wall of Fame plaque, which is now on the wall of the Virgil arena. Evan Loree

Three new names have been added to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sports Wall of Fame.

The inductees honoured at the Meridian Credit Arena on Friday, Aug. 26 are: Launcelot Cressy Servos, a record-breaking golfer who died in 1969; Trevor Falk, a fierce and decorated athlete in multiple sports including hockey and fastball; and Yvonne Haines, an award-winning volunteer with the NOTL Skating Club.

Members of  the Niagara Thunderhawks U22 lacrosse team also were recognized during the ceremony for their remarkable undefeated 2022 season and provincial championship win.

However, because the Wall of Fame is reserved for recognizing individual contributions to sport, not team efforts, there’s no spot on the wall for them.

Servos was the first to be inducted and his plaque was unveiled by David Servos, a distant relative.

Launcelot was born in Buffalo in 1879, but he developed his love of golf in Niagara. 

After learning to play at an early age, Servos set the record for longest drive in the 1900 U.S. Open, hitting the ball some 230 yards. 

His record was soon broken by Harry Varden.

David Servos, a second cousin three times removed, said he was honoured to accept the award on Launcelot’s behalf. 

Haines was introduced by Judi Boyle-Krzeczkowski. the NOTL Skating Club’s director of skating programs.

Haines has been with the NOTL club for 30 years and was instrumental in getting the club through COVID-19.

“Once COVID hit, she traded in her laces for organization, protocol safety and sanitization,” said Boyle-Krzeczkowski.

Haines began volunteering at the club when her daughter started skating as a child and has since won the club’s volunteer of the year award three times.

After her daughter left the club, Haines continued to volunteer, going on to work in numerous roles, pouring in endless hours and becoming a reliable source of support for the skaters.

Today, Haines gets to watch her grandchildren take their first steps on the ice. 

She said it is heartwarming to watch new skaters on the ice.

“I am grateful I can still give my time and pass on my passion to anyone that will listen,” she told the crowd.

“I’m truly honoured to be recognized.”

Haines’ has formed many friendships with the other club members over the years and still enjoys sharing her passion with others.

Trevor Falk was introduced by his friend and fellow NOTL hockey coach, Rich Andres. 

Andres spoke of the competitive spirit Falk brings to every sport, whether it be track and field, fastball or hockey. 

Falk started playing hockey with the NOTL Minor Hockey Association when he was just four. 

After playing with the St. Catherines Junior B Falcons for three years, he received a hockey scholarship to the United States.

True to form, Falk turned it down so he could play with his hometown Badgers at Brock University instead.

“If you watch him play hockey and bowling, you’ll see both a fierce competitor, team leader and a gentleman who respects his teammates, opposition and supporters,” Andres said. 

Today, Falk serves as the director of development for the NOTL Minor Hockey Association, though he still competes in dominant fashion in a recreation league against much younger players.

In the 2014-15 hockey season, he coached the NOTL novice BB hockey team to both the Niagara district finals and to a silver medal in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association playdowns. 

Many of the speakers spoke of Falk’s character as a father and community member, not just as an athlete.

“You are truly an inspiration to your children and to all the children in Niagara-on-the-Lake, for the determination and the qualities that you possess as a great sportsman, great neighbour. a great father and a great family man,” said Lord Mayor Betty Disero.

In an emotional speech, Falk thanked his family and friends for the honour of being inducted.

“I never thought that I would be joining the special people on this wall,” he said.

“What I didn’t have in physical size I made up for in heart and determination. It drove me to practise harder and be a student of the game,” he said.

Ward Simpson, chair of the Wall of Fame committee, closed out the ceremony by thanking the event’s many sponsors and encouraged the crowd to nominate deserving athletes to the  wall.

Nominations are considered annually, in the early spring.