June 1, 2022

THE CCAA HALL OF FAME CAN BE BETTER

With no CCAA Hall of Fame inductions in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, a window existed for the CCAA to improve the nomination and selection process to be fairer and more inclusive prior to the second round of conference classes heading into the CCAA Hall of Fame.

While the CCAA's hall of fame committee has the authority to nominate builders that are not currently represented by a member institution and/or member conference, coaches and athletes must be nominated by a CCAA member institution in good standing.

Since conference induction classes began, 19 of 20 called to the hall in the coach category and all 22 called to the Hall in the athlete category have had ties to a current CCAA member. The sole exception was former athletic director and hockey coach Dr. Carl Buchanan from what is now Cape Breton University.

Among those slighted by a partial nomination process this time around are hockey players from the then (University) College of Cape Breton Capers. Darren Gardiner was honored as a CCAA All Canadian in 1985 and 1986. Scott Huntington was selected a CCAA Tournament All Star on a runner-up in 1981 and a CCAA All Canadian in 1984. Joe Andrea and Ray George were two time tournament all stars prior to the introduction of CCAA All Canadian award and were teammates on a third place finisher in 1976. Andrea also played on the 1978 national champions.

While Huntington and one of the basketball players entering the hall this month both played on silver medalists and were honoured as a CCAA All Canadian and a CCAA Tournament All Star (albeit the basketball player was a second team all star), the other Capers mentioned received more CCAA All Canadian awards or more CCAA Tournament All Star selections (and in some instances more podium finishes at nationals) than the basketball player referenced.

Unlike most of the former Capers cited previously, none of the athletes in the 2022 class competed in the first two decades of the CCAA's existence. As of now, only three athletes from the first decade are enshrined including a basketball player whose antics resulted in his suspension for the duration of a national championship tournament.

While an athlete becomes eligible for nomination seven years after their last date of participation in the CCAA, a builder becomes eligible for nomination five years after their last full-time employment with a member institution, a member conference, or the CCAA. Yet, a longtime athletic director who retired from a member institution in March of 2019 has been tagged for induction as a builder later this month.

Of the 64 who have received the call to the CCAA Hall of Fame, 42 (or 66 per cent) are in non-athlete categories and 26 (or 41 per cent) served the CCAA as an executive member, a convenor and/or a conference representative.

Among the builders inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame, two held office for a single term including one who was involved in the initial meetings in 1972 and served on the first executive before parting ways with the national governing body before the 1975-76 academic year. His tenure was less than the five years required as stated in the eligibility criteria.

The CCAA Hall of Fame can be better. The reputation and relevance of the Hall hangs in the balance.


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