Athletes, volunteers and community leaders recently gathered inside the clubhouse at the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex to honour Bay Roberts’ best in the world of sports.
Following last year’s reintroduction of the town’s athletic awards, the municipality stayed true to its commitment of making the ceremony an annual event. On Thursday, June 13, seven awards were presented and six individuals and teams were inducted into the town’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Team of the Year: Bay Arena Midget A Rovers
The Bay Arena Midget A Rovers had a lot of success on the ice, capped off by a provincial banner in the midget B division. In addition to getting results at the rinks, players helped around the community. They filled loot pages for the Santa Claus parade in Bay Roberts, held a food drive for the local food bank, laid a wreath for Remembrance Day and mentored younger hockey players.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Madison Walsh
Walsh is a talented young bowler and softball player. She placed fourth in the under-15 division for the most recent provincial bowling championships and played for the local under-14 and under-16 softball teams, earning a silver medal with the latter team. She also joined the Outer Cove team competing at the Eastern Canadian Under-14 Softball Championships in 2018, where she was named an all-star pitcher for the tournament. She is among a group of players under consideration for the 2021 Canada Games team.
Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Riley Mercer
A multi-sport athlete in swimming, volleyball, softball and hockey, it was in the latter sport where Mercer achieved the most success. The young goalie helped the Tri Pen AAA Bantam Ice to a provincial bronze medal and was named goalie of the year (he also was the league leader in goals against average). Mercer suited up for Team NL at under-15 Atlantics, helped his team to a bronze there, as he did with Team NL for ball hockey nationals.
Senior Male Athlete of the Year: Dawson Mercer
Mercer’s excelled in his sophomore season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, collecting 64 points in 68 games before adding 16 points in 16 playoff games. He was named the team’s top impact player for the season. In ball hockey, he represented Canada at the under-18 worlds and helped the team win a gold medal. Upon returning home from Quebec, he also helped Ascension Collegiate earn a provincial ball hockey championship.
Senior Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Dawson
A cheerleader, soccer player, dancer, figure skater, and swimmer, Dawson consistently keeps busy with athletics. Her cheerleading team placed second at provincials and went on to complete at worlds in Florida. As a member of the Sea Lions Swim Club, Dawson earn medals of all colours at a provincial meet in Gander. In figure skating, she placed fourth at provincials and earned a silver medal at Atlantics.
Sports Builders Award (Kevin and Langdon Critch Memorial Award): Bill Drover
A coach at many levels of sport for decades, Drover may be best remembered locally for his work with student athletes at Ascension Collegiate, where he coached gymnastics, wrestling, cross-country, basketball and volleyball. He helped the school win multiple provincial titles in volleyball and was also a former president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association.
Sport Volunteer of the Year: Charlotte Parsons
Depending on the time of year, you can expect to find Parsons at either the local ice rink or the swimming pool. She’s served on the board of directors for the CBN Skating Club for the past 10 years in a variety of roles and is also a volunteer official for competitions across the province. She’s also an official at swim meets, most recently obtaining level three certification. Parsons has been an office manager for the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Swimming Championships and helps set up timing system for meets.
Hall of Fame inductees:
• Patricia Clarke: Clarke was recognized for her decades-long involvement in figure skating at multiple levels. Beyond her work as a volunteer with the CBN Skating Club (where she’s held multiple executive positions), Clarke served the sport provincially with Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador. She is a former recipient of a Skate Canada Volunteer Award of Excellence.
• Marilyn Dawe: Dawe (sister of fellow inductee Patricia Clarke) was also honoured for her many years of dedicated service to the CBN Figure Skating Club. She’s held multiple executive roles with the club and still helps with awards and scripts for ice shows. Dawe received a section volunteer award in 2017.
• Wes Earle: Earle is synonymous locally for promoting the martial art of tae kwon do. He is the proprietor of Earle’s Tae Kwon Do in Shearstown and has trained countless youth in the Conception Bay North area. As an athlete, Earle has competed nationally and internationally and now has a grand master eighth-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
• 1935 Bay Roberts Rovers Men’s Hockey Team: The Rovers came close to earning a shot to compete for the inaugural Herder Memorial Trophy Championship in 1935, ultimately losing to the St. John’s Guards in a two-game total goals series 10-8. The Rovers that year were champions of the five-team Conception Bay Hockey League.
• Ward Gosse: An all-time great in provincial softball, Gosse is the record holder in the St. John’s Senior League for home runs and runs batted in. Beyond hitting, Gosse was also an all-star pitched. He has also competed nationally and internationally. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Softball Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame.
• Peter Marshall: Another Social Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame member, Marshall had a strong playing career in the 1980s and 1990s. Among other career highlights, he helped the Conception Bay North All-Stars win the provincial Senior “B” male championship in 1991.