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The Chatham Sports Hall of Fame was originally founded in 1982 by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 628.  In 1984, the first three Honored Members, Keith CrummerFergie Jenkins  and Joe Zimmer were inducted.

 

In 1986, Lloyd Davidson, Smoke Reynolds, and Sandra Tewksbury  also became Honored Members. For the next twelve years the Hall was not active.

 

In 1998, the Hall of Fame was resurrected by a committee of concerned citizens representing the Branch 628 Legion and the W.I.S.H. Center.   Later on that year a Board of Directors was established to run the affairs of the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame. The objectives of the Hall are to honour the members of the community for their contribution to sports and to preserve the history of sport in Chatham. Further to that, the Board of Directors also set out to involve the general public in the nomination, selection, and induction process so that it is a total community project. 

 

The Board of Directors consists of eleven members,  four from the Branch 628 Legion, four from the W.I.S.H. Centre, and three from the voting membership.

 

The process for selecting Honored Members was established, whereby deserving individuals and teams are nominated by the general public. These candidates are then evaluated by a committee of the Board of Directors and up to four deserving candidates in each category are selected to appear on a ballot which is distributed to all eligible voters (namely members of the Board, all living Honoured Members, and paid-up voting members). The top vote  in each category,  Athlete-Modern, Athlete-Legend, Builder and Team, is inducted into the Hall of Fame at the annual induction ceremony in September of each year.

 

In the spring of 1999, the first voting took place to induct four new members into the Hall of Fame. In fall of that year, the first annual dinner and induction ceremony was held at the W.I.S.H. Centre where Fergie Jenkins, the only Canadian in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and an original Honored Member of the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame, served as the guest speaker.   At that ceremony, Bill Atkinson (Athlete-Modern), Ches Dawson (Athlete-Legend), Archie Stirling (Builder), and the 1959-60 Chatham Senior Maroons (Team) were inducted.

 

In 2000 and 2001, four new Honored Members were inducted each year. In 2002 the Board of Directors changed the By-laws to allow a maximum of two additional candidates to be selected by the Board and inducted into the Hall. This came about because of a perceived disadvantage to individuals who participated a long time ago or who participated in a lesser known sport that did not receive all the publicity of the major ones.   As a result, in 2002 and 2003 six Honored Members were inducted.

 

Presently there are fifty-two  individuals and sixteen teams that are Honored Members of the Hall of Fame.  The Hall is housed at the W.I.S.H. Centre in Chatham and is open to the public free of charge during regular business hours.