WATERLOO, Ont. (June 6, 2012) - Eight new members were inducted into the Golden Hawks Hall of Fame Friday night at the Senate and Board Chamber as a part of Wilfrid Laurier University's annual Homecoming celebrations.
Five athletes, two teams and one builder had their names etched into Golden Hawks history on a night that featured one of the largest induction classes in the Hall's history. This years class included football's Mike Choma, Art Lestins and Justin Phillips, along with women's basketball's Sarah Zagorski and women's hockey's Laurissa Kenworthy. Both the 1989-90 men's hockey and the 1968-69 men's basketball teams were honoured in the Teams category while John Webster was honoured in the Builders category.
Choma, the first individual inducted on Friday night, was an offensive lineman for the Golden Hawks from 1985 until 1989. After Laurier fell short in the Yates Cup final in his first year on the squad, Choma played an integral role in the success of the 1987 squad. As an Ontario University Athletics Association (OUAA) First Team All-Star and Laurier's Lineman of the Year, Choma helped lead the Hawks to a 6-1 record in the regular season before they captured their third Yates Cup in seven years. He would go on to earn OUAA First Team All-Star honours in his final two seasons at Laurier and following his university playing career, was drafted 23rd overall by the B.C. Lions.
Lestins, a former offensive lineman who enters the Hall of Fame posthumously, suited up for the Hawks from 1969 to 1972. In just his second season on the team, he was named a Central Canada Intercollegiate Football Conference (CCIFC) All-Star and then in 1971, he was honoured as OUAA All-Star along with earning Team Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours. However, it was Lestins' final season as a Hawk where he had his most success as he earned All-Star honours for the third time in his career while helping Laurier to its first Yates Cup title and second Atlantic Bowl championship.
Phillips was the third football-playing member of the 2012 class. Currently a member of the Calgary Stampeders, he played three seasons for Laurier as a defensive lineman, linebacker and free safety, winning the Yates Cup in 2004 and 2005 as well as capturing the Vanier Cup in 2005. In his rookie year in 2004, Phillips put up the best numbers of his career, recording 20 total tackles and five sacks en route to being named an OUA Second Team All-Star. In his final season in 2006, the Kitchener, Ont., native finished sixth in the country in sacks with 5.5 while recording 16.5 tackles en route to being named a CIS Second Team All-Canadian and an OUA First Team All-Star.
Zagorski became the second women's basketball player in as many years to enter the Hall of Fame after former teammate Meaghan McGrath was inducted in 2011. A guard for the Hawks from 2001-02 until 2004-05, she made an immediate impact with the Hawks in her first season, averaging 11.1 points, 4.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds. Following the season, she would be named the OUA West Rookie of the Year and an OUA First Team All-Star as well as team Rookie of the Year and MVP. She continue her stellar play throughout the rest of her career, earning First Team All-Star status in 2002-03 and 2003-04 and currently ranks eighth all-time for points and second all-time for assists at Laurier. Zagorski also excelled in the classroom, earning the Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award in 2003-04 and CIS Academic All-Canadian honours in 2004-05.
Kenworthy rounded out the 2012 induction class. A forward with the womens hockey team from 2003-04 to 2006-07, she won four OUA Championships in four years and was a member of Laurier's first CIS Championship team in 2004-05. A consistent offensive player, Kenworthy earned OUA Second Team All-Star honours in her rookie season after recording 19 points in 22 games. Over her next three seasons, she would be named an OUA First Team All-Star with her best statistical season coming in 2005-06 when she registered 24 points in 24 games. However, it was in the post-season where Kenworthy really stood out for the Hawks. A three-time CIS Championship Tournament All-Star, Kenworthy scored 26 points in 21 career playoff games, a pace of 1.2 points per game compared to her regular season average of 0.9 points per game. Today, Kenworthy, a two-time CIS Academic All-Canadian, still ranks in the top ten for points (88 eighth) and goals (44 fifth) all-time at Laurier.
The 1989-90 men's hockey team was the first of two teams to be inducted this year. Widely considered to be one of the best mens hockey teams ever assembled at Laurier, the Hawks, coached by Wayne Gowing, boasted a formidable lineup that possessed five OUA All-Stars and two CIS All-Canadians. Among that group were current head coach and Golden Hawks' all-time leading scorer GREG PUHALSKI
, Mike Maurice, Marc Lyons, Peter Choma and Rob Dopson.
That season, the Hawks opened up the year with seven-game winning streak and were rarely challenged throughout the course of the season, losing only three times, each time by a single goal. With a 19-3-0 record to their name, the Hawks easily defeated Guelph and Waterloo to reach the OUA Finals where they battled UQTR. Laurier would once again win the series in a sweep to claim their second straight OUA Championship. At the national championship, the Hawks once again defeated the Patriotes to reach the national final where they came up short to the Moncton Aigles Bleus, losing 2-1.
The 1968-69 men's basketball team, this year's second team to be inducted, has a very similar story to the 1989-90 men's hockey squad. A young team that had eight first year players along with four returning veterans from the previous seasons national championship winning team, the Hawks overcame a slow start to their season and qualified for the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association (OIAA) final. In the championship game, Laurier, led by the school's first-ever All-Canadian Sandy Nixon, as well as Chris Coulthard, Bob Bain and Mike Kirkpatrick, trailed by four points in the final minute to Osgoode but rallied to win the schools sixth consecutive OIAA banner 60-56.
At the national championship tournament, the Hawks won their semifinal match over Loyola 71-63 to advance to their second straight national championship game. However, in the final, Laurier would come up short to their Ontario rivals, the Windsor Lancers, losing 76-63.
Webster, the only builder inducted this year, began his involvement with the Athletic Department when he arrived at the University as a student in 1975. For four years, Webster served as team manager for football team and witnessed the Hawks win the Yates Cup in 1978. After his time at Laurier, Webster attended McGill University to study law, but his loyalty and interest in Athletics at Laurier only grew. One of school's most active alumni, he was a lead donor in many of Wilfrid Lauriers recent facility improvements, including the renovations to University Stadium as well as the completion of Alumni Field. Webster has also been actively involved with the Friends of Golden Hawk Football Reception and Dinner, contributing as a major financial sponsor for the past ten years.