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N.B. Sports Hall of Fame

Five named to New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame (01/03/12)

NB 227

March 12, 2001

FREDERICTON (CNB) -- The New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame will welcome five new members during induction ceremonies to be held in Fredericton, Saturday, June 2. The names of those elected were announced today by Allan Maher, Fredericton, chairman of the sports hall of fame board of governors.

The inductees are:

Marc Albert, a native of Caraquet now living in Moncton, a member of the men's volleyball team at the 1992 Olympic Games; Michael Butler, Saint John, winner of five consecutive Canadian men's singles badminton championships, and a veteran of international competition; Giovanni "Jean" Corazza, Moncton, the Canadian javelin champion in 1979, and winner of three international javelin competitions in 1980; Wendy Dealy, Miramichi, who fashioned a 19 year softball career as an outstanding pitcher, appearing in 13 national championships, and Donald Nelson, Fredericton, head coach of the University of New Brunswick men's basketball team for 32 years, and acknowledged builder of the sport in New Brunswick.

Education Minister Elvy Robichaud, the minister responsible for the Culture and Sport Secretariat, and Maher will preside over the induction ceremonies which will bring the number of inductees into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame to 160.

Following is background information on the five inductees:

Marc Albert

Born in Caraquet, NB in 1961, Marc Albert decided he wanted to play volleyball and compete in the Olympics after watching the final game of the 1976 Games in Montreal on television. Some 16 years later, Albert lived his dream as a starter for Team Canada at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. (Click here to access a 150 dpi image.)

Albert's road to the Olympics began in high school where he led Polyvalent Louis-Mailloux to provincial interscholastic championships in 1978 and 1979. While attending Université de Moncton, he was named to the Canadian junior volleyball team, and in 1981, while still a teenager, he relocated to Calgary to join the national senior team. He left the team after 18 months and became a police officer with the City of Calgary, continuing to play volleyball with a local club team. He rejoined the national team in 1985, but found juggling commitments to his job and to his young family, as well as to the team, too much, and he left after a year. In 1989, an arrangement with the Calgary police force allowed Albert to rejoin the national team and pursue his dream of playing in the Olympic Games.

During his nine years with the junior, senior, and Olympic teams, Albert played in over 30 major international competitions. Among the highlights were a first place finish in a pre-Olympic tournament held in England , two silver medal-winning performances in the NORCECA championships for countries from North and Central America and the Caribbean, and qualifying for and representing Canada at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

Personally, Albert earned all-star recognition at five international events, and was named most valuable player at the Olympic qualifying tournament in 1992. He was also ranked third in the World Volleyball League as an attacker and fifth as a receiver in 1992. A winner of three Canadian senior championships with the Canuck Stuff Club of Calgary, Albert was a five-time all-star at the national tournament.

Albert retired after the 1992 Games and returned to New Brunswick where he has been actively involved in teaching and coaching the sport at the interscholastic and intercollegiate levels. He and his family live in Moncton, where Albert is the assistant coach of the Université de Moncton men's volleyball team.

Michael Butler

A native of Gander, Newfoundland, where he was born in 1961, Mike Butler grew up in Saint John, where he was introduced to badminton, a sport he would dominate like few others in Canada have. (Click here to access a 150 dpi photo.)

Butler himself credits motivation and self-reliance as the two ingredients that propelled him to the top echelon of the sport internationally, and the support of his wife Rolyne for keeping him there for 10 years. The list of championships he accumulated during his career is testimony to his determination to pursue his career from Saint John, rather than relocate to where training facilities, coaches and training partners were more plentiful.

Butler's championships include 36 New Brunswick; 24 Maritime; 15 national; and seven Pan American titles. In 1987, he won his fifth consecutive Canadian men's singles title, and also won the men's doubles, and mixed doubles championships, registering a rare "triple crown" in Canadian badminton championship play.

Butler was a member of the national team for 10 years, and represented Canada in numerous international competitions. The Canadian team won silver medals at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games, and Butler competed in the world championships four times, the Thomas Cup twice and the Devlin Cup, against the United States, once. He was selected with Claire Backhouse-Sharpe of Vancouver to compete in the demonstration event at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. They were the only players from the Western Hemisphere invited to participate.

Backhouse-Sharpe, his mixed doubles partner, described Butler's demeanor on the court saying, "he demonstrated his unfailing support through his refusal to concede, through his amazing talent, through his love for competition, and by the fact that during times of turmoil, Mike was always the calm, disciplined, unrelenting voice of reason for our team." Abdul Shaikh, former international coach for Badminton Canada, said of Butler, "he trained seriously, and applied himself with that level of commitment and persistence that is the mark of a true champion."

Butler was named the New Brunswick Athlete of the Year from 1983 to 1986, and received the Canadian Badminton Association National Sportsmanship Award twice. He was also the recipient of the Air Canada Merit Award in recognition of his contribution to sport and the community. The City of Saint John named him to its Group of Five honoree in 1989, as the city's outstanding sports figure.

Since retiring in 1994, Butler has instructed at badminton clinics for players of all levels, and has coached a number of minor sports teams in Saint John.

Giovanni "Jean" Corazza

Jean Corazza was born in Quebec City in 1954 and has lived in Moncton since 1962. He began competing in the javelin in 1970 while still in high school, and won the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association (NBIAA) championship three consecutive years. (Click here to access a 150 dpi image.)

Following his graduation from École Vanier, he enrolled at the Université de Moncton in 1974. After two years at U de M he transferred to the University of Ottawa, in order to work under national javelin coach Bill Heikkila. His decision proved to be the right one as in 1977 Corazza was selected to represent Canada in the three major international events. He won a silver medal at the World Cup trials in Mexico; a bronze medal at the Pan Pacific Games in Australia, and finished ninth at the World Student Games in Bulgaria. The following year Corazza competed at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton.

In 1979 Corazza won the Canadian outdoor javelin championship and was pre-selected to compete in the Pan American Games. However, an injury sidelined him, and the ensuing surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow proved to be a turning point in his career. The following year he equalled both the Olympic and Canadian team standards, earning the right to compete at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.

A boycott of the Games by western countries, including Canada, dashed Corazza's Olympic dream. Instead of Moscow, the Canadian team competed in a series of meets held in Paris, Oslo, London and Dusseldorf, in what became known as the "alternate Olympics". Corazza's performance at these events was nothing short of spectacular. He won three gold medals and a bronze, and established a personal best with a throw of 84.34 metres. In the opinion of Marc Beaudoin, head athletics coach at Université de Moncton, "Jean's javelin performances in 1980 rate as the most outstanding in track and field to date, considering the level of competition at these meets."

Since his retirement in 1980, Corazza has done some coaching, notably with Jason Spalding, a former Canadian junior champion, and Eric Leboutillier, a former Canadian age-class champion.

Wendy Dealy

Peter McLean, executive/technical director for Softball New Brunswick, calls Wendy Dealy, "the finest ladies softball pitcher in the history of the sport in New Brunswick." Dealy, who was born in Loggieville (now Miramichi), N.B. in 1955, certainly has the credentials to back up that statement. (Click here to access a 150 dpi image.)

Dealy's 19 year career in the sport began in 1968, as a bantam-aged player in Loggieville. Five years later, she made her first appearance in a national event when, as a member of Team New Brunswick, she and her teammates won a sliver medal at the Canada Summer Games in Burnaby-New Westminster. The same year she appeared at her first Canadian senior championship with the Loggieville Gems.

During her career, teams on which Dealy played won nine provincial, three Maritime, one Atlantic and one Eastern Canadian titles, and in the period between 1973 and 1987, Dealy played in 13 national championships. In addition to the Loggieville Gems, she also played for the Moncton Rebels and the Miramichi Fireballs. Dealy led the Rebels to eight New Brunswick titles, and a berth in seven national championships. During her nine years with the Rebels, she commuted from her home on the Miramichi, missing only one game. Teams from Saint John, Moncton and Memramcook added Dealy to their rosters in their quest for national honours.

At the 1975 Canadian junior championships Dealy compiled a five wins, no loss record in round robin play. The performance earned her selection as the top pitcher, as well as the most valuable player award at the tournament. The following year, she was again named the best pitcher at the national junior championship. Dealy also won most valuable player recognition at the Maritime senior championship in 1974 and at the New Brunswick senior championships in 1982 and 1986. In all, she pitched in 542 games, winning 389 and losing 149, with four ties. Thirteen of the losses came in exhibition games against men's teams.

Dealy retired following the 1987 season, and was inducted into the Softball New Brunswick Hall of Fame in 1994. Her citation stated in part: "Wendy Dealy was a workhorse on the field, but that was merely a reflection of her attitude towards the game. Wendy's commitment was total, she believed in practice and spent hours developing her skills and preparing for her game."

Donald K Nelson

Don Nelson was born in Saint John in 1928. He attended high school in Montreal and received his degree in physical education from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1952. After teaching and coaching in Quebec for four years, he returned to his New Brunswick roots as a coach and instructor at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. (Click here to access a 150 dpi image.)

From 1956 until his retirement in 1993, Nelson was synonymous with the UNB basketball program, having coached the men's varsity team for 32 years. During his tenure, UNB won both the New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island intercollegiate and Northeast College Conference titles three times and the Maritime intercollegiate championship once, in 1967. Nelson also coached the UNB varsity football team for 11 seasons, winning Maritime titles in 1958 and 1959.

The hallmark of Nelson's coaching career was his commitment to providing an opportunity for local athletes to play basketball at the university level. In a league dominated by imports, his teams always contended, and fellow coaches acknowledged that he got "as much and more from his athletes as any basketball coach in Canada." Nelson's philosophy paid dividends for the sport in the province as well. In the words of former player and hall of fame member Fran McHugh: "His legacy clearly shows the foundation he built in the early years, as the majority of successful programs in New Brunswick have been in the hands of his former students/players."

Former star player Dave Nutbrown, now head coach at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. agrees that Nelson engendered in his players a love for the game which resulted in many of them becoming coaches themselves. Says Nutbrown: "Basketball in our region is richer as a result of the legacy of Don Nelson."

From 1960 to 1990, Nelson conducted clinics throughout the Atlantic provinces for coaches at all levels. He also served as president of Basketball New Brunswick for two years, and was president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches of Canada in 1972 and 1973. From 1961 to 1967, he was chairman of the provincial interscholastic Class L basketball tournament, and he founded and served as director of the UNB Summer Sport Camps from 1971 to 1988.

Nelson received the Basketball New Brunswick service award for coaching in 1982 and was recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches of Canada in 1984. The University of New Brunswick named two scholarships in his honour in 1995, and in 1999, Atlantic University Sport named the western division of the men's basketball league the Don Nelson Division in recognition of the significant contribution which Coach Nelson has made to basketball in the region.

01/03/12

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Meagher, executive director, NB Sports Hall of Fame, 506-453-8930 (work), 506-457-9111 (home), fax 506-459-0481, e-mail kathy.meagher@gnb.ca

01/03/12