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SPORTS SCENE: Truro Sport Heritage Society awards dinner just around the corner

Sara McKenna, the chair of the Truro Sport Heritage Society, is excited about the upcoming sports awards dinner.
Sara McKenna, the chair of the Truro Sport Heritage Society, is excited about the upcoming sports awards dinner. - Lyle Carter

It has been more than 34 years since the Truro Sport Heritage Society held its first sports awards dinner.

On that occasion, John Piers received the merit award, Gerry Hale was coach of the year, Earl McKenna was presented with the officiating award and Ken Poole was named the Eastern Cablevision outstanding male athlete of the year.

The 35th annual TSHS sports awards dinner will take place Sunday, March 3, at the Best Western Glengarry. This promises to be a huge night for Truro as accomplishments of Colchester County teams, athletes, coaches and volunteers are celebrated.

“It’s definitely getting exciting,” Sara McKenna, the chair of the local society, said. “We appear to be heading for a sellout and we’re still a month away from our award dinner. Everything is going well, we’re actually well ahead of schedule.”

For those attending, and at this date it looks like approximately 400 people will be on hand, besides an amazing update as to what’s happening in local sports, emcee Bruce Rainnie will add tremendously to the night.

This is Rainnie’s 13th straight year emceeing the event. The president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame has an outstanding

background with CBC, he was a Hockey Night In Canada analyst and the broadcaster for eight Olympic Games.

“Bruce is an excellent emcee and guest speaker,” McKenna said. “Bruce has some great stories he shares from his experiences in the broadcasting world. Bruce actually makes himself aware of a number of our athletes before coming to Truro. Bruce says, per capita, Colchester County and Truro have the most talented athletes in the province.”

McKenna has been a TSHS board member for five years; this is her first year as chair. Also casting an official vote regarding award recipients, McKenna brings a vast sports background to the table. The Bible Hill native umpired Little League baseball for several years. She also played softball for CEC and starred on two provincial championship high school teams.

McKenna played for Nova Scotia in the 1994 women’s junior national softball championships in B.C., she won a Nova Scotia softball title playing

with MacDonald’s Insurance and she has both coached and refereed soccer.

To purchase tickets for the sports awards dinner, contact Sara at 902-957-0084 or by email sara_mckenna@hotmail.com.

An outstanding outing, the TSHS sports awards dinner allows sports followers an opportunity to get out and applaud many of the faces from sports we’ve heard about or read about. It’s also a time to renew friendships with people we’ve met through sports. Ticket costs are $40 for adults and $25 for students.

The Best Western Glengarry event sees the doors open at 6 p.m., the dinner begins at 6.30 p.m.

* * * *

The 1965 champion Salmon River Keiths. Front row, from left, Pat Hare, Earl Archibald, Harold Johnson, Howie MacLean and Ralph Carter. Back row, Eldon Chapman, Gerry McWha, Lyman Totten, Vaughan Webb, Art Archibald, Gary MacKenzie, Barry Clark, playing coach Keith MacKenzie and manager Gerry Byers.

Former senior softball pitcher Howie MacLean passed me an interesting photo recently. It was the Salmon River Keiths team photo – the 1965 Truro & District Softball League champions. MacLean shared memories.

“I was 16 my first year with Salmon River,” MacLean 71, of Hammonds Plains, said. “I played four seasons for Keith Mackenzie, one of the best

coaches I ever played for. Keith was a student of the game, a great communicator and a friend and mentor who had a lot of respect from his

players and the softball community. Keith was a serious competitor who was humble in winning and gracious in defeat.”

MacLean, one of the hardest-throwing pitchers around during the 1960s, shared the pitching rotation with a hurler who went on to great heights in softball.

“Eldon Chapman was an unbelievable pitcher, I was really in awe of his pitching. Eldon mastered the knuckleball and he was always really cool out on the mound. Eldon pitched some great games, he was a big star with our team, he was also a great teammate.”

Some kind words were also offered by MacLean for catchers Harold Johnson and Ralph Carter and long-ball hitting third-baseman Lyman Totten. MacLean explained that Salmon River rose to become a provincial contender with the addition of key players such as Denny Clyke, John Hutchinson and Bob Crowell.

MacLean, who became a prominent businessman, grew up in Belmont and North River. He was quite young when his father, Cpl. Doug MacLean of the Royal Canadian Regiment, was killed in 1953, a casualty of the Korean War.

Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.

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