Yarmouth Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner May 3

Published on April 29, 2014

The Yarmouth Town and County Sports Heritage Association will hold its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Saturday, May 3, at the Rodd Grand Hotel.

The dinner is scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s inductees include three individuals and two teams.

In the builder category, the Hall of Fame will welcome Mike LeBlanc.

Entering the Hall of Fame as individual athletes are Eric Hurlburt (shooting) and Kayla Mooney (figure skating).

In the team category, two championship baseball clubs will enter the hall this year: the Yarmouth team that won the Atlantic AA mosquito title in 2013 and the Pleasant Valley Lakers, national 50+ champs in 2013.

Aside from the induction ceremonies, the evening will include the presentation of the Nate Bain and Jim Hatfield memorial awards. The former (for Yarmouth County athlete of the year) will go to sprinter Mackenzie Munroe. The latter (a baseball award) will be presented to Bob Durkee.

The following information on the Hall of Fame inductees and award recipients was provided by the sports heritage association.

Mike LeBlanc

Mike LeBlanc started his sports career in the Yarmouth County minor hockey and minor baseball associations. He was a talented, hard-working athlete who excelled in other sports as well, including soccer, track and field, basketball and lacrosse.

His hockey career was highlighted by playing for the team that won the 1972 Nova Scotia bantam B championship. In 1973 he played for the Pembroke squad in the Yarmouth County Juvenile Hockey League. He also played for Wedgeport in the old intermediate league, as well as for the Ready Mixes. He received invitations to attend Mount Allison University to play hockey and also to attend training camp for Fitchburg Whallopers of the New England Junior Hockey League. He went on to play three seasons for the Kentville Colonels of the Metro/Valley Junior Hockey League.

In baseball in 1970, he was an all-star in the Yarmouth Junior Baseball League (under-13). In 1974, at the age of 17, Mike started out playing left field for the Yarmouth Mooseheads in the Yarmouth senior men’s league. He would play several positions, including catching. He was invited to attend summer training camp in 1977 for the Nova Scotia Canada Games team but chose not to attend due to university and work commitments.

In high school he was one of the leading scorers in soccer, leading to a second-place finish in the provincials. He scored 24 of the team’s 77 goals in his senior year. His athletic ability in high school carried over to track and field, where he had the chance to show off his speed. Through his teen years, he also played competitive lacrosse.

His coaching career started at the age of 16 when he led the Yarmouth mosquito team to a provincial title, one of the youngest coaches ever to accomplish such a feat. From 1977 to 1979, he coached the Acadia varsity women’s hockey team. He later coached soccer – working with different levels and programs – and was on the executive of the Yarmouth Clipper Soccer Association.

He also has been involved with the sports heritage association and for several years was on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club. He continues to participate in men’s recreational hockey and basketball.

Eric Hurlburt

Eric Hurlburt’s shooting career has spanned more than 30 years. In addition to small-bore rifle championships, he has excelled at big-bore shooting at distances from 300 to 1,000 yards.

He has competed from here in the Maritimes to Alberta.

Aside from his shooting ability, he became a shooting coach. He attended the U.S. Army marksmanship training facility in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he received coaching from some of the world’s best instructors.

He was involved during the early years in the building of the outdoor and indoor ranges for the Scotia Sportsmen’s Association, the Yarmouth-area shooting club.

Over the years he has been a mentor to many young shooters, loaning them equipment, taking them to competitions and offering help and encouragement.

The following are some of his accomplishments:

--Provincial small-bore rifle champion from 1982 to ’86

--Provincial small-bore sporting rifle champion from 1982 to ‘91

--Provincial small-bore match rifle champion in 1975, ’79, ’80, 2003, 2005

--1990 Canadian three-position sporting rifle master champion

--Member of Nova Scotia team to Canadian small-bore championship for 21 years

--Five-year member of Canadian team for Dewar Cup international postal match

--Member of many Nova Scotia teams for inter-Maritime team matches

--Member of many Maritime teams for competitions against New England states for Mimi-Palma Cup

--Winner of two Governor General and two Lieutenant Governor awards for shoot

Kayla Mooney

Kayla Mooney started skating when she was three years old and skated in her first figure skating competition at the age of five. Since then she has skated in over 50 skating competitions, winning many medals. She also has passed the complete set of Skate Canada skills test, having successfully completed her gold skills at the age of 12.

She completed the Skate Canada gold dance test at 13 and, at 14, she passed the Skate Canada senior silver free skate test. She won the youth athlete of the year award in 2008.

Her training has not been limited to the Yarmouth area. She has spent summers training in skating camps in Moncton, Halifax and the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ontario. She earned provincial I sectional titles in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. By winning the silver triathlon event at the 2008 Star Skate provincial championships, she qualified to represent Nova Scotia at the 2008 Home Sense National Star Skate in Brampton, Ontario, where she placed 10th.

Although much of her time is devoted to skating, she has been involved in other sports as well, including soccer, basketball and track and field.

Pleasant Valley Lakers

The Pleasant Valley team was established in 2009, the first year for the 50-and-over division. The team won the division championship that year. Since 2009, the team has travelled to Burnaby, B.C. in 2010 (where they were Tier 2 champs), Burlington, Ontario, in 2011, Summerside, P.E.I. in 2012 (Tier 2 champs) and Edmonton in 2013, where they won the national championship again.

In Edmonton, the team went 3-1 in the round-robin, winning their semifinal game 1-0 against Spring Lake, Alberta. In this game the Lakers’ Cory Nickerson took a walk with two outs, then stole second base, which surprised everyone. Walter Hurlburt then came to the plate. He ran to first base thinking he had walked, when in fact he had a 3-2 count. The umpire called him back to home plate, where he proceeded to hit a single, scoring the only run of the game.

The Lakers went on to beat Spruce Grove, Alberta (the team they had lost to in the round-robin) 6-2 to win the national title.

There were many things throughout the tournament that made this team extremely proud, including having the oldest player in the tournament, Bob Durkee.

This year the team will be travelling to Ontario to defend their title. The team would like to thank all the sponsors and the community for their continuing support and to make it possible to travel to these locations. They say they are proud to represent Yarmouth and Yarmouth County.

They also are looking forward to 2015, when Yarmouth and surrounding communities will be hosting the national championship for the fourth time.

Yarmouth Mosquito Gateways

The Yarmouth Pizza Delight Mosquito AA Gateways had a very successful season, going 16-3-1 in 20 games in the Bluenose league consisting of teams from across Nova Scotia. The Gateways scored 186 runs and gave up just 45 in their 20 games.

The team fell just short in the provincials, losing to Stellarton in the semifinals. The team was a well-rounded club with solid hitting, strong defence and good pitching.

The team went on to win the Atlantic championship after going undefeated in the tournament they hosted, an event featuring teams from the four Atlantic provinces.

The participating clubs included the host Gateways, the Grand Falls-Windsor Teck Braves of Newfoundland, the New Glasgow Kinsmen Crofter’s Cubs of Nova Scotia, Western Valley Shiretowners of New Brunswick and the West Prince Aces (No. 2) of P.E.I.

The Yarmouth team won the championship after defeating Grand Falls-Windsor 14-1 in the final game.

Yarmouth had two shutout wins in the tournament. They scored 44 runs against their opponents and only had three runs scored against them in five games.

Yarmouth’s Max Nickerson was the tournament MVP and teammate Teegan Scott was the top pitcher.

Mackenzie Munroe

Nate Bain Memorial Award recipient

Mackenzie Munroe had a great year on the track in 2013.

As an elite sprinter, he won three gold medals at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) track and field championships in Moncton.

His golds came in the 300 metres, the 600 and the 4 X 400 relay.

He was named captain of the St. Francis Xavier University track team.

He also competed at the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec, as a member of Team Nova Scotia, winning bronze in the 4 X 400 relay on a squad that included Justin Blades, another local athlete.

Bob Durkee

Jim Hatfield Memorial Award recipient

Bob Durkee has been an ambassador for baseball in Yarmouth County. He has been playing baseball most of his 70 years and has a deep passion for the game.

He started out with Sandford, played in Halifax and eventually wound up in Yarmouth with the Mooseheads.

He has won two Canadian National Oldtimers Baseball Federation championships, one with the 35+ Yarmouth Red Knights in 2009 and one with the Pleasant Valley Lakers in 2013, a team that is being inducted into the Yarmouth sports Hall of Fame this year.

Considered a fierce competitor on the field, Durkee plays baseball because he loves the game but also because he enjoys the social part of the sport, the camaraderie.