Immortalized: Chris Phillips Among Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Photo credit: Jana Chytilova (Freestyle Photography)
On Monday, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame announced five new inductees to its ranks. The induction class of 2019 will include Chris Phillips, Chantal Benoit, Rick Desclouds, John Halvorsen and the 1968 and 1969 Ottawa Rough Riders.
“The selection process is always extremely difficult and this year was no exception”, says Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. “Once again, we received a large number of very strong nominations from the community, a reminder of the broad range of sporting achievement and commitment to excellence that exists in the nation’s capital. This year’s class is exceptional, not just for their contribution to sport, but what they have done for our city.”
Chris Phillips spent 17 years as a defenseman for the Senators and remains one of the team’s most recognizable figures for his charitable causes in the Ottawa community. He was drafted first overall by Ottawa in the 1997 NHL Draft and stills holds the franchise record for games played as a Senator.
Another prominent figure known for his athletic and philanthropic actions is Rick Desclouds. He is perhaps the most unique of the inductees this year. He has coached teams in the sports of baseball, track and field, cross-country and basketball, but he is best known for leading volleyball excellence. In 35 years as a teacher and coach at Glashan Public School in Ottawa, Desclouds helped lead the Spikers to 10 Ontario Cups.
Chantal Benoit is an all-timer in the world of wheelchair basketball. She was a member of the Canadian National Team for a staggering 27 years. In that time, she competed at six Paralympic Games and captured two gold medals. Benoit was also awarded the Gold Medal Triad Award, which was given to her for her efforts in growing the game both domestically and internationally.
John Halvorsen carved out a fantastic career as a runner and as a facilitator for running in Ottawa. Born in Norway, Halvorsen won two track national championships before moving to Canada. Since settling in Ottawa, he has competed in two Olympic Games and has won four Canadian Intra-University Cross-Country Championships. He also helped grow Ottawa Race Weekend into an incredibly successful event, involving over 40,000 participants and millions of dollars raised for Ottawa charities.
Rounding out the induction group are two historic championship football teams. The Ottawa Rough Riders, the original professional franchise in the nation’s capital, won back-to-back championships in the late 60s and will have both of those teams inducted into the hall of fame. Led by quarterback Russ Jackson and head coach Frank Clair, the ‘68 and ‘69 teams remain two of the most iconic in CFL history.
The ceremony will take place on May 31st at the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park.