Each August, the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame celebrates our county’s athletes, as hundreds gather to induct the latest honourees and reminisce on the past year and years past. It’s an annual tradition that, in 2019, was marked August 21 in Williamstown, where five new inductees – Tina Cairncross, the late Hugh Michael MacDonald, the late Campbell ‘Geeses’ MacGillivray, Cathy MacLean, and Kent MacDonell – were formerly recognized.
This was the 41st annual celebration. Over my time as sports editor at The Glengarry News, I attended a number of these evenings and admired the support from the community, both for the inductees and the dozen or so senior graduating high school athletes who are also recognized. (Please see this post for more information about this year’s crop of
Each of the inductees is immortalized in a painted portrait that is hung in the hall of fame building in Maxville. If you haven’t visited the facility, it’s certainly something you should see, to take in the exhibits of portraits and artifacts. The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame’s stated mission is
- Recognizing the contribution of sports to the lives of the people of Glengarry
- Celebrating individual and team achievements and traditions in sport
- Preserving the achievements of yesterday and today, for tomorrow
As part of the celebration, the hall of fame assembles biographies of the inductees, edited versions of which are copied below. Congratulations to inducted athletes and their families!
Tina Cairncross is a retired educator and a woman greatly involved in her community. Tina grew up in Ottawa and attended Carleton University where she co-captained the Carleton Ravens varsity volleyball team. She chaired the university women’s athletic board and experienced first-hand how strong collaboration and visionary goals could produce positive opportunities for women in sport. In 1970, she enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan and joined the varsity volleyball team and went on to compete with them in Women’s Open National Volleyball Championship representing the province of Saskatchewan.
In 1971, Tina was hired by the former Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Board of Education to teach physical and health education and English at Glengarry District High School. Here began a rewarding career where her years of dedication, innovation and commitment as a physical education teacher and coach would inspire her students to lead active lifestyles well beyond the gym and the classroom. During this time, Cairncross coached track and field, cross-country and volleyball. Volleyball was her passion, and she coached the senior girls teams for 30 years. Tina was not only a highly-skilled coach, but equally as important was her natural ability to teach her students the important life lessons of learning to win, learning from loss, respect for the authority of the official, and respect for one’s opponent.
When Cairncross assumed phys. ed. department head responsibilities, she looked for new course selection initiatives that would encourage more students to remain active after graduation and foster a lifelong desire to remain physically active. Thus in 1989, two new courses were developed and pioneered by Tina and added to the GDHS curriculum, namely, live fit and outdoor education. Live fit was purposefully designed to accommodate students who were interested in personal wellness and fitness rather than team sports. Students who enrolled in the outdoor education class experienced numerous day and overnight camping trips in and away from the community. Cairncross was involved in developing and writing curriculum as a member of the SD&G subject council, and in the early 80s volunteered at the provincial level with the Heart and Stroke organization when it began its popular Jump Rope for Heart program in the schools. Tina retired from teaching in 2001.
Her love for the outdoors led her to participate in the Raisin River canoe races during the years from 1980 to 1996. She completed the race six times with students, finishing second in the mixed division once, and second in the women’s division twice.
Tina’s desire to help individuals keep physically active did not stop in retirement. Over the years she has remained very active. She encourages many others to join her golfing, hiking, snowshoeing, and playing pickle ball. Her leadership skills to organize and motivate people of retirement age to join any of the countless activities in her community is remarkable. Tina is currently a board member with the Friends of Summerstown Trails organization. She has served as a past director with the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame.
The late Hugh Michael MacDonald
Living with a physical disability did not limit the late Hugh Michael MacDonald from achieving great sporting accomplishments. Those who may remember him from the community refer to him as Hughie; however, when he moved to Kingston in the early 1970s he preferred using the name Michael. His sport results list him by his preferred name.
Michael was born in Hawkesbury and was adopted as a toddler by the late Rita (née Sayant) and Donald MacDonald from the 7th Concession Glen Nevis. He attended St Margaret’s Separate School in Glen Nevis, and schoolmates remember him being active playing baseball, hockey on the outdoor school rink and as the boy who would defend the little kids on the rough and tumble school yard. At an early age, Michael developed severe seizures and required frequent medical attention. Later in life he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. MacDonald moved to Kingston in the early 70s and became a resident of the Tercentennial Lodge on King Street, an assisted living centre. It was here where he had the opportunity to rekindle his interest and desire to become active in sports.
Between the years of 1978 to 1986, Michael trained to compete in the Eastern Ontario Games for the Disabled. For over a decade, he recorded top placings in weightlifting, shot put, club throw, javelin, archery and 60 and 100 metre races. Michael also played community basketball and received an award as the most improved player as a member of the High Gate Park Laser wheelchair basketball team (Kingston).
In 1986, he participated in the Ontario Cerebral Palsy Games in Windsor and finished second in weightlifting, 100 metres and third in shot put. In 1988, he attended the Provincial Championships for the Physically Disabled in Toronto and captured a third in the javelin event. Michael’s top finishes in these most competitive sporting events give testament to his perseverance, determination and strong athletic abilities. Combine these qualities with his involvement in community programs, and unwavering support from family and dedicated support workers, Michael thrived as a fierce competitor and decorated athlete.
The late Campbell ‘Geeses’ MacGillivray
“It was an unanimous opinion of the Lions Club Sport committee that no young hockey player of any era in Glengarry showed more potential than the late Campbell MacGillivray, son of Mr. and Mrs. H.J. MacGillivray of Kirk Hill.” (Sports in the Glens columnist Angus H. McDonell for The Glengarry News)
The late pilot officer Campbell ‘Geeses’ MacGillivray was born on June 17, 1921, and it was during his Alexandria High School years that Campbell’s reputation as an exceptional all-round athlete in skill and in sportsmanship emerged. Amongst friends in the Glengarry community, Campbell was affectionately known by the nickname ‘Geeses’.
He earned the distinct honour of winning the Alexandria High School Senior Men’s Track and Field trophy for four consecutive years, beginning in Grade 9 in 1937, through to Grade 12 in 1941. A similar feat has never since been repeated.
Geeses was a member for the Alexandria High School hockey team, and in the spring of 1941, he led the team to an undefeated league season. MacGillivray served as team captain and was top scorer, netting 25 goals in eight league games. In the final match for the league championship, Geeses scored five of the team’s six goals, and the team went on to win the Powers Trophy as league champions of the Prescott and Glengarry Intercollegiate Hockey League.
In 1939 while still a student at AHS, Geeses was recruited to play with the Cardinals, Alexandria’s entry in the Glengarry Junior Hockey League, and with the Alexandria Red Blacks in the Cornwall O.C.O.T Juvenile League. Many years later Geeses’ parents were approached by former school and teammates to name a trophy in honour of their friend that would recognize the best hockey player in Glengarry. In 1968 Geeses’ parents donated the J. Campbell MacGillivray Memorial Trophy in their son’s memory to the Alexandria Lions Club for presentation at its annual Sportsman’s Dinner.
Geeses was previously inducted into the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 as a member of the Pine Grove Football (soccer) team during the years 1938 to 1941. As a prolific striker, he contributed invaluably to this Pine Grove team which claimed four GSL titles, three GSL championships, and two Ottawa Valley Championships, all with an incredible 36-game undefeated streak. Geeses received the GSL top scorer award in the 1941 season.
When not on the soccer field or the ice rink, MacGillivray was recruited to play with the Alexandria lacrosse team and found time to play baseball as pitcher for the Kirk Hill church team.
Geeses’ sports accomplishments end here and what could have become of his future as an elite amateur or professional athlete can only be imagined. Following high school, MacGillivray enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July of 1942 and was deployed to England in the spring of 1943. He was the pilot of a Lancaster bomber and flew eight missions before his plane was shot down on January 21, 1944. The gravesite of pilot officer Campbell (Geeses) MacGillivray is located in the Berlin Commonwealth Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Germany.
Cathy MacLean has achieved elite running results both within and outside Glengarry.
It wasn’t until she was in her late 40s and after her family had grown up and left home that Cathy began to run consistently and participate in local long-distance road races. She completed her first marathon a month short of her 50th birthday. MacLean is responsible for her own training program, her diet, her mental preparation, and the important and costly logistics involved when she travels outside the community to compete. Training for the top marathon events requires incredible self-discipline, perseverance, and determination.
Beginning in 2002, Cathy completed her first Ottawa Race Weekend marathon, recording a finish time of 4 hours, 3 minutes, and 21 seconds. Again in Ottawa at the 2007 marathon, she ran and achieved her personal best time ever of 3:48:02 in the 50 to 54 age category. Cathy has raced and finished the Ottawa marathon 10 times. In three of these marathons, she finished first in her 60 to 64 age grouping. Later years saw her place second three times in the 65 to 69 age grouping.
MacLean ran in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2005, and her result served as a qualifying time to run Boston in 2006. Since, she has completed the Boston Marathon 10 times and has qualified once again to compete in April 2020. Cathy was only 500 metres from the finish in 2013 when race officials halted the runners due to the bombings at the finish line. Cathy qualified and ran in the New York City Marathon in November of 2018. On this day Cathy, finished 28th of 172 runners in her age group, and was second amongst the Canadian runners.
Woven throughout the 20-plus marathon races, MacLean has completed over 20 half marathons and too many to count 5 and 10 km races. Since 2011, she has been a regular participant at the Canada Army Run event held in Ottawa each September.
As an aside from her running accomplishments, for the past five years Cathy has participated in the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame Polar Bear Dip fundraiser event.
There are many great hockey players native to Glengarry, but those whose talents have earned them a spot on a NHL, AHL, OHL, Canadian junior, and European elite team rosters are deserving of special recognition. Such is the hockey journey of Williamstown’s Kent MacDonell.
Kent is another Williamstown resident who grew up on the banks of the Raisin River and learned to skate on it in the winter and fish on it in the summer. Kent played with the Char-Lan Minor Hockey Association from novice through to minor bantam and was fortunate to be coached by his father, Bruce. He credits much of his early success to the many good local hockey players he played alongside.
MacDonell joined the Char-Lan junior ‘B’ Rebels at just 15 years of age, playing the 1993-94 season. The following year the Cornwall Colts picked him up to play in their 1995-96 season. That season Kent, playing the right-wing position, collected 33 points in 35 games. The Colts advanced to the Fred Page Cup final, losing in the final game to Dartmouth.
At just 17 years of age, Kent entered the major junior A draft and went in the second round to Guelph Storm, in 1996. In his second year playing with the Storm, the team advanced to the Memorial Cup, only to lose in the final game to Portland in overtime. Kent experienced great success while playing in Guelph. He captained the team in 1999. That same year he was named the team MVP and selected to the OHL first team all-star roster. Including playoffs, MacDonell played 287 games and accumulated 227 points, which speaks to his stellar contribution while in the OHL.
A definite highlight of Kent’s hockey career was his selection to represent Canada at the World U20 Juniors in 1999, a tournament held in Winnipeg. He finished the event with a plus-2 rating, notching a goal and an assist in seven games. The team advanced to the final before losing in a heartbreaking loss to Russia in overtime.
Kent was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997 and returned to the draft again in 1999, this time drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. He signed his first professional contract in 2000. He made short stops playing in the East Coast League, before he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacDonell played with their affiliate in the American Hockey League in Syracuse. He was called up to play with the Columbus Blue Jackets and tallied 3 points in 32 games.
The 2004-05 season saw the infamous NHL lockout, and Kent made the decision to play professionally in Europe. Here began an illustrious 10-year journey playing on division one teams in Norway, Germany, and Finland, but the majority of these hockey years were spent playing in the Swedish League.
Kent retired from professional hockey in 2017, and he returned from Europe to establish his home in Caledon Hills with his wife Julie and daughter Logan. Along with other business interests, MacDonell presently runs Prospect Hockey, a hockey school where he focuses on developing the aspects of the game that served him well during his years of play, specifically the importance of strong communication, team effort, and individual work ethic.