First Name: 1977 Cheema Canoe
Sport: Paddling
Inductee Type: Team
Year Inducted: 2017
Details:

While other canoe clubs existed in Nova Scotia long before Cheema Aquatic Club hit the water for the first time in 1969, the Waverley-based paddlers became the first ever Atlantic Division paddling club to win a Canadian championship when they won the title in 1977.

It took them only eight years from inception to accomplish a feat that no other Atlantic Division club achieved in the 73 years the Division had been involved nationally.

And, as they won on the home lake of Banook and Micmac clubs in Dartmouth, Cheema installed a “can-do” spirit among other local clubs that led to 13 more national titles within the Division (seven for Cheema, three for Orenda, two for Banook and one for Maskwa).

Coached by Frank Garner, the team had shown national consistency in the previous two years, finishing third in 1975 and second in 1976. Garner’s credentials were stellar. He was assistant Canadian Olympic coach in 1976 in Montreal and soon after would become long-time national team head coach. He’s now the Canadian Chief Official for the International Canoe Federation.

Garner was hired as the first coach. He had his work cut out for him because no one in Waverley had ever pulled a competitive stroke. But the youngsters of Waverly and Fall River had great raw potential, and Garner knew they were ready for a challenge. They jumped in with both feet.

With a 136 point total at nationals, Cheema topped the field by 43 points. They won eight gold, seven silver and five bronze medals.
Cheema was a team of destiny and accomplishment. Prior to nationals, 10 athletes and two coaches from Cheema joined the Canadian team at the North American championships in July 1977 and had a part in 11 gold medals. Five Cheema athletes were on Nova Scotia’s 1977 Canada Games team and helped win four gold and five silver medals.

Cheema held a seven point lead on the field in the last day of competition when teams in the ladies 500 metre Open War Canoe moved to the start line.
The war canoe team was fourth with 150 metres to go. As 500 Cheema supporters cheered wildly on the banks of Dartmouth’s Lake Banook, the team made constant gains. With the last three strokes of the race, they nosed out Team Banook to win by less than a foot.

That title led to future outstanding performances by Cheema athletes. Ann Dodge, a member of the team but absent to compete at the 1977 worlds, was a Canadian Olympian in 1976. A member of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, she later competed at world junior and senior championships. Dave McNaughton competed at world juniors and Don Brien, also a Hall inductee, was named to the Canadian team for the boycotted Moscow Olympics in 1980 and was on the team in 1984 and 1988.

PLAYERS: Debbie Bauld (Carr), Don Brien, Richard Clarke, Ian Crowley, Allan Dewtie, Ann Dodge, Elizabeth Drew, Jayne Drew, Nancy Drew, Nelson Drysdale, Allyson Fehr, Leslie Fenerty, Joy Williams Gregorash, Cynthia Hoskins (Weir), Brian Keevill, Joanne Lobban , Scott Logan, Allan MacDonald, David McNaughton, Allan McNaughton, Susan (Viczko) McNaughton, Randy McDonald, Gail McMillan, Loretta Mullen, Vincent Mullen, Anne Murray, Dave Murray, Charles Brian O’Leary, Mike O’Leary, Colleen McDonald O’Toole, Dave Pelham, Tom Pelham, Ian Ramsay, Don Robertson, Danny Viney, Greg Walker, Nancy Walker, Coral Wickstrom, Steve Wickstrom, Sherry Wyse COACHES AND MANAGEMENT: Lloyd Burley (coach), C.L. “Bud” Dodge (team manager), Frank Garner (head coach), Bob Hutt (commodore), Bill Lobban (coach), Ed Mullen (team statistician), Ron Orton (coach), Rick Wood (coach).

Bio courtesy of Joel Jacobson

Facts:

• 1st Atl. Can. Canoe team to win Can. championship
• Gold in junior ladies’ and men’s, 1977
• Silver in juvenile men’s, 1977
• Bronze in senior men’s, 1977
• 12 members won 11 golds at N. Amer. Championships
• 5 members won 4 gold & 5 silver at Canada Games