ANNIE SILVESTER/Bullet News
Sherry Boone said Sunday her husband Hank never wavered in his loyalty to Canada and his hometown.
Accepting his induction plaque for the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame, she recalled offers he received to coach and train boxers overseas.
“He was offered millions of dollars to go to Kuwait and not as much in Japan to go train their boxers,” Sherry said. “But he refused because he said, ‘I can’t train them to beat up Canadians.’ ”
Hank Boone, who died in a car accident in 2011, was one of two athletes, five builders and three teams honoured at the Gale Centre ceremony. Each inductee was nominated by a member of the public and then voted on by the Sports Wall of Fame Committee.
The presentations were made in front of a crowd of a couple hundred and included acceptance speeches that often thanked supportive families and paid tribute to the sports scene in Niagara Falls.
“He would be very honoured that the city is recognizing his hard work,” Sherry Boone continued. “He certainly didn’t make any money from it. It came from his own pocket, but he would be so honoured.”
Bruce Stiefelmeyer was inducted as a basketball builder. He coached and played in local leagues for twenty years until becoming the recruiting coordinator for the University of Western Ontario.
He joked to the group that his sport of choice had a habit of “making him thirsty” after the games, and he thanked his wife Betty for the many years of understanding during “those many late nights.” But he then turned to his fondness for the area.
“The City of Niagara Falls has been a great place to live, to raise and educate our children and to provide sporting opportunities in the various activities that are available around here.”
Three teams were inducted, including the1945 Niagara Falls Collegiate Vocational Institute rugby champions. Three members were present to accept their awards.
There was a special tribute for Niagara Falls native Mike Strange, originally inducted in 1988 for his extensive boxing contributions. But but as Sports Wall of Fame committee chairwoman Paisley Janvary-Pool put it: “He has made a significant number of additional accomplishments to his portfolio since that time, and so we’re taking down the old plaque and putting up the new one.”
On top of his involvement as an 11-time member of the national boxing team, Strange has used his influence to do great work for those in need. His Box Run across Canada raised thousands of dollars for childhood cancer research.
“It’s such a great honour and it’s such a great thing that Niagara Falls is doing with this Wall of Fame,” Strange said. “There are so many special inductees here this year. Looking and watching these older gentlemen from the 50s, you see the smile and the glow they have on that they’ve been honoured and are getting emotional.
“That’s what this is all about. Honouring these great athletes and builders and even myself. Niagara Falls is such a special place. It is my home.”
Barry Mitchelson-Athlete-Basketball/Football Pre 1970 Era
Niagara Falls Collegiate Vocational Institute, Senior Rugby Team 1945 Pre 1970 Era
Stamford Collegiate Senior Boy’s Basketball Team 1955, Pre 1970 Era
Hank A. Boone, Builder-Boxing 1971-1990 Era
Bruce Stiefelmeyer, Builder-Basketball, 1971-1990 Era
Rick Oreskovich, Joe Oreskovich and Stan Reid, Builders-Football, 1991-Present Era
Jarrod Skalde, Athlete-Hockey, 1991-Present Era
Niagara Falls Mister Transmission Midget Boys Fastball Team, 1991, Team-Fastball, 1991-Present Era