• By: Sofia Donato

The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame announces six 2020 inductees

January 30th, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame announced six new inductees for 2020. Each year, the Hall of Fame board receives nominations from the public and selects new inductees to be honoured in the Hall, located at City Hall. This year's inductees qualified for nomination due to their exceptional contributions to the sports community and their astounding skills in their professions.

“Each year the selection process seems to get more and more difficult,” says Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. “Ottawa is home base for an exceptional pool of sporting achievement and excellence. This is reflected in the quality of the nominations we receive. This year’s inductees are athletes, builders and champions all, with not only remarkable sports pedigrees, but impressive records of community service and volunteerism.”

Basketball coach Dave Smart, hockey player and official Marina Zenk, Carleton Sports Therapy founders Phil Ashcroft and Dr. Donald Johnson, martial arts legend John Therien, along with hockey pioneer Derek Holmes will be the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame 2020 inductees. These athletes, coaches, doctors and founders have contributed to the sports community in Ottawa through their teachings and accomplishments. The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame will honour their achievements by representing them as inductees.

They will be honoured at the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday, May 13 at the Brookstreet Hotel. Tickets are available for purchase online here.

Dave Smart coached the Carleton University Ravens Men’s Basketball team from 1999 to 2015, and 2016 to 2019. Through those years, Smart’s teams have consistently found themselves at the top of the standings, a testament to his exceptional coaching skills. Smart’s teams have won an astonishing 13 national titles, and he has won the Aberdeen Trophy as U Sport Coach of the Year nine times. In 2019, Smart stepped away from coaching while remaining actively involved in the sport.

Marina Zenk enjoyed a stellar hockey career with the OCAA’s Seneca Sting Women’s Hockey team, leading them to a provincial championship. Following her playing career, Zenk established herself as an excellent on-ice official, locally, nationally and internationally. Building on her impressive reputation, she became a highly coveted international referee, serving as head arbiter in multiple world championships. She was the head referee at the first women’s Gold Medal game at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Over the last three decades Zenk has made significant contributions to the promotion of female hockey in Canada, including the development of key officiating programs.

Dr. Don Johnson and Phil Ashcroft are legends in the field of sports medicine and rehabilitation both locally and internationally. They founded the Carleton Sports Medicine Clinic in 1973, building a world-class facility that has successfully treated tens of thousands of athletes and non-athletes alike. Dr. Johnson is a leading expert in the field of arthroscopic surgery, and is credited with rescuing the playing careers of athletes across countless sports. He was the team physician for the Winter and Summer Olympic teams in 1976, as well as the Ottawa Rough and Ottawa Senators. Ashcroft was once the head physiotherapist for the New Zealand All Blacks and several professional soccer teams before moving to Canada where he has serviced countless local, national and international events in soccer, rugby, track & field including the 1976 Olympics games in Montreal.

John Therien is synonymous with martial arts in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. A ninth degree black belt in Jiu Jitsu, John has earned the prestigious title of “Hanshi,” which means Leader of Leaders. Through his schools scattered throughout the region, John has coached and certified thousands of students to Black Belt status over the last 50 years. For nearly two decades, he manager and coach to 23-time World Kickboxing Champion, Jean-Yves Theriault. Therien was inducted into the Canadian Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010, and is currently the Executive Director of the World Kobudo Federation and he is a mentor to other instructors around the world.

Derek Holmes, like many Canadians, lives and breathes the sport of hockey. But few have had such a prolific impact on the game both at home and abroad. He began as a player, toiling through various leagues, winning championships and even serving as captain of the Canadian National team in 1968. At the conclusion of his playing career, he went on to serve the sport in a wide range of roles from coach, to general manager, both at home and internationally. He was Executive Director of Hockey Canada in 1975, Manager of the Canadian National Team in 1978 and Hockey Canada’s first technical director in the 80s. From 1980 through early 2000s Derek was one of the first agents for elite professional players from Europe, carving the way for many future agents and representatives.

Celebrate the exceptional feats achieved by Ottawa’s highly esteemed and skilled athletes, coaches sports doctors at the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held in May!