Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2018

On Friday night, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame welcomed five new members to its ranks. The induction class of 2018 includes former Ottawa mayor Jim Durrell.

Durrell may have been the city’s mayor between 1985 and 1991, but he also holds a special place in Ottawa sports history. Known as the ‘sports mayor’, Durrell played a major role in bringing two professional sports teams to the nation’s capital.

Durrell had a hand in establishing both the Ottawa Senators (in 1992) and the Ottawa Champions (in 2014). He was also the chairman for last year’s 105thGrey Cup game and festivities held at TD Place.

The hall sets out yearly to induct members of the Ottawa community that have exemplified excellence in sports achievement and given back to the sports community. Past induction classes have included the likes of Daniel Alfredsson and Dr. James Naismith.

“Again this year, the selection process was very challenging”, said Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. “We received strong nominations from the community, a reminder of the broad range of sporting achievement and excellence that exists in the nation’s capital.”

Along with Durrell, four others were announced in February as part of the 2018 induction class: Betty Shields, Jim Kyte, Steve Gray, and Jeff Avery.

Shields and Kyte are known for careers on and off the ice. Shields led the way early on for the sport of ringette. She was the first president of the International Ringette Association and helped facilitate the sport’s inclusion in the Canada Winter Games.

Kyte spent 13 years as a defenseman in the National Hockey League (NHL), including seven years with the Winnipeg Jets. He was a two-time nominee for the Bill Masterson trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player that best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Kyte also founded the Canadian Hockey Association for the Hearing Impaired.

To round out the class, there are two field sports stars. Gray was a stalwart on the Canadian national rugby team for years, while Avery was a standout football player throughout his life in Ottawa. Avery won a Vanier Cup with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and played professionally for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Since his retirement, Avery has stayed close to the game. He has resided as the president of the CFL Ottawa Alumni Association for the last 16 years and has covered Canadian football on the radio.

Friday’s 2018 induction ceremony took place at Lansdowne Park’s Horticulture Building. The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame now has more than 270 inducted members.