Canada Soccer Hall of Fame welcomes 12 more in special class of past players | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canada Soccer Hall of Fame welcomes 12 more in special class of past players

February 20, 2019 - 3:09 PM

OTTAWA - Twelve players, including four from the rival Firefighters FC and Columbus FC teams of the Pacific Coast League, are being inducted in the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame as part of a special class of past players from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Firefighters' Jim Blundell (Vancouver) and Gary Stevens (Burnaby, B.C.) and Columbus' Bobby Smith (Vancouver) and Gino Vazzoler (Burnaby) featured in one of the most heated rivalries in Canadian soccer in the 1960s.

The 12 — seven of whom will be honoured posthumously — will enter the Hall on March 24 in Vancouver during the Canada-French Guiana CONCACAF Nations League qualifying match at B.C. Place Stadium

Blundell, Stevens, Smith, Vazzoler and Regina's John Schepers will be joined by the late Harry Phillips of Toronto, Bill Gill of Montreal, and Frank Ambler, Eddie Bak, Don Matheson, Bobby Newbold and Jackie Whent of Vancouver.

All 12 were stars for more than a decade in Canada's biggest leagues from the 1940s through 1960s, notably the Pacific Coast League, the Western Canada League, and the National League of Ontario and Quebec.

"Canada Soccer congratulates this group of honoured members who all made a positive impact on the game during a unique era of growth for our sport across the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s," Steven Reed, president of the Canadian Soccer Association, said in a statement.

"In honouring this group of stars, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame ensures that their commitment, their achievements, and their passion for Canadian soccer is celebrated amongst the greats of the game in Canada."

Schepers (pronounced SKEH-perz) won titles in three separate provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The former Canada international also won a national title in 1962 and scored a hat trick as a teenager in the Canadian final.

Schepers was the league's all-time scoring leader in the old Western Canada Soccer League, the first Canadian circuit that crossed three provinces,

Including this group of 12 players, the Hall of Fame has welcomed 126 players, 13 players/coaches, 10 officials, and 40 builders as honoured members since 2000.

Later this year, two modern-era Canadian players will be selected as well as one non-player. Canada Soccer will celebrate one team of distinction as well several organizations of distinction in 2019.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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