The Barrie Sports Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2023 on Thursday with the following profiles:
PAUL HOPPER and MARTY MCCRONE (inductees — builder)
The duo of Paul Hopper and Marty McCrone have made their mark in the local basketball community for 30 years as co-founders of the Thunderhoops program. The two began their popular program when they were teachers at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia.
Paul Hopper has coached numerous Ontario basketball teams, including bronze-medal winners in Division 1 with the Barrie Royals major midget girls in 2008. He has also coached and mentored several athletes who have received Division 1 scholarships.
Hopper was a Marr Ross Award winner in 2015 for coaching excellence in Simcoe County with the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA).
Marty McCrone, meanwhile, has coached basketball for more than 30 years with elementary and high school teams in Simcoe County and won four GBSSA titles as a coach.
As a player, McCrone won four GBSSA titles and also played university basketball. He was also a member of team that represented Canada at the World Masters Games in Australia.
Hopper and McCrone have been inducted together due to their strong dedication in working together to enhance the game of basketball, as well as coach and mentor hundreds of athletes for many years in Simcoe County.
KRISTY ALFORD Alford (automatic inductee — athlete)
Kristy Alford is a very accomplished and decorated Special Olympics athlete.
In 2017, she won five gold medals and one silver in track and field at the provincial championships.
One year later, at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Alford won gold in the 100- and 200-metre track event. In that same year, she also excelled at the national summer games in Nova Scotia, winning three gold medals in track and field, which included team relay and mini javelin.
Alford continued with her desire to the next level the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2019, winning silver in 100-metre track and gold in javelin.
DON COULSON (John Crawley Lifetime Achievement)
Don Coulson, who passed away on Jan. 12 at the age of 89, had been active in the Barrie sports scene since he arrived to play on the 1947-48 All-Ontario/Eastern Canada midget team.
Coulson helped form the Barrie Minor Athletic Club hockey and baseball teams in 1947 and remained involved through the 1950s. He played shortstop on the Barrie Aces and then became the league representative for 12 years.
He also managed the Barrie Flyers Junior A team from 1952 to 1956 then helped to form an Intermediate A Falcons hockey club that jumped to the Senior A league and became Allan Cup champions.
Coulson was president of the Barrie Intermediate Fastball League from 1959 to 1964.
In the 1970s, he was also heavily involved with the Barrie Winter Carnival and Barrie Minor Baseball.
During his later years in hockey, Coulson was the co-founder of the Barrie Credit Union Oldtimers in 1975. The team travelled extensively throughout the United States and Europe.
BRIANNA PRENTICE (Athlete of the Year)
Brianna Prentice began playing Ultimate Frisbee at Innisdale Secondary School, having played on several successful teams at many levels.
Prentice says finds the social aspects of team play to be very rewarding, while also sharpening her skills and overall fitness.
She tried out for the 2019 under-20 national team, but did not make it. This didn’t discourage her, however. Hard work, endurance and perseverance paid off as she was selected to play on the Canadian National Ultimate Team that competed in the United Kingdom this past summer.
TIM CLARK (Jean McCann Unsung Hero Award)
Tim Clark was an 18-year volunteer with the Barrie Baycats baseball organization. He retired in 2021.
In 2003, Clark took on the tasks of the game scoring in the media booth and making in-game scoring decisions during Intercounty Baseball League games. He was a major contributor to the IBL and Baycats for transitioning to the current system of online score-keeping.
Clark also spent numerous hours producing the Baycats yearbook at season's end, while also compiling team and league stats.
Over the years, Clark never missed a game and is "truly a hero behind the scenes."
MIKE LAYCOCK (inductee — athlete)
Mike Laycock was born in Barrie and developed as a goaltender during his years with the Barrie Minor Hockey Association.
Laycock was a member of the 1971-72 major bantam AA and 1972-73 minor midget AA teams that won back-to-back Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) championships.
He made the jump to junior hockey in 1974, playing for the Barrie Colts Junior B team and was named the team’s most valuable player.
In 1975, Laycock accepted a scholarship to attend the Ivy League’s Brown University, located in Providence, R.I.
In the Eastern College Athletic Conference's 1977-78 season, Laycock was named to the First-Team All-Ivy, First-Team All-ECAC and First-Team All-American college hockey teams. He was inducted into the Brown Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
Laycock was selected in the 12th round of the 1977 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. In 1979, he attended the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team's selection camp before attending the Flyers' training camp. He was assigned to the Hampton Aces of the Eastern Hockey League.
Laycock was also an outstanding baseball/fastball player. In 1975, he was the youngest member of the Barrie Red Sox, which represented Ontario at the Canadian Baseball Championships in Vancouver. He was also an all-star fastball catcher for various teams, winning several league championships and an Ontario Amateur Softball Association Intermediate AA championship in 1978.
In 1992, he was a member of the Barrie team which represented Ontario at the National Masters Slo-pitch Tournament in Calgary.
With his competitive days of baseball and hockey behind him, Laycock returned to his roots and became a coach in the Barrie Minor Baseball and Barrie Minor Hockey Associations for 10 years.