Five Tommie greats and a national medal-winning basketball team joined an elite group of St.Thomas athletes at the 2015 Sports Wall of Fame induction luncheon.
Father J. Arthur Scott, Crystal Cernivz, Callum MacPhee, Gordon Wheaton, Robert Mabie, and the men’s basketball team from
2003-04 made up the class of 2015 inductees.
President Dawn Russell welcomed the inductees, noting their role in St. Thomas’s athletic history.
“Championship banners, all-star players, and now Wall of Fame members. These inductees represent five decades of achievement,” she said.
Father J. Arthur Scott can be credited for much of the early athletic successes at St. Thomas. Prior to his time at the college, organized sports were almost non-existent. During his time with the Tommies from 1939-1949, he coached rugby, basketball, hockey, and baseball, and started the first women’s basketball team.
Years later, the roots planted by Father Scott blossomed in the form of a successful hockey program led by coach Robert Mabie and standout players Callum MacPhee and Gordon Wheaton.
With MacPhee in net, Mabie coached the Tommies to a New Brunswick Championship in 1967. Wheaton joined the squad in 1968 and in his four years never posted less than 21 points. In 1969, the trio led the Tommies to the Maritime Intercollegiate Hockey League championship final, but fell just short of the title.
Mabie was thrilled to be inducted to the Sports Wall of Fame alongside Wheaton and MacPhee.
“It’s especially nice for me to be inducted with two former players,” Mabie said. “I want to thank all of the players who played for me over the years. I’m proud of every one of you.”
Both Wheaton and MacPhee credited their teammates and the STU community for their success on the ice.
“I’d like to mention a couple of my line mates, Scott Harvey and Gary Marsh, they made me the player that I was. They made life easy on the ice,” Wheaton said.
“Confidence is very important for a goaltender,” MacPhee said in his acceptance. “No matter how poorly I played at times, I always felt that coach Mabie, my fellow players, and our fans were very supportive.”
Cernivz, a three-time Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association women’s volleyball player of the year and four-time conference champion, was also quick to credit her teammates for her achievements.
“The reason I’m standing here today is because I was fortunate enough to play on a team with strong, determined, and competitive women,” she said.
The three-time Canadian Colleges Athletic Association All-Canadian also recalled the many life lessons that came from her time with the Tommies.
“For many, volleyball is just a game but for me it’s been full of life lessons. It taught me how to set goals and that you have to work hard for what you want in life,” she said.
Rounding out the inductees was the men’s basketball team from 2003-04. The team won three out of four championships leading up to their national silver medal finish—the first national medal for any team at St. Thomas and the program’s best finish to date.
“This was an exceptional group of young men, who defeated the Ontario champions in the quarter finals and went on to defeat the CCAA number one-ranked championship team from Quebec in the semis,” Scott MacLeod, assistant coach of the 2003-04 team, said. “This was a team that could. They never gave up.”
These inductees join the 22 individuals and three teams previously inducted into the STU Sports Wall of Fame which is located at the Grant-Harvey Centre, home of the men’s and women’s hockey teams.