The 1973 Allan Cup Champion Orillia Terriers, Chad Thompson, Dean Heliotis, and lan MacMillan entered the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.

A two-sport athlete, two long-time coaches, and a championship hockey team were enshrined in the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night.

The 1973 Allan Cup Champion Orillia Terriers headlined the class of 2023, making them the first team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Accepting the honour on behalf of the team on Saturday night were forward Gary Milroy and player-coach Doug Kelcher.

“The first thing we want to do is thank the people of Orillia,” Kelcher said. “We had a guy named Bill McGill who convinced us that this was the place to play and if we played here and did a good job, we’d never forget it.”

The powerhouse team skated to a 31-13 record, placing them behind the powerful Barrie Flyers for second place in the Ontario Hockey Association’s Senior A division.

The Terriers would overcome the Flyers in Game 6 of the Ontario championship, earning a hard-fought victory in overtime.

“We had a great rivalry with the Barrie Flyers,” Milroy said. “When coach Doug Kelcher whistled the puck past the goaltender to win the game — and, of course, there are several interpretations of the word whistle — it ended up in the net anyway and we won.”

The Terriers went on to defeat Thunder Bay for the Eastern Canadian Championship, earning themselves their shot at the Allan Cup. The Terriers defeated the St. Boniface Mohawks 4-1 in the championship series, winning the Allan Cup on home ice at the Orillia Community Centre.

“It was a long time ago,” Milroy said. “But there are a lot of good memories for all of us.”

Milroy credits the championship victory to the players, team supporters, and the fans.

“We came together and played as a team which is what you have to do to win the Allan Cup,” he said. “A bunch of us from Toronto came to play here but the fans cheered for us as their own which was inspiring.”

Lacrosse and hockey star Chad Thompson was inducted into the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category on Saturday night.

Thompson began playing lacrosse when he was four and moved up the ranks, playing with the Jr. A Rama Hammond Kings. In 2005 he won the John ‘Gus’ McAuley Award for the most valuable defensive player.

Thompson graduated to the Barrie Lakeshores Sr. A lacrosse team before playing professionally in the National Lacrosse League for Toronto, San Jose, Philadelphia, and Orlando.

Thompson was also a star hockey player, shining first with the Orillia Terriers in the Provincial Junior Hockey League as a 15-year-old.

In 2001, the defenceman was drafted 105th overall by the London Knights. He played five seasons and more than 200 regular season games in the OHL with the Knights, Barrie Colts, and Oshawa Generals.

“There are a lot of coaches along my journey who I owe any thanks to the success that I had growing up,” he said. “Each and every coach taught me something along the way that helped build me into the athlete that I was.”

Thompson says his favourite coach was his father.

“Until I got older my skill in most sports somehow allowed me to get away with things other coaches wouldn’t give me trouble for. You, on the other hand, found holes in my game and were open about it, and I now realize that you saw me for what I was and who I was,” he said, while looking at his father. “A kid that was good but had flaws that needed to be better.”

Thompson also credited his brother Troy for his success as an athlete.

“Thank you for teaching me as a kid all of the skills that you had already learned for the game,” he said. “Thank you for making me tougher. Those days in the basement scraping and blasting pucks at each other taught me to never be afraid of anyone or anything.”

Long-time Orillia Legion Minor Baseball coach Dean Heliotis was inducted as a builder on Saturday evening. Speaking on his behalf was his son Louis.

“Unfortunately, Dean passed away last November,” he said. “But I know he’s looking down with a big smile as he would have been extremely thrilled.”

Heliotis, who had a baseball diamond named after him at McKinnell Square in 1988, coached all different age and skill levels for over five decades.

“The time and passion that he put into the game that he loved would have made this recognition extremely meaningful for him,” Louis said. “What he loved most was taking all his knowledge and passing it onto others so they could improve their game.”

In 1969, Heliotis and his “great friend” Grant ‘Gander’ Ross coached the Orillia Juniors.

“The team had only won three games the previous year,” Louis said. “He saw lots of promise in the young players on that team.”

With Heliotis and Ross at the helm, the Juniors ended up in the York Simcoe League finals against the defending Ontario Senior A men’s champions, the Orillia Majors. The Juniors won the series in Game 7 in front of more than 2,400 fans at the Lions Oval. The following year, the Juniors won the Ontario championship.

“After four decades of coaching, it was this team that Deano always looked back on so fondly as one of his greatest accomplishments,” Louis said.

Heliotis also coached the 1992 Orillia bantams and the 1996 Fenelon Falls Raiders to Ontario crowns during his coaching career.

“Those were also significant achievements that he was proud of,” Louis said. “In between were countless York Simcoe League titles and tournament victories.”

Louis says his father was known for being “stern” with his players and using “colourful” language.

“He worked them hard and made them do things until they got it right,” he said. “Some would say he was relentless, but he just expected discipline and dedication.”

lan MacMillan was also inducted into the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame as a builder on Saturday night.

The long-time Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute teacher coached track and field and basketball from 1964 to 1996. He also coached the track team, football, and cross-country.

“I’d really like to thank both of my kids who spent countless hours at the track with me when they were growing up,” he said. “I’d like to thank the Sports Hall of Fame for honouring me with this award tonight.”

MacMillan won more than 1,100 games behind the bench on the basketball court and his cross-country athletes won countless medals at regional and provincial competitions.

“I had no idea that when I started my coaching career, I would be creating a relationship with my athletes, fellow coaches, and parents that would impact the rest of my life,” he said.

“People often ask what coaching meant for me, what did I get out of it, and why did I do it. Well, I’m competitive, I’m analytical, and I’m curious about some of those things that led to me being bitten by the coaching bug,” he explained.

In 1996, MacMillan earned the prestigious Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association’s Pete Beach Award and was recognized with the Government of Canada Celebration ’88 Medal.

MacMillan says his favourite part about coaching was watching “sports change kids’ lives.”

“The lessons they learned trickled into their everyday lives and successes later in life,” he said. “To this day it still keeps giving back to me.”

In MacMillan’s honour, a scholarship is given at Orillia Secondary School each year.

Original Article By: Tyler Evans
Site: Orillia Matters
Date: May 4, 2024
Link to Original: Link to Orillia Matters
Photo: Supplied Photos / Orillia Matters