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Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition honours 2024 inductees

Local NewsBrantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition honours 2024 inductees

Over 150 people attended the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition induction ceremony at the Brantford Best Western on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

The ceremony kicked off with a bag-pipe procession of inductees and honourees as well as supporting family members before MC, Ross Enslev, welcomed the crowd.

The Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition recognizes hometown athletes, sport builders and teams who have achieved the highest standards of excellence and make significant contributions in their chosen sport.

On Wednesday, five individuals were honoured at the ceremony and will now be showcased in the Sports Hall of Recognition located inside of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

This year’s new members included four builders: Dr. Henry Brydges Yates, Patrick Murphy, Sandy Beedham and Rick Beedham; as well one athlete inductee, Garrett Riley.

Henry Yates thanks the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition Executive Committee for honouring his grandfather Dr. Henry Brydges Yates during the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition induction ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

The first honouree, Dr. Yates, was posthumously honoured in the ceremony for his work as a builder in the sport of football. Steve Talos, who nominated Yates and the Yate Cup for the hall of recognition, spoke about the honouree.

“Henry Brydges Yates was a great builder who encouraged young men at McGill University to play football. He was actually the captain of the football team, and he later donated the Yates cup [the oldest continually played for football trophy in North America],” said Talos. “One of the great things he did when he went over to France during World War One was organize the soldiers there to play baseball [and football] to take their mind off of the war. Consequently, ever since then, except during the war periods, the Yates Cup has been given out since 1898.”

Greg Marshall, head football coach for Western University, also stood to speak about the honouree.

“Dr. Yates knew the lessons of sport and that building a culture of team or a band of brothers, would carry over onto the battlefield,” he said. “…The Yates Cup represents all the great things that make sport in Canada, and here in Brantford so valuable in our lives. It is something that should be promoted and celebrated as we are doing here tonight. Sports builds strong people and strong people build great gaming communities like Brantford, Ontario.”

Bob McGeein, Chair of the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition Executive Committee, then presented Henry Yates, Dr. Yates’ grandson, with a small trophy of recognition.

Sandy and Rick Beedham speak about how their Brant Youth Volleyball Club has grown throughout the years during the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition induction ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Shortly after, Rick and Sandy Beedham, founders of the Brant Youth Volleyball Club, were honoured for their work as builders in the sport of Volleyball.  

“This journey began 26 years ago coaching a group of young, 14-year-old boys from St. George-German School. When we lost to Paris in the Brant County finals, we joined with Paris, and became an OVA team,” said Sandy. “Now, our team has grown and we have competitive teams from U-13 to U-18 girls, and a U-15 boys team. We have developmental programs for parent, child, junior and senior spikes, and we have a strong house league program which has had thousands of kids go through the program. … We would like to thank everyone for being on this journey with us and for continuing to support us.”

Patrick Murphy speaks about seeing WrestleMania in his youth and how it changed his life forever during the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition induction ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Up next, Patrick Murphy, was brought up as an inductee for his work as a builder in Brantford’s professional wrestling community.

“I want to talk about March 31, 1985, because it was the very first WrestleMania. I went with my dad, Cecil, and my uncle Randy, and we went to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, and we saw the very first WrestleMania on closed circuit TV back before the days of pay per view,” he said. “I never looked at wrestling the same again and I knew I wanted to pursue wrestling for life.  I did everything I could to make my dream come true and it’s been an amazing ride. To everybody that’s come here to support me tonight, I just want to say thank you and thank you to the Sports Hall for giving me this great, great honor; I’m very proud of it. I will continue to do my best to provide wrestling for Brantford, and hopefully everybody can have great memories like I do.”

Garrett Riley thanks his friends and family for all their support during the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition induction ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Garrett Riley, a para ice hockey Olympian, was the final inductee of the night and was honoured for his work as an athlete.

“I never thought that being recognized in such a big way in my own community and in my sport was ever possible for me,” he said. “I really appreciate everybody for coming out and for what they have done for me. I’ve been through my ups and downs and it’s been a real challenge, but I’ve always, always found the right people who have helped me to get to where I need to be, and to help me strive to be the person that I am today.”

Riley was a rising star in Brantford Minor Hockey and played in AAA hockey until the age of 15 when he was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma (bone cancer). As he underwent various treatments and surgeries, he was able to return to the sport but eventually made the switch to para hockey.

After winning gold with Team Ontario at the Parasport Games in Brantford in 2017, an infection soon led to the amputation of his affected leg. Undeterred, Garret made the National para hockey team within a year of the operation.

Despite seriously injuring his other leg during a tournament in the United States, Riley persevered and in 2022, he played alongside Team Canada in the Paralympics and proudly carried the silver medal home to Brantford.

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