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Sports Hall of Fame to honour Clykes for athletic contributions


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It should be quite an occasion. The Truro Sport Heritage Society has set aside a night next month to pay tribute to the Clyke athletes of Truro.
The reception and presentation will take place at the Marigold Cultural Centre Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m.
George and Darril Fosty, in their book "Blackice," published in 2008, highlight the Truro Victorias, Truro's early black hockey team. Interestingly, a number of Clykes, some relatives of today's Clykes, were listed in the Victorias lineup during the late 1880s up until the 1920s. Ansel, Alexander, George, James, Joseph, Palmer, Oscar and William Clyke all suited up.
The Truro Sheiks, who came after the Victorias around 1930, again named Ansel Clyke as a player. Others included Edward, Buster and Walter "Simmonds" Clyke.
And these early athletic trailblazers would indeed be followed by many more outstanding Clyke athletes.
Gerald Clyke, who played baseball, hockey and rugby locally during the 1940s, would later play senior baseball for the Garson Grey Hounds in the Sudbury senior league. His brother Les was an outstanding 'picking quarter' with Colchester County Academy in local high school rugby. Another brother John coached little league baseball during the mid-1980s in Truro.
A name that is certain to come up when reflecting on the accomplishments of Truro's Clykes is the name Denny Clyke.
It was during the 1960s and 70s that he stood tall among this province's very best athletes. Clyke was a feared hitter in fastball who broke up many a ball game. The Dartmouth Dairy Queen centre-fielder was twice named the Mainland Senior Fastball League's most valuable player. He won two batting titles, numerous home run titles and besides accepting several Nova Scotia all-star awards, he was an all-star on the national stage a number of times.
When Clyke, who helped Dairy Queen win five Nova Scotia titles, was inducted into the Softball Nova Scotia Hall of Fame a few years back, sports researcher Paul Hunt recalled the words of former longtime Softball Nova Scotia president Jack Gray.
"Denny Clyke is worth the price of admission all by himself. He's that outstanding a ball player."
Denny Clyke's brother Gary played junior hockey with the Stellarton Royals as well as intermediate baseball. Other family members also played sports. A sister Wendy is recalled in basketball while Susan took up volleyball.
Jack Clyke, who played all-star midget hockey during the 1940s and who later appeared in the lineup of the senior Truro Bearcats, was a son of Walter "Simmonds" Clyke. A fine all-around athlete, he also played baseball for the Truro Sheiks.
Tom Clyke, also Simmonds' son, excelled at several sports.
During his school years in Truro he was involved in gymnastics, trampoline and track and field. His swimming began at Truro's Victoria Park pool and he would later join the Trojan Aquatic Diving Club in Halifax, specializing in springboard diving. Tom Clyke was a Nova Scotia men's diving champion in 1971-72 and he would later compete at the Olympic trials in Winnipeg.
A brother, Ricky Clyke, was a familiar local boxer while other family members also competed through sports.
Jack Clyke's son George has quite a resume. He starred in football, hockey, basketball and track and field.
Brothers Johnny and Brian were also athletes while a number of others in the family were familiar to the sports scene.
Brian's son Steve emerged as an outstanding pitching prospect in baseball in the early part of this century. After starring in Truro, with Halifax teams and making six national appearances, the hard-throwing right-hander was scouted and recruited to pitch in Hamilton.
Dino Clyke was a talented, all-around athlete. Along with a good run at baseball, fastball and hockey, the popular Truro native left his mark in bowling. Travelling the Maritimes he did it all over a 30-year span. His open record of 475 is still talked about on the bowling scene.
Eddie Clyke's daughters - Bonnie, Cleo and Disha (Nordicia) - prevailed in basketball and the list of accomplishments by Clyke athletes stretches far.
It's definitely a nice gesture on the part of the local sports hall of fame to salute the accomplishments of the Clyke athletes.

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