Pickering hurdler, Oshawa lacrosse legend showcase Ontario Sports Hall of Fame inductees

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Published February 13, 2023 at 11:05 am

A world champion hurdler and one of the greatest lacrosse players in history headline the newest entrants into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

Pickering’s Perdita Felicien, one of Canada’s most decorated track and field athletes, got the nod this year, along with lacrosse legend Gaylor Powless, a doctor noted for his research into spinal cord injuries and concussions in sport, a veteran NHL referee and seven other athletes.

Felicien is a two-time Olympian, two-time World Champion and 10-time national champion in the 100-metre hurdles who competed in the 200 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

She won her first world championship in the 100-metre hurdles in 2003 and followed that performance with a silver medal at the 2003 Pan-American Games, after which she was named Outstanding Canadian Athlete of the Year and the NCAA Female Track Athlete of the Year.

Felicien is the first Canadian woman to win an individual medal in track at the IAAF World Championships and also set the national record in the event (12.46 seconds) in June 2004.

She would represent Canada once more at the IAAF world outdoor championships in Berlin in 2009, making the 100-metre hurdles final once again. Then, in 2010, she earned the silver medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha.  In total, Felicien wore the Canadian singlet at four world outdoor championships between 2001 and 2009.

Gaylord Powless was a generational talent from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford who led the Oshawa Green Gaels to Minto Cup national junior championships all four years he played on the club and added a Mann Cup for senior glory in 1971.

Powless, who lived most of his life at Six Nations, transcended the sport and became one of Canada’s most famous athletes in the 1960s and 1970s.

Powless was the oldest of 14 children, and through the urging of their father, would run along the roads of the reserve with his brothers to build up their lungs and legs to compete in lacrosse.

Through hard work and hours of practice, Powless developed backhand passes so accurate that he could hit his teammates’ sticks without even looking.

Powless became the signature player on the Green Gaels’ junior lacrosse dynasty of the 1960s and shattered the Ontario junior league scoring record in his sophomore year with the team.

Powless also became a marquee player in three different professional leagues.

Gaylord Powless. Photo: Powless family

Other inductees this year include hockey player Jayna Hefford, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and current Chair of the Professional Women’s Hockey Federation; Paralympian and six-time wheelchair racing world champion Jeff Adams; 16 year-old swimming sensation Summer McIntosh (already a three-time world champion); Dr. Charles Tater, a scientist, neurosurgeon and pioneer into spinal cord injury research; two-time World Champion curler Marilyn Bodogh, former NHL star (and now president of MLSE) Brendan Shanahan; long-time NHL referee Bryan Lewis, legendary Toronto Maple Leafs broadcaster Joe Bowen, former NHL player Steve Ludzik, who has dedicated his life to helping those with Parkinson’s Disease with the Steve Ludzik Foundation; and the 1959 World Hockey Champion Belleville McFarlands.

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