You may think that a world-class Olympic coach, an NHL Hall of Famer and a pair of field lacrosse stars may have pursued varied paths, but they all share common roots in this community.
Toben Sutherland, Ken (Jiggs) McDonald, Jayme Davis and Brittney Fess now share the added distinction of being named to the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame.
“The body of the work that the inductees had is quite extraordinary,” said Sport Orillia’s Martino Di Sabatino, chair of the Hall of Fame selection committee, in announcing the 2018 honorees.
“When you go into the Orillia (Sports) Hall of Fame, it means something.”
Davis (Beard) and Fess (Boynton) played in the Orillia Lady Kings lacrosse program, both of them going on to excel on the provincial, national and world stages.
Davis represented Canada at the 2003 and 2007 World Field Lacrosse Championships, and while playing women’s field lacrosse at Wilfrid Laurier University, she garnered Ontario University Athletics rookie of the year honours in 2007.
Davis, who was a star player at Ohio State University, was on hand for the announcement, telling those gathered she was honoured to be recognized along with Fess, her best friend.
“When we were young, she was like my idol,” she added.
Fess’s path was a similar one.
In 2002, she scored the Joanne Stanga Award as Orillia’s outstanding lacrosse player. The following year, she played for Canada at the 2003 world championship.
Like Davis, Fess attended Laurier, where she was team captain for two years. In 2007, she was named Ontario University Athletics’ most valuable defensive player, twice claiming the title of first-team all-star.
Fess worked with Davis on the Lax For a Cure fundraiser, initiated the senior women’s program in Orillia and started the Little Lady Kings program in 2014.
Honoured in the builders category this year are Toben Sutherland and Ken (Jiggs) McDonald.
Sutherland, who rose to prominence as a freestyle skier on the World Cup circuit, took up coaching in 2002 while working with the national development aerial team.
He was head coach of the Ontario Park and Pipe team from 2008 to 2011 and co-founded the Canadian slopestyle ski team, serving as head coach of the team that won gold and bronze in Sochi.
Sutherland is head coach for Canada at the Winter Olympics in South Korea this month and told Simcoe.com he was “honoured and flattered” by his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
McDonald arrived in Orillia in 1958 for a job at CFOR, where he established himself as a popular sports announcer before going on to work as the Los Angeles Kings’ play-by-play man from 1967 to 1972.
He would also work for the New York Islanders, the Atlanta Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won the Foster Hewitt Award in 1990 and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.
The four honorees will be inducted into the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame during an April 21 gala at Casino Rama. Tickets are $75.