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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Michael “Bunny” Larocque, Hockey
Veteran hockey goalie Michel “Bunny” Larocque supplied a different view to the Associated Canadian Travellers Sportsman’s Dinner top athlete.
There is always an element of doubt or surprise in the athlete of the year voting because of the talent available.
“With all the good athletes coming to the dinner, winning the trophy is a very great thrill,” said the 67’s junior hockey goalie, the first from the club paid the honour and the first of three athletes to be named athlete of the year on their first nomination. The other pair were runner Glenda Reiser and paddler-skier Sue Holloway. And in front of him filling out a back-to-back double was skier Betsy Clifford.
As the man said because of the athlete talent available, Larocque wasn’t without quality credentials himself when he claimed the 1971 award.
During the regular season he permitted the opposition only 3.39 goals per game and turned in five shutouts, an unusually high number for a junior goalie.
He was one better in the playoffs recording three consecutive shutouts against Hamilton, a feat last accomplished in the National Hockey League by Toronto’s Frank McCool against Detroit in the 1945 Stanley Cup final — still and all that, the teams went to seven games to pick a winner.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (BOB MAKI TROPHY)
Mike Scott, paddling
Mike Scott has done it all.
So where does one start when the Rideau Canoe Club’s past commodore is the subject?
Do you start with his 25 years as commodore, which he ended last year?
Do you start with what he termed was a 20-year fight for decent facilities with the city and the NCC?
Do you talk about the classic political stroke — hanging the CCA Burgee (championship flag), in city council chambers on the excuse they had no place else to hang it?
Do you talk about his paddling travels?
Do you talk about his interest in the athletes? He was in Los Angeles when Sue Holloway won her silver and bronze Olympic medals.
Do you mention he has been the only one to win an ACT sports trophy and sportsman of the year award (The Maki Trophy in 1971)?
Do you talk about his fitness exploits, particularly his attempt to give hockey player Yvan Joly a second chance at a potentially exciting hockey career?
Do you talk about his running marathons, his cross-country skiing or his amateur boxing?
Or do you talk about a commodore and his wife who were chauffeured by a limousine to a club banquet at the command of appreciative club members?
What about his introducing the current rage, the triathlon, to Ottawa… His three-sport combination was canoeing, cycling and running.
He’s even torn up a City Tax Bill.
Do you talk about his retirement?
Well, where do you start?
Baseball — Don Collison
Boxing — Paul Seguin
Equestrian — Wendy Irvine
Fencing — Richard Perebski
Figure Skating — Lynn Nightingale
Football — Jeannot Rodrigue
Gymnastics — Bruce Medd
Golf — Greg Olson
Hockey — Bunny Larocque
Judo — Al Takahashi
Paddling — Bruce Raymond, Dave Joyce
Rowing — Steve Wilson, Gord Wilson, Tom Medaglia, Phil Bradley
Shooting — Alain Marion
Skiing — Betsy Clifford
Speed Skating —- Gerry Cassan
Softball — Babe Boivin
Trap and Skeet — Marg Burdette
Track and Field — Penny Werthner
Water Skiing — Pat Messner
Wrestling — Claude Pilon
Bruce Raymond and Dave Joyce, scholastic rivals at Brookfield and Merivale respectively, join up as a tandem under Rideau Canoe Club banners and were good enough to make the national team… Joyce wrote a headline of a different type some years later rescuing a young ? from an Ottawa River ice floe… Minto Skating Club’s Lynn Nightingale accepted her first of six consecutive dinner invitations… On the way up, she came as Canadian junior figure skating champion… Another on the way up was water skier Pat Messner… She was to give a water skiing exhibition at the Munich Olympics and come back to the dinner as world champion in 1979… Baseball player of the year was Brockville’s Little League Baseball infielder, Dan Collison… Collison would later move up to the tough Inter-County League and more than hold his own…