The London sports Hall of Fame class of 2018 was announced June 4 at the home of the Hall, Budweiser Gardens.

This year’s inductees will be formally honoured at the annual Spirit of Sport and Official Hall of Fame induction event, Thursday November 8 at the Carousel Room, Western Fair District.

This year’s inductee line-up includes:

Oakridge Secondary School boys’ hockey teams – 1971, 72, 73 three-peat provincial champions

Craig Billington – Team Canada and long-time National Hockey League goalie and executive

Al Coulter – Olympic, Team Canada, and Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame inductee

Adam Purdy – Legendary para-Olympic and World Champion swimmer

Tom Partalas – Soccer player and builder; president and CEO of BMO Centre, London

The Hall of Fame is now in its 17th year of operation. It originated as an official committee of the London Sports Council in 2001. Since then 89 individuals and eleven teams have been inducted.

Tickets for the November 8 event will go on sale in early September and may be purchased through the Western Fair District website.

The Class of 2018 – London Sports Hall of Fame

1971/72/73 Oakridge Secondary School boy’s hockey team  – Team/Legend

  • Three-peat Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Association (OFSSA) boys hockey champions, an accomplishment not repeated since
  • In 1971 defeated regular season champs A. B. Lucas to win London Conference
  • The 1972-73 teams go 40 games in conference, tournament and playoff competition without a loss
  • To this day, this is a London Conference and Thames Valley School Board record
  • The ’72 team also won the Montreal Loyola tournament which featured provincial champions from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec
  • The 1971 title team defeated Ottawa Laurier in Coppercliff; the 1972 win over Toronto Cedarbrae took place in Essex while 1973 title saw Oakridge defeat North Bay Scollard Hall in overtime at London Gardens before 2,500 spectators and game was shown on Rogers Cable TV
  • Paul Porter scored the winning goal in championship game on a power-play, deflecting a shot by Bill Galloway
  • First London team to win an OFSSA hockey title
  • Eight players were on both 1971 and 1972 teams; four players on 1972 and 1973 teams
  • Over three seasons team compiled a record of 72-9-5
  • Only three players, Jack Gulka, Gary Hubbell and Brian Watkin were on all three championship teams, along with Head Coach Fred Israels
  • Three players from the teams went on to play college hockey in the United States – Bill Robinson, Ken Petitt and Paul Porter while several others were offered scholarships

Craig Billington– Hockey – Athlete/Modern

  • Born in London, September 11, 1966
  • National Hockey League goalie for 15 years
  • Attended Northridge Elementary School and A. B. Lucas Secondary School
  • Product of Stoneybrook Minor Hockey Association
  • Played one season (23 games) in goal for London Chester Pegg Diamonds of the Western Junior B League with a goals against average of 3.41
  • Drafted in fourth round (51st overall) of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft in 1983 by the Belleville Bulls
  • Part of World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal team in 1985 (Helsinki) and silver medal winning team in 1986 (Hamilton)
  • Named best goaltender at the 1985 world junior championships
  • OHL scholastic player of the year in 1984-85
  • Most valuable player in 1984-85 OHL All-Star game
  • Drafted in 1984 second round (23rd overall) by New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League
  • Made his NHL debut with New Jersey in 1985
  • Played 42 games with the Devils 1992-93
  • Played on the NHL All-Star team in 1993
  • Traded to Ottawa Senators the following season where he played 63 games
  • Traded to the Boston Bruins in 1995, the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 and the Washington Capitals in 1999
  • Won a silver medal with Canada’s national men’s hockey team at the 1991 World Hockey Championships
  • Finished his NHL career with 332 games played and a goals-against-average of 3.55 and a save percentage of .879
  • Operated a goaltending school in London and Gravenhurst for 23 years
  • After retiring following the 2002-03 season joined the Avalanche’s front office staff, where he is currently the team’s assistant general manager responsible for player development and minor league operations

Allan Coulter – Volleyball- Athlete/Modern

  • Born in Toronto, December 15, 1959 while his father was completing his medical residency
  • Moved back to London following the completion of his father’s residency where he attended Orchard Park Elementary School and Banting Secondary School
  • While at Banting took up volleyball due to a hockey injury sustained while in grade 9
  • Led Banting to back-to-back city championships
  • Joined national junior men’s volleyball team in 1978 while still at Banting
  • In 1978 attended Western University where he led previously unranked Western Mustangs to OUAA championship as a rookie
  • Left Western after one season in 1979 to join men’s national volleyball team, based in Calgary
  • Competed for Team Canada from 1979 to 1992, the longest competitive volleyball career on record for a Canadian
  • Captained team for four years
  • World record holder for most international matches played by a national volleyball athlete
  • Represented Canada at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Olympics
  • Also represented Canada in 1982 and 1990 world championships, Pan Am Games (1983 and 1987), and World University Games (1981, 1983 and 1985)
  • Winner of six Canadian National Volleyball Championships and one US Open National Championship
  • Won 1998 World Masters Volleyball Championships for both indoor and outdoor volleyball
  • Alberta Sports Hall of Fame inductee – 1997; Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame inductee – 2001; and 2016 a member of the 1978 Junior National Team
  • Lives in Calgary with his wife Olympic synchronized swimming Gold Medalist Michelle Cameron and their four children, and coaching high school volleyball
  • Described as the quickest hitting middle blocker Canada has ever had in men’s volleyball
  • Nickname was “The Legend”

Adam Purdy  – Para-swimming – Athlete/Modern

  • Born in London, January 22, 1981
  • Attended St. Anthony’s Elementary School, Regina Mundi College, Wilfred Laurier University, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Born with a congenital condition called arthrogryposis which resulted in the fusing of his ankles and elbows and two club feet
  • Participated in hydrotherapy rehabilitation programs gaining an innate love of the water at the Thames Valley Children’s Centre
  • One of the first participants in the London Lightning Bolts para swim team developed in 1990 by his father Ken assisted by the Thames Valley Centre and the London YMCA
  • In 1993 joined the London Aquatic Club
  • In 1994 at age 13 he placed 6th in the 100 metre backstroke at the first IPC World Championships held in Malta
  • Participated in five events at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, placing 4th in the 100 metre backstroke
  • Won 3 gold medals and set two world records at the 1998 World Para Swimming Championships in New Zealand
  • Won gold in the 100 metre backstroke in a world record time at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics; also, led off the 4X100 medley relay team, winning gold in world record time
  • Placed 4th in 100 metre backstroke at 2000 World Championships in Durban, South Africa
  • Named Swim Ontario’s para swimmer of the year in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • Torch bearer – 2001 Canada Games – London
  • After retiring from swimming for seven years, he returned to the pool in 2013 prepping for the 2015 Toronto Para Pan Am Games where he won three medals: silver in the 100 metre backstroke; bronze in the 50 metre butterfly, setting a Canadian record; and bronze as part of the 4X50 metre freestyle relay team
  • Retired from swimming for a 2nd time in January, 2016
  • Resides in London with his family and keeps involved in swimming coaching at Beal Secondary School

Tom Partalas  – Soccer/Builder

  • Born in Greece, moved to Canada in 1967
  • Pronounced: par-TAL-as
  • President and Chief Executive Officer of the London Optimist Sports Centre operating the BMO Centre on Rectory Street
  • Attended South Secondary School, Western University
  • Named university all-star in 1973 while playing soccer for Western
  • Played professionally for London City, 1969-70
  • Along with John Henderson, in 1971 organized first youth competitive league in London. Beginning with 6 teams and 90 players there are currently over 17,000 young people playing soccer in London
  • Minor soccer coach – 1971-1994
  • Began refereeing in 1994, is now an instructor and assessor for the Ontario Soccer Association
  • Part of Mayors’ Task Force on soccer in 1998 which saw development of 16 new outdoor soccer fields
  • In 1994 became an executive member of the Southwest Optimist Indoor Soccer League
  • Venue leader for London, 2001 Canada Summer Games
  • Part of a group of members of the Southwest Optimist Club which took over an indoor soccer facility in east London, turning it into a successful indoor sports centre
  • Led the building of the $14.5 million BMO Centre which opened in 2011
  • In 2005 the London Free Press named him one of the 25 most powerful people in the London sporting community
  • Ontario Soccer Association Centre Circle award winner – 2010
  • Winner of a Pillar Community Award, and a 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Named to City of London’s 2017 Honour Roll

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