Hall of Fame inductees attest to sports special memories

   The Mount Pearl Sport Alliance's Hall of Fame grew by four more members last month as two "builders" and two athletes were added during a banquet which also honoured the City's best athletes from 2015.
   Joining the Hall of Fame were long time soccer referee, coach, tournament convenor and executive member Dave Legrow; long serving baseball, hockey and soccer coach Dave Randell; soccer, hockey, basketball, swimming and volleyball start Jennifer Andrews; and standout Mount Pearl Blades goaltender Wince Taylor, who also backstopped provincial and senior hockey teams.
   The event drew a packed gymnasium for a banquet style presentation at the Reid Community Centre where the warm feeling inside was a strong contrast to the weather outside that was whipped with snow, rain and high winds.
   LeGrow was deeply touched by the induction. He started volunteering with the Mount Pearl Soccer association in 1994. Along with coaching, refereeing and helping to convene major tournaments, he also served in key executive roles, including treasurer and secretary and was part of a task group that helped obtain new field lighting, a new club house and new turf. LeGrow is a former Executive of the Year with the soccer association, a member of its Hall of Fame, and has been presented with a lifetime achievement award by Mount Pearl Men's Slo-Pitch Softball.
   In accepting the latest honour, LeGrow joked that he knew he wasn't being inducted for his playing ability. "But it's still an honour," he said.
   "I received through soccer a lot of rewards," he added. "There is a difference between rewards and awards - one is more tangible than the other... I have a lot of good memories ... My induction here tonight is another memory that I will remember for a lot of years to come."
   Randell, who began coaching in the mid-1980s when his children started playing sports, was also grateful for the recognition. Randell spent two decades coaching in various sports in Mount Pearl, helping four baseball and hockey teams to provincial championships and serving in a number of top executive capacities, including as treasurer for major soccer tournaments hosted in the City. Randell is also a former treasurer of the Sport Alliance, the 2000 provincial Summer Games and the Frosty Festival.
   Randell said no one achieves anything in sport on his or her own and he was fortunate to work with "some amazing groups of individuals, highly capable and committed board members and executives, dedicated officials, and top level volunteers… We had the confidence that we could take on pretty much anything and we very often did. Along with the athletes, these people made my involvement a pure pleasure."
   The same is true of the many sponsors who have contributed to the sporting community over the years, Randell noted.
   "Our City itself has taken sports seriously since day one," Randell pointed out. "It's been a lot of give and take and some raised voices at times, but the City and its staff have always come through and the youth of Mount Pearl are the beneficiaries of that cooperation."
   Randell saved his "most important" thanks for his wife Marg and their sons Mike, Mark and Ryan "for their patience, support and understanding over the years."
   The next two Hall of Fame inductees were enrolled in the athlete category. Jennifer Andrews excelled in a number of sports, including basketball, swimming, hockey, softball and volleyball and was a three time Athlete of the Year during her school days.
   But induction ceremony emcee Trevor Murphy said her real passion was soccer, a sport in which she had great success from an early age. “She was a key player with Mount Pearl’s provincial championship teams every year from the Under 12 division in 1987 right up to senior ladies,” he noted. “During her time as a minor player, she represented the province at 10 national championships and the 1993 Canada Games.”
   Andrews also played five years with the Acadian University varsity team where she was a First Team All Canadian and in 1995 was named Mount Pearl’s Female Athlete of the Year.
   In accepting her induction, Andrews congratulated the other people getting the same honour. She also thanked her parents. “Without them I would definitely not be here today being inducted,” she said, citing their love and support, and unselfishness when it came to driving her to practices and games and meeting the costs of participating in sports.
   Andrews also thanked the many others who support amateur sport in Mount Pearl and called attention to the special relationships that grow from it. “My best friends have come from playing sports in this community,” Andrews said.
   Fellow athlete inductee Wince Taylor also cited the wonderful friendships and experiences that come from participating in sports.
   Though he was regarded as a talented ball hockey and baseball player, and even a ‘Top Scorer’ one year in basketball, Taylor is best known for his prowess guarding the net in ice hockey. 
   During his minor hockey days, Taylor was named Top Goaltender and MVP in Pee Wee, bantam and midget and again in junior play. He played with a Select Team which hosted a touring Russian midget squad, served as a pick up net-minder for the Brother Rice Celtics in their hunt for the Atlantic Junior B championship in 1982, played a year later on the Canada Games team and later served between the pipes for the Herder Trophy winning Stephenville Jets, one of five senior hockey teams that tapped him for duty. Taylor was also named top goalie four of the six years he played in provincial ball hockey tournaments, while also earning medals and all star selections in several national ball hockey championships.
   Taylor said he was honoured to be on the same induction list as LeGrow, Randell and Andrews.
   “All I wanted to do was play sports, from a very early age,” he said. “My parents encouraged me every step of the way… Sport has played a major role in my life from a very early age.”
   Taylor noted that athletes often lose far more contests than they win, but sport has given him much to be thankful for. “Sport has helped me pay for my education,” he said. “Sport has provided me the opportunity to meet people and creat sustaining friendships for many years… Sport has provided me the opportunity to travel this province and this country and beyond. And sport has provided me the opportunity to learn how to conduct myself in victory, but more importantly, in picking myself up in defeat.”
   Taylor said there are far too many people to name to thank them all individually. But he singled out his mom, who kept a full time job and raised three children, and his wife Cindy and their children, for their special support.
   “I feel like I am returning full circle and again joining a team,” Taylor said, referring to the honour of being inducted with his fellow nominees. “Looking at the names in the Hall of Fame, I know many of them and witnessed their achievements. I also had the privilege of competing against them and being their teammates over the years. I look forward to being teammates once again.”

Posted on February 10, 2016 .