Feb 5

Black History Month

In support of Black History Month, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is proud to share the
stories of over 20 remarkable Order of Sport recipients and Hall of Famers.

Damon Allen
Sport: Football
Inducted: 2018 

Over the course of his remarkable 23-year career, Damon Allen secured an outstanding legacy as one of the most distinguished quarterbacks in the history of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Originally hailing from California, Damon began playing football at the age of six.

In 1985 he decided to pursue opportunities north of the border, setting entirely new standards for excellence on the gridiron in Canada.

Donovan Bailey
Sport: Athletics
Inducted: 2004 and 2008

Recognized as the "World’s Fastest Man" in 1997, Donovan received the Order of Sport in 2004 for his decorated individual career.

After winning gold in the 100m sprint at the 1995 World Championships, Donovan set a world record en route to gold at the next year's Olympic Games in Atlanta, earning him the rare triple title of world champion, Olympic champion, and world record holder.

He is one of only 10 people who have been awarded the Order of Sport and inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame twice.

Carlton Chambers, Robert Esmie,
Donovan Bailey, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin

1996 4x100m relay team
Sport: Athletics
Inducted: 2008

No one saw the Canadian Dream team coming when the 4x100m relay team first came into the public eye with a world championship bronze in 1993, but there would be no holding them back.

"We were the fastest team on the planet, through the Commonwealth Games, two world championships, the Olympics and the Goodwill Games," – Donovan Bailey.

This remarkable team went went on to win gold at the 1995 and 1997 World Championships, and capture an unforgettable gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Herb Carnegie
Sport: Ice Hockey
Inducted: 2001

Herb Carnegie was likely one of the best ever players to never play pro league ice hockey.

Herb dominated the Quebec provincial leagues alongside two other black players, his brother Ossie, and Manny McIntyre. Herb won the MVP award for three consecutive years.

After retirement from playing, Herb founded the Future Aces Hockey School, and later the Future Aces Foundation. Nearly $1 million has been given out by the Foundation to young people to enable them to pursue post-secondary education.

Michael "Pinball" Clemons
Sport: Football
Inducted: 2016

Both as a player and as a member of the coaching staff, "Pinball" Clemons has solidified himself as a Toronto Argonauts legend, setting multiple running records and winning numerous Grey Cups with the franchise.

He is also renowned for his tireless community and charity work. During his playing days, Michael was consistently one of the most giving athletes in Toronto, spending his time with sick children in hospitals, collecting food and toys for charities, and regularly visiting schools to inspire youth.

He also devotes time to the Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons Foundation, which helps change the lives of thousands of Toronto youth, while also raising funds to build more than 200 schools in Africa.

Chatham Coloured All-Stars
Sport: Baseball
Inducted: 2022

More than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars were barnstorming their way through southern Ontario and challenging discriminatory perceptions of what black athletes could accomplish in white-dominated leagues.

Despite their championship calibre, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars regularly faced discrimination on and off the field, playing through racial taunts and threats of violence, injuries deliberately perpetrated by opposing teams, and questionable officiating calls.

The All-Stars won multiple city and provincial championships blazing a trail for generations of Black athletes.

Order of Sport Collection, Canadian Museum of History

George Dixon
Sport: Boxing
Inducted: 1955

George Dixon, who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, held, in succession, the paperweight, bantamweight, and featherweight boxing titles. He was the first-ever black world champion in 1888 and invented the technique of shadowboxing.

His career took off in 1888 when he claimed the world bantam title and successfully defended it twice. Moving up to the featherweight class, he fought a grueling 22 rounds to take that title in 1891. He defended this title three times before losing a 20-round match in 1897 but regained it the following year.

Phil Edwards
Sport: Athletics
Inducted: 1997

Phil Edwards was one of Canada's most prized track-and-field stars of the late 1920s and early '30s, as well as its most decorated Olympic athlete.

Amazingly, Phil achieved the majority of his Olympic success while studying medicine at McGill University. After establishing himself as a world-class athlete, Dr. Edwards became a leading physician and tropical disease expert in Montreal.

In 1957, he and Jim Worrall initiated Canada's first international sports development project. This program, which was geared toward assisting young athletes in the eastern Caribbean, was the forerunner for the Canadian Sports Development Program.

Order of Sport Collection, Canadian Museum of History

Lawrence "Larry" Gains
Sport: Boxing
Inducted: 2015

Lawrence Gains’ family were descendants of former enslaved peoples in Toronto’s eastside. Unfortunately, black athletes were not often allowed to compete for national boxing titles, so he entered and won the British Empire competitions and the Coloured Boxing championships. 

Lawrence turned down an opportunity to join the Canadian Olympic Team in 1924 when he made the decision to leave for England in 1923 and become a professional boxer. He was known for his honesty and integrity and will be forever remembered for the other big fight in his life, the battle to break down the race barrier and leading the way for future black athlete contenders.

Charmaine Hooper
Sport: Soccer
Inducted: 2012

Charmaine made the very first Canadian women’s national soccer team in 1986 and became the first player to be capped 100 times.

Over her 20-year career, she appeared in 129 games, scoring 71 goals for Canada. That included three appearances at FIFA Women’s World Cups, the most recent coming in the USA in 2003 when she helped Canada win its first ever game in the international tournament en route to qualifying for the semi-finals.

At that historic World Cup, Charmaine moved up from her position on defence to head in a free kick in the eighth minute. It was the only goal in the team’s 1-0 win over China, and is among the most celebrated moments in her distinguished career.

Barbara Howard
Sport: Athletics
Inducted: 2015

Barbara Howard was known as one of the fastest female sprinters in the British Empire and the first black female athlete to represent Canada.

With the outbreak of WWII and the cancellation of two Olympic Games, Barbara missed the opportunity to compete during her prime. Barbara attended the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1959.

She became the first member of a visible minority hired by the Vancouver School Board and worked as a Vancouver school teacher until 1984 including 14 years as a Physical Education teacher. 

Daniel Igali
Sport: Wrestling
Inducted: 2007

Growing up in a poor family of 21 in rural Nigeria, Baraladei Daniel Igali could not afford to look past the next day, let alone look to a future which involved competing at the Olympic Games. 

In 1994, Daniel, while wrestling for Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, decided to claim refugee status from his war-torn country and remain in Canada.

He continued to wrestle, with his breakthrough coming with his gold medal win at the world championships in 1999, the first time a Canadian had done so. Daniel was flawless at the 2000 Olympic Games. Daniel Igali was an Olympic champion - a hero and an inspiration.

Angela James
Sport: Ice Hockey
Inducted: 2009

One of Canada's greatest female hockey players, Angela James is a world champion not only in women's ice hockey but also roller hockey, a brilliant goal scorer, and a role model honoured in the community in which she grew up with an arena bearing her name.

In her career, Angela has been named a world all-star three times, a member of four world championship winning teams, and three scoring titles in the senior women's league. She has few peers.

Ferguson Jenkins
Sport: Baseball
Inducted: 1987

It used to be a rarity for a Canadian to crack the lineup of a major league baseball team, and even more uncommon for a northerner to shine in this American-dominated sport. Ferguson Jenkins was just such an anomaly; he took both the American and National Leagues by storm as he toured the majors for 19 years.

Ferguson's outstanding record includes more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks, a rare combination of power and control. He was also only the fourth pitcher in history to have won more than 100 games in both the American and National Leagues.

In 1991, he became the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Harry Jerome
Sport: Athletics
Inducted: 1971

Harry Jerome enjoyed a 10-year competitive career, reaching the pinnacle of his success at an age when most athletes have long thrown in the towel.

After setting Canadian and world records early in his career, injuries prevented Harry from qualifying for the 1960 Olympic Games finals, and the 1962 Commonwealth Games. He finally reached the podium at the 1964 Olympic Games, marking the beginning of his redemption.

He would go on to tie the world record for the 100yd dash, and claim gold medals at the 1966 Commonwealth Games and the 1967 Pan-American Games.

Sam Langford
Sport: Boxing
Inducted: 1955

Sam Langford is considered by some to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in history, and one of the best boxers never to win a world championship.

Over more than two decades, Sam would fight some of the world's best boxers from welterweight up to heavyweight, though he was never given the heavyweight title shot that his reputation justified. 

In 1958, famed boxing writer Nat Fleischer rated Sam Langford as the 7th best heavyweight of all time, while Charley Rose ranked him number one.

Order of Sport Collection, Canadian Museum of History

Lennox Lewis
Sport: Boxing
Inducted: 2008

In 1983, at age 17, Lennox Lewis won the world junior super heavyweight championship and a year later he was a member of Canada's Olympic team in Los Angeles.

At the 1988 Olympic Games, Lennox ended a 56-year drought as he won the gold medal, the first Canadian to do so since Horace "Lefty" Gwynne in 1932.

Over the course of 44 pro fights, Lennox amassed a record of 41 wins - including 32 knockouts - two losses and a draw, with victories over notables Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Donovan "Razor" Ruddock.

Manny McIntyre
Sport: Ice Hockey
Inducted: 2015

Vincent Churchill "Manny" McIntyre challenged the racial barriers within his chosen sports of baseball and ice hockey.

He was a star in the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia senior baseball leagues, being named as the Nova Scotia league's MVP, first team all-star, and voted most popular player in 1944.

He was also part of the famous Quebec Aces' all-Black line with Herb and Ossie Carnegie.

Overall Manny compiled 187 goals, 278 assists, for 465 points in 468 games played during his career.

Warren Moon
Sport: Football
Inducted: 2009

After Warren Moon's successful college career, he should have expected a bevy of National Football League teams to express interest. However, he went undrafted due to reluctance at the time to accept or endorse Black players as quarterbacks in the NFL.

Warren signed with Edmonton in the CFL, which proved to pay off in dividends. Warren's tenure with the green and gold lasted six years, from 1978 to 1983, and during that time Edmonton dominated the CFL with an unprecedented five straight Grey Cup victories.

In 1984 he signed with the Houston Oilers, beginning what would be a 17-year stint in the NFL where he would continue to thrive. He remains the sole Black quarterback enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

George Reed
Sport: Football
Inducted: 1984

George Reed burst onto the scene with “the speed of an explosive halfback and the power of a Sherman tank” a sports writer noted after his debut in 1963.

Two years later, he set the CFL single-season rushing record. One season after, George and Ron Lancaster led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to their first-ever Grey Cup victory.

He was also named as the first recipient of the CFL’s Tom Pate Memorial Award, designed to recognize players who’ve made a significant contribution to their team and community. At the time, George was working with 47 different community groups, including his own George Reed Foundation for the disabled and disadvantaged. 

Willie O'Ree
Sport: Ice Hockey
Inducted: 2020-21

Willie O'Ree was the first Black player to ever play in the NHL on Jan. 18, 1958, when he skated onto the ice with the Bruins to beat the Canadiens 3-0. He played 2 games that year, returning in 1961 to play another 43 games with the Bruins, scoring 4 goals and 10 assists.

Resilient & determined as ever, Willie opened the door to greater diversity in hockey, in spite of racist comments from fans & opponents.

In 1998, he became an ambassador for the NHL’s Diversity program, & worked with an initiative to encourage minority youth to become involved in hockey. Visiting schools and communities across North America, Willie helped establish many grassroots ice hockey programs.