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May 1, 2019

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

With the exception of men's hockey, all sports which have capped more than half of their seasons with a CCAA Championship since 1975 have at least one inductee in the CCAA Hall of Fame's athlete category. A number of hockey players merit serious consideration.

Four CCAA National Hockey Championship participants were members of three national champions. Three were honoured with individual awards after winning their third championship including a pair from Mount Royal College.  Forward Rob Smashnuk and goaltender Jason Fricker were also named to the CCAA Tournament All Star Team in 2001. NAIT forward Scott Melnyk was also selected as CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player in 1989.

Eleven players were selected as a CCAA All Canadian more than once and one player was chosen as a CCAA Academic All Canadian more than once. Of the 12, NAIT defenceman Blaine Peerless was the only two-time national champion.

Fourteen players were honoured with tournament awards at more than one CCAA championship. Of the 14, Derek Descoteau, Greg Geldart, Rob McKinley, Ron Pierce, Serge Roy and Bill Wilkins won a pair of national titles. Of the six, Geldart, McKinley, Pierce, Roy and Wilkins were honoured as a CCAA Tournament All Star at one championship and CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player at another.

The rationale for the snubbing can be attributed in part to rules and regulations. The scales are tilted against athletes who played for post secondary institutions that are no longer members of the CCAA. 

Athletes who won multiple championships and received multiple CCAA individual awards for Mount Royal College (such as Descoteau, Fricker, and Smashnuk) and the Les Lauréats du Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe (such as Roy) played for post secondary institutions that are no longer members of the CCAA. Hall of fame nominations can only be brought forth by current member institutions. 

There is also a misconception by CCAA selection committees that if a conference hall of fame exists, induction at the conference level is a prerequisite for entry at the national level. Of the 26 inductees from the OCAA & ACAC in the CCAA Hall of Fame, 25 are members in their respective conference hall of fame. The primary purpose of the OCAA Hall of Fame and the ACAC Hall of Fame is to acknowledge achievements at the conference level first. In contrast, the CCAA Hall of Fame recognizes accomplishments at the national level first.

A number of athletes took their game to the next level at nationals and have more impressive qualifications for the CCAA Hall of Fame than for a conference hall of fame.  A one-time OCAA first team all conference selection, Cambrian College goaltender Chad Ford, was honoured with CCAA tournament awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998. When Cambrian won a national title in 1997, Ford was CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Athletes who represented more than one post secondary institution are a rarity in conference halls of the fame and the the CCAA Hall of Fame. None of the 17 athletes in the ACAC Hall of Fame represented two post secondary institutions. Of the 305 athletes in the OCAA Hall of Fame, only 13 represented two post secondary institutions and only one is in the CCAA Hall of Fame.

A three-time OCAA first team all conference selection and a three-time CCAA All Canadian who donned the jerseys of two post secondary institutions has yet to be recognized in either the OCAA Hall of Fame or the CCAA Hall of Fame. Defenceman Gerard Peltier split his four seasons in the OCAA with Canadore College and Humber College. He was also a CCAA Tournament All Star in 1983.

Other athletes have ample qualifications for both halls, but are on the outside looking in as they made their debut in the CCAA's first decade which has not received favor with selection committees. NAIT netminder Cleo Rowein was hockey's first three-time ACAC first team all conference selection and hockey's first three-time CCAA All Canadian. He was also a CCAA Tournament All Star in 1984 and a CCAA Tournament MVP in 1985.

For the class of 2019, there are hockey players from the ACAC who have won more championships or received more individual awards than some of the athletes from the conference who received the call.


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