By Doug Kennedy
A municipal icon and his hockey-playing granddaughter, a Canadian track and field coaching legend, a successful National Football League front-office woman, two highly acclaimed hockey officials, a medal-winning multi-sport athlete provincially and nationally, and one of the community’s best-ever all-around athletes are the 2020 additions to the Kincardine Sports Wall of Fame.
The Sports Wall of Fame committee announced today that Keith Davidson, Hannah Davidson, Earl Farrell, Kirsten Grohs, Clarke Pollock, Frank Pearce, Lisa (Nicholson) Holtby, and Jim Bell will be added to the wall, located at the Davidson Centre. A banquet to officially welcome the Class of 2020 will be held in the fall.
Keith Davidson, the municipality’s retired recreation director, for whom the Davidson Centre is named, and for decades a coach in the Kincardine Minor Hockey and minor baseball programs, will join the wall along with his granddaughter, Hannah Davidson. Hannah, who played minor hockey in Kincardine and with the Saugeen-Maitland Lightning as well as the Kincardine District Secondary School Knights, was a star forward with the Kitchener Rangers of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League. That earned her a scholarship at Minnesota State University, where she was a four-time academic all-American and a recipient of the Daniel Mundahl Award for leadership in the community and public involvement in female hockey.
Farrell was the founder of the Saugeen Track Club in 1983. While the club was based in Port Elgin, Farrell spent many nights in Kincardine at the Davidson Centre track, and many athletes in Bruce, Grey and Huron counties enjoyed success at the regional, provincial, national and international levels under the coach’s guidance. Farrell, who died in 2018, was the president of the Ontario Track and Field Association in the late 1990s and also coached at the 1996 World Junior Athletics Championships.
Pollock was one of the province’s most highly-respected hockey officials for more than two decades between the 1970s and ‘90s in the Ontario Hockey Association, Ontario Hockey League, Western Ontario Athletic Association and Ontario Minor Hockey Association. The long-time Kincardine resident refereed in the Allan Cup (senior), Hardy Cup (intermediate) and Centennial Cup (junior) national championships and also worked international hockey games. As an official and supervisor, Pollock also mentored many young officials including his son Kevin, who has been a National Hockey League referee since 1999.
Grohs is one of the highest-ranking women working in football operations for an NFL team. The KDSS graduate parlayed a volunteer position with the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks as a university student, into a career that has included front-office jobs with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and in her current position as the manager of football administration for the Atlanta Falcons.
Lisa (Nicholson) Holtby carved out an outstanding career as an artistic gymnast, trampoline gymnast, diver, volleyball player and soccer player. She enjoyed her greatest success on the trampoline, winning the women’s gold medal at the 2002 Ontario Winter Games, and winning gold in both the individual and synchronized events at the 2004 Eastern Ontario championships. In 2005, Holtby was a bronze medalist at the Canadian trampoline championships.
Pearce’s life in hockey included four decades of officiating professionally; locally and games in the OHA. He’s had a major impact on the lives of most hockey players and figure skaters in the community as the person who sharpened the skates of boys, girls, women and men moving through the ranks.
Bell is one of Kincardine’s renowned athletes who shone as a hockey player, baseball player and golfer. After playing minor hockey here, he played junior B in Stratford-then two years of junior C in Hanover, and then back to junior B in Goderich. He later played for the Kincardine Bulldogs intermediate team. Bell was a pitcher and first baseman on the baseball field, and was one of the community’s top golfers while also managing the Kincardine Golf Club for many years.
“Once again, we received many incredibly worthwhile nominations to be added to the already outstanding group of people on the Kincardine Sports Wall of Fame,” said committee members Karen Kieffer and Doug Kennedy. “We’re fortunate to have so many tremendous athletes and volunteers in our community, and the Class of 2020 certainly reflects that.”
For more information:
Karen Kieffer 519-396-3491 ext.7301 or Doug Kennedy 519-396-4636, Kincardine Sports Wall of Fame committee.