Hall of Fame
Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame
Rugby Ontario is pleased to announce that the annual Hall of Fame & Awards Ceremony will be held on the evening of Saturday, November 25th, 2023. The Ceremony, as in 2022, will be held in conjunction with the Rugby Ontario Awards recognition event. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.
2023 Hall of Fame Class
Mike Fisher - Coach
Mike Fisher, or as his players call him, “Fish”, began playing the game of rugby at the age of 16 in 1963, at the Furness Rugby Union Football Club in Barrow-in-Furness, England. Mike was a shipbuilder by trade, and he immigrated to Ottawa in 1973 as a Naval Engineer, when contracted by the Canadian Navy to refit three submarines. Fish began his illustrious career coaching the Bytown Blues RFC, having been invited out by a fellow mariner. Fish was on a 1977 Bytown Blues international tour to New Zealand and continued as Head Coach of the club for the next 16 years, a period in which the Blues developed measurably to become one of the top clubs in Ontario. Fisher played an instrumental role in shaping the sport of rugby and its character in Eastern Ontario (EORU) during and after his tenure as a coach. He was effectively involved in the leadership and coaching of numerous EORU Junior and Senior teams during the 1980s and 90s with notable success within Ontario Interbranch and national competitions. Fish led the EORU on a run of provincial Interbranch Championships in 1987, 1988 and 1989, won the National Championship in 1989 as Head Coach and even defeated one of UK’s top club teams in Bath RFC in 1993. Fish earned the honour of leading the Ontario provincial Under 23 Men’s side in 1995-1996 and contributed to coaching numerous other representative and touring sides. His contributions to rugby spanning many decades have been celebrated through numerous forms of recognition, including as a recipient of the Bytown Blues’ “Clubman” Award in 1975 and 1980, EORU Junior Rugby Service Award in 1984 and the Twin Elm Rugby Park “Wall of Fame” in 1995. While regarded for his skills as a rugby coach, Fish is best known for his calm and resolute character, especially his ability to understand people and how to get the best out of them.
Chris Groombridge - Builder
Chris Groombridge is a name synonymous with the Sarnia Saints Rugby Football Club, and the greater Southwest Rugby Union. Chris has been a captain, coach, secretary, treasurer and president of the Sarnia Saints and executive member of the Southwest Ontario Rugby Football club at various points since the late 1970s. His involvement in the sport of rugby, from his playing career through to his transition into a dedicated builder of the game and its culture, has exemplified the Core Values of Rugby. Chris has supported numerous local teams at the club, region and school levels. Through his own initiative, he has developed several funding models and organized sponsorships to keep players supported through registration, reducing travel costs and paying for equipment over the past 45 years. His entrepreneurial nature has been behind the development of numerous events, programs and initiatives within the Sarnia club and throughout the region. Chris developed an annual fundraising event run by the club that supports local charities, raising over $70,000.00 for the Canadian Veterans Association, local Fire Services, MS Foundation, Canadian Mental Health, Breast Cancer Society and the Ontario Brain Tumor Foundation. In his ongoing roles with the Southwest Ontario Rugby Union, Chris has worked tirelessly to build capacity for the game by organizing coaching and refereeing clinics as well as creating welcoming and inclusive experiences for youth and adults in the game. Holding effectively every position one can within a community rugby club, Chris has been recognized as “Mr. Rugby” in Sarnia, being widely regarded for his presence within the community and his constant presence to welcome incoming clubs, referees, visitors and family members to the Saints’ club. His passion for creating positive impressions of the beneficial cultural experience that the sport of rugby uniquely offers is a testament to his dedication and commitment as a builder.
Pat Hodgins - Builder
Pat Hodgins arrived in Ontario from Ireland in the early 1970s, joining the Irish Canadian Rugby Club as a player. While actively playing he also took a great deal of interest in the club's growth and administration throughout the years fulfilling successfully most major roles on the Irish Canadian Rugby Club executive, including being elected club captain. Pat held the role of club secretary in 1975 and progressed to become the ICRC club president in 1980, a position he would hold eight times, including after the merger of the ICRC and Markham Rugby Club which established the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club (1980 / 2008-2010 and 2014-2016). His heavy involvement in the 2010 merger of the ICRC and the Markham Rugby Club continued with leadership and participation in the senior administration of the new club. Pat was recognized on numerous occasions as the club’s “Most Valuable Member”, first in 1979 and again years later in 2009 and 2017 for his significant contributions to the clubs. The success of the ICRC and its successor, MICRC, is reflected in 16 Carling / McCormick Cup wins, 14 won by ICRC and 2 by MICRC, with more than half occurring during his tenure on the club's executive. Beyond his club roles, Pat served as director of Fletcher’s Fields Limited (FFL) on multiple occasions playing an important role in the clubhouse renovation and stadium field expansion that allowed FFL to host international fixtures in the 90s. He was also instrumental in the successful application to support the 2015 Pan Am Games and the field improvements made at that time creating a lasting legacy for the sport in Ontario. For his effective and dedicated volunteer work, his devotion to the game and for unselfishly taking on any task, Pat Hodgins is regarded as the consummate rugby volunteer.
Jay Johnston - Builder
Jay Johnston’s contribution to rugby in Canada and Ontario spans over a number of decades and has been vital in many ways, particularly in the governance and financial stewardship of the game. As a participant, Jay was a longstanding member of the Ottawa Ospreys (formerly Indians) Rugby Club from 1974-1995, and later joined the Ottawa Senators Rugby Club from 1995-2002. Jay has taken on crucial leadership roles at almost every level of rugby in Ontario and Canada. He became an active member of the Eastern Ontario Rugby Referees Society (1991-1996), a member of the Board of Twin Elm Rugby Park (1996-2001) and Director on the Rugby Canada Board of Directors (2001-2021). Over his 20-year tenure as Treasurer and Treasurer Emeritus for Rugby Canada, Jay helped grow the organization’s financial position ten-fold, which directly supported investment into the game in Ontario. Notably, Jay’s contributions included playing an active role in the staging of many international events matches in Ontario, including the first-ever test matches at professional stadiums BMO Field (Toronto) and Tim Horton’s Field (Hamilton); securing and executing the Canada Sevens tournament on the World Sevens Series; removing the “pay to play” model for the Canadian Women’s XV team; raising capital and securing funding to build and operate the Al Charron National Training Centre; reestablishing the Pacific Pride program; and, working tirelessly to reduce any financial burden facing Rugby Canada. Furthermore, Jay has made significant personal financial contributions that have helped build stronger infrastructure to guide future success for the sport in Ontario and Canada. His financial acumen, business management skills, clear-headedness, integrity and unwavering determination among other things has seen rugby prosper and grow in the province and across Canada.
Fran Mason - Builder
Fran Mason has consistently been labelled one of the hardest working people in provincial and national rugby. Fran has played an active role in Ontario rugby supporting countless players, coaches, teams and rugby clubs since the early 2000s. Having never played the game herself, her foray into the sport was first as a volunteer with the Ontario Rugby Union. It was her commitment and work ethic that landed her the opportunity to work for the Union starting in 2004 under the leadership of fellow Hall of Fame Inductee, Allen Piggott. Fran’s role was primarily focused on the administration of the sport, specifically leading the registration process with all member clubs – a function that eventually evolved from paper forms to the use of technology and online platforms, which Fran led on behalf of the largest provincial rugby union in the country. She became a Team Manager for numerous Ontario provincial teams, earning the respect of coaches, players and parents throughout the province and across Canada. Fran was heavily involved in the planning and delivery of highly successful Rugby Canada National Championship Festivals in Hamilton and Nepean, Ontario. Her efforts as a diligent event and program manager were noticed by Rugby Canada and she landed opportunities to manage national age grade teams, including the National Under 17 Boys’ team that competed multiple times at the prestigious Millfield Rugby Festival in the UK. Fran was instrumental over the years in supporting Ontario and Canada players and coaches at all levels, was always “there for everybody”, and worked hard to put Ontario in the best light possible wherever rugby took her through to her retirement from Rugby Ontario in 2015. She was the recipient of the first-ever Aurora Barbarians RFC “Honorary Barb” distinction and is known for being an “MVP” caliber member of every rugby program she has supported.
Yeomen RFC ('93 - '02) - Team
The Yeomen RFC Men’s 1st XV team of 1993-2002 is the sole Team inductee in the Hall of Fame Class of 2023. The Yeomen, a club originally established in 1972 as the “York Yeomen” by a group of former graduates from York University, established itself as a prominent team in the Ontario Rugby Union men’s league. In 1992, the club relocated its home venue, becoming Yeomen RFC and experienced a run of success in the decade that followed, including the well-known “Triple Double” championships of 1993-1995 – a feat that has never been achieved by any other side. Between the years of 1993 and 2002 the Yeomen 1st XV were the Ontario League Champions in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998, and were crowned McCormick Cup Champions in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2001 (Finalists in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002). During the Triple Double years, the team’s win/loss record was an impressive 50 wins and only 6 losses (two per season). Through this span of years, the club developed many players that would go on to represent the region, Ontario and Canada, with some even playing professionally overseas. Many earned national team caps and competed in international competitions, including numerous Rugby World Cups and the Six Nations. Members of the team supported the development of rugby at the high school level by coaching high school teams in the province, guest coaching appearances and clinics. The very prestigious high school tournament, The Red Hot Invitational Tournament, was founded by members of the Yeomen. Considered a team never to be taken lightly, the Yeomen 1st XV team’s achievements during this run of years reflects a combination of uncompromising commitment and exceptional skill.
At this stage, the Hall of Fame & Awards Committee (chaired by Domenic Scuglia) is seeking nominations for the Hall of Fame.
Who Can Nominate?
Nominations may originate from a member of a club, association, or Rugby Ontario’s Board of Directors, that are in good standing with Rugby Ontario.
What are the classes for nomination?
There are 5 classes of Hall of Fame Inductees: Players, Teams, Coaches, Officials and Builders.
Where do I submit a nomination?
Please complete and submit nominations via the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Nomination Forms - Builders & Players/Coaches/Officials/Teams. Please note that nominators may supplement their nomination with documentary evidence (e.g. articles, links to materials, newspaper clippings). All supporting material must be sent in one (1) email as attachments or as links in the body of the email, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the Hall of Fame Guidelines for more information.
When is the deadline for nominations?
The deadline for nominations is Thursday, August 17th, 2023
How is a nomination assessed?
All nominations received are assessed against the Hall of Fame Evaluation Rubric. This rubric contains five criteria (see table below) which are each scored on a 1 to 6 basis, providing for a possible maximum of 30 points. Each Hall of Fame Committee member votes on each nomination. A nominee requires a minimum of 20 points on 2/3 of the ballots submitted to be inducted, with a maximum of six candidates (plus ties) to be inducted in any one year.
To assist the Committee to give full and proper consideration to all nominations received, only nominations submitted on the official nomination form providing information on each of the evaluation criteria, will be accepted.
Length of service to rugby
National, Provincial, Regional Representation
Awards or Recognitions
Leadership within rugby and the community
Community Involvement, development of the sport in the community
Widely recognized contributions
Winning championships/officiating championships, win loss records
Awards or Recognitions
If there are any questions with regards to the Hall of Fame selection process please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com
HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2022
Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Class of 2022 - From left to right: Mike Pletch, Tony Godziek, Steve Scott, Aaron Carpenter, Lee Powell, Dan Pletch
Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Inductees (ALL TIME):
|Yeomen RFC Men's 1XV 1993-2003||2023|
|Fran Mason||Aurora Barbarians||2023|
|Jay Johnston||Ottawa Ospreys||2023|
|Pat Hodgins||Markham Irish Rugby Club||2023|
|Chris Groombridge||Sarnia Saints||2023|
|Mike Fisher||Bytown Blues||2023|
|Scott, Steve||Crusaders Rugby Club||2022|
|Powell, Lee||Ottawa Irish & Barrhaven Scottish||2022|
|Pletch, Dan & Mike||London St. Georges||2022|
|Godziek, Tony||Burlington Centaurs & Crusaders RFC||2022|
|Carpenter, Aaron||Brantford Harlequins||2022|
|Toronto Scottish Women 1996-2005||Toronto Scottish||2019|
|Steen, Glen||Brantford Harlequins||2019|
|Pither, Ron||Oshawa Vikings||2019|
|O'Mahony, William||Sarnia Saints||2019|
|Myers, Paul||Balmy Beach||2019|
|Boos, Bob & Ferras, Mick||Brantford Harlequins||2019|
|McAuley, Colette||University of Guelph Gryphons||2018|
|Hodgson, Wayne||Niagara Wasps||2018|
|Gallo, Maria||University of Guelph Gryphons||2018|
|Gadjovich, George||Ontario & Toronto Rugby Referees Societies||2018|
|Carr, Norman||Ottawa Irish||2018|
|Billingsley, John||Ottawa Irish||2018|
|Barrow, Bob||Brock RFC|
|Di Nardo, Barb||Toronto Saracens|
|Gray, Steve||Ottawa Beavers / Ottawa Irish|
|Higgins, Pearse||Ontario & Toronto Rugby Referees Societies|
|Nichols, Kyle||Balmy Beach RFC|
|Stuart, Bill||Niagara Rugby Union / Hamilton Hornets / Grimsby Gentlemen|
|Balmy Beach 1st XV, 1980-81|
|Courser, Ken||Brantford Harlequins|
|Gage, Bruce||Balmy Beach RFC|
|Gage, Tubs & Gee||Balmy Beach RFC|
|McGann, Julie||Brampton Beavers|
|Moody, Cec||Toronto Scottish|
|Harris, David||Markham Irish Canadian RFC|
|Lipsett, Bob “Red”||Balmy Beach RFC|
|Lougheed, Dave||Balmy Beach RFC|
|McGann, Tony||Balmy Beach RFC|
|Markham Irish 1st XV 1962-73|
|Ottawa Irish 1st XV, 1986-92|
|McMillan, Ian||Toronto/Aurora Barbarians RFC|
|Svoboda, Karl||Ajax Wanderers RUFC|
|White, Phil||McMaster University|
|Williams, Mike||Toronto Scottish|
|Burnett, David||Burlington Centaurs RFC|
|Jones, Trevor||Markham Irish RFC|
|Piggott, Allen||Ontario & Toronto Rugby Referees Societies|
|Reich, John||Aurora Barbarians RFC|
|Blackwell, Simon||Ottawa Irish & Eastern Ontario Rugby Union|
|Chatland, Brian||Toronto & District Referee Society|
|Greig, Iain||Toronto Scottish Rugby Club|
|Jones, Ken||Brampton Rugby Club|
|McGeein, Bob||Brantford Harlequins Rugby Club/Rugby Ontario|
|Tarver, Glenn||Balmy Beach Rugby Club/Rugby Ontario|
|Ambrose, Paul||Balmy Beach Rugby Club|
|Illman, Bob||Southwest Rugby|
|Jones, Kevin||Toronto Saracens RFC|
|Wesch, Natascha||Rugby Ontario/University of Western Ontario|
|Wilson, Paul||Peterborough Pagans Rugby Club|
|Charron, Al||Ottawa Irish Rugby Club|
|Kaira (Nee Russell), Helen||Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club|
|Mitchell, Malcolm ‘Mac’||Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club|
|Moss, Ron||Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club|
|Postlethwaite, Tony||Bytown Blues Rugby Club|
|Ambrose, Heather||Balmy Beach Rugby Club|
|Benyon, Hedley||Brampton Rugby Club|
|McCann, Jim||Niagara Rugby Referees’ Society|
|Nicoll, Ian||Toronto Scottish Rugby Club|
|Curtis, Bill||Hamilton Hornets Rugby Club|
|Elder, Bob||Ottawa Irish Rugby Club|
|Heald, Monty||Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club|
|Young, Murray||London St. Georges Rugby Club|
|Guilfoyle, John||Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club|
|Minutillo, Gina||Toronto Saracens Rugby Club|
|Mitchell, Ed||Eastern Ontario Rugby Union|
|Swift, David||Niagara Rugby Referees’ Society|
|Fletcher, Denis||Toronto Nomads Rugby Club|
|Nancekivell, Larry||Yeomen Rugby Club|
|Platts, John||Ottawa Beavers Banshees Rugby Club|
|Smith, Ken||Irish Canadian Rugby Club|
|Young, Millar||Toronto Scottish Rugby Club|
|Browner, Eamonn||Irish Canadian Rugby Club|
|Hamilton, James Hugh||Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club / ORU President|
|Jones, Ron||Stoney Creek Camels Rugby Club|
|McCormick, Vic||Toronto Nomads Rugby Club|
|Russell, John||By-town Blues Rugby Club|
|Woodburn, Stan||Toronto Nomads Rugby Club|
|Carson, George||Toronto Irish Canadians Rugby Club|
|Earl, Anthony||Toronto Barbarians Rugby Club|
|Fowler, Arthur||Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club|
|Jones, Dai Rhys||Hamilton Hornets Rugby Club / Niagara Rugby Union|
|Krause, Chris||Oshawa Rugby Club|
|Pay, George||Referees and ORU President|
|Boswell, David||Toronto Welsh Rugby Club|
|Brown, John||York County Rugby Club|
|Donaldson, Norm||Toronto Scottish Rugby Club|
|Jones, George||Brantford Harlequins Rugby Club|
|Jones, Vince||Lindsay Rugby Club|
|Marshall, Bishop Guy||Ontario Rugby Union|
|Miller, Rev Fred||Toronto Nomads Rugby Club|
|Rowan, Hal||Toronto Scottish Rugby Club|
|Williams, Brian||Toronto Nomads Rugby Club|
About the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame:
Formed in 1999, the purpose of the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame is to honour and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of players, coaches, officials, and members of the provincial rugby community whose dedication and competitive achievements have brought lasting fame to the sport of rugby in Ontario.
To date, 91 individuals and four teams have been inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame.
For more information on the Hall of Fame, please contact:
CEO, Rugby Ontario