Hall of Fame

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame 

Formed in 1999, the purpose of the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame is to honour and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of players, coaches, officials, and members of the provincial rugby community whose dedication and competitive achievements have brought lasting fame to the sport of rugby in Ontario.

To date, 67 individuals and two teams have been inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame.

For eligibility requirements and more information, visit:

2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner

15 November, 2015


, ON) – In an evening that celebrated decades worth of Ontario rugby excellence, four worthy individuals and two dynastic teams were inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame this past Saturday.

Held at a ceremony in Mississauga, Ont., David Harris, Bob ‘Red’ Lipsett, Dave Lougheed, Tony McGann, the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club 1st XV (1962-1973), and the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club 1st XV (1986-1992) were honoured as the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. The six inductees represented the thirteenth group of provincial enshrinees, joining 63 previous inductees into the Hall of Fame.

“The contributions and achievements made by these four individuals throughout the lengthy time they spent building the sport of rugby in Ontario make them an integral part of our history. They are joined by two of the most prolific and dynastic club teams our province has ever produced, making for a very deserving class of inductees,” said David Butler, Rugby Ontario Chairman. “The Rugby Ontario Board of Directors was proud to unanimously approve the Selection Committee’s recommendation for their induction into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame.”

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame, Class of 2015:

David Harris

Few individuals have been as woven into the fabric of rugby in Ontario as David Harris.

Harris honed his rugby leadership skills in the 1960s, playing an instrumental role in reestablishing a men’s rugby program at the University of Waterloo (1966-1970) when studying at the institution. The team helped to grow the game in the Waterloo community, participating in the Ontario Sevens and the Wanderers Road Race, and engaging Waterloo’s co-op students throughout the year.

After joining the teaching staff at Markham District High School in 1973, Harris introduced rugby to the school in 1975, and would spend the better part of three decades developing and coaching programs for MDHS’ young men and women (1975-2003).

A player for the Toronto Barbarians for more than a decade (1970-1980), Harris saw an opportunity to introduce club rugby to the growing communities of York Region when he founded the Markham Rugby Club in 1980. Harris served the club selflessly, volunteering in roles ranging from president (a position he held for three separate three-year terms) to club referee, and everything in between. The club founder, ever-dedicated, remained playing until 2006, by which point the club was fully entrenched within Markham’s community. Following Markham Rugby Club’s merger with the Irish Canadian Rugby Club in 2010, Harris’ legacy can now be found within the foundational roots of the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club.

Through his determined effort and passion for the game, Harris inspired hundreds of young rugby players to fall in love with the sport.

Bob ‘Red’ Lipsett

As a player, coach, and ambassador of the sport, Bob Lipsett has been a key member of the Ontario rugby community for close to 60 years. 

Lipsett was introduced to rugby as a student at Malvern Collegiate Institute, and joined Balmy Beach in 1957 as a teenager, where he would embark upon an incredible 24-year playing career (1957-1980). The venerable prop’s club career was highlighted by captaining the Beach to the 1968 Carling Cup and 1969 Ontario League titles – the club’s first provincial cup and league championships. Lipsett also featured on the Ontario senior provincial team several times throughout the late-1960s and early-1970s.

A legendary coach at the high school level, Lipsett established and developed a rugby program at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute in 1966, introducing the sport to several hundred East Toronto youth over his 35 years involved with the program. Lipsett’s charges notably won the 1988 OFSAA Boys Rugby title.

In keeping with his commitment to grassroots rugby, for 37 years, Lipsett has continued to organize the annual Cedarbrae ‘Champagne’ Reunion match that supports a bursary fund for the school’s rugby grads moving into post-secondary education.

Lipsett’s dedication to the sport of rugby in Ontario has been unwavering, with the man affectionately known as ‘Red’ having tirelessly spent decades promoting the game at all levels.

Dave Lougheed

There are very few Ontario-born rugby players who have amassed as many achievements on the international stage as Dave Lougheed.

Upon the completion of his sterling 14-year national playing career in 2003, the versatile back earned 34 caps and scored seven tries in all tests for Canada, and notably featured in four Rugby World Cups (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003) and two Rugby World Cup Sevens (1993, 1997). Lougheed’s fine play also saw him selected to feature for the prestigious Barbarians in a match against his future club, Leicester Tigers (1995).

The Toronto-born Lougheed got his start in rugby as a student at Northern Secondary School (1982-1986), before reaching post-secondary success at Queen’s University, where he led the institution to five consecutive provincial championships (1986-1990).

Lougheed’s club career took off with a spell at Toronto Welsh (1987-1993) before joining Balmy Beach (1993-1998), where he helped lead the club to a McCormick Cup title (1997). Lougheed also enjoyed a 12-year provincial team career (1987-1998), helping to guide Ontario to back-to-back national championships in 1995 and 1996.

At the professional level, Lougheed starred for Leicester (1998-2000), earning 50 caps and scoring 28 tries for the English club, en route to Premiership titles in 1999 and 2000. He ended his professional career with fellow Premiership side Gloucester (2000).

Since the completion of his playing career, Lougheed has remained involved in the sport, holding coaching positions with the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University men’s rugby programs (2001-2010), and serving on Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors (2009-2013).

A remarkable player for his province and country, Lougheed will forever hold the distinction of being one of the first Ontario-born rugby superstars. 

Tony McGann

From the moment he arrived in Toronto after immigrating from Liverpool in 1979, Tony McGann was passionate, talented, and above all, an immensely successful player within the Ontario rugby community.

McGann began his Ontario rugby career by captaining his Woburn Collegiate Institute team (1979, 1980), before finding success at the post-secondary level with the University of Toronto, where he helped guide the Varsity Blues to an OUAA title (1980).

After graduating from the national championship-winning Ontario under-19 provincial team (1980), McGann represented Ontario on the senior provincial team for 10 years (1981-1990), and was a key member of the provincial side that won the 1982 National Championship over British Columbia.

McGann’s club career began with Toronto Welsh (1980-1985), where he captained the club to an Ontario League title (1983) and three Ontario Sevens titles (1983-1985). 

McGann later joined Balmy Beach (1986-1990), where success soon followed; the scrum-half helped lead the Beach to four consecutive McCormick Cup titles (1986-1989) and an Ontario Sevens title (1990).

Through his exemplary play at the provincial and club levels, McGann earned two caps for Canada (1985), while also touring with the national team to England (1983), Argentina (1990) and New Zealand (1990). Always versatile, he also represented Canada at the 1985 Hong Kong Sevens.

After moving to the east coast in 1990, McGann’s outstanding rugby career continued until 2002. Forever a walking ambassador of the game, McGann’s love of the sport has hardly diminished; he now serves as a coach with Swilers RFC’s mini rugby program.

Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club 1st XV - 1962-1973

The Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club 1
st XV, then known as the Irish Canadians, enjoyed one of the most dominant periods in Ontario club rugby history, putting together a 12-year dynasty (1962-1973) that featured an extensive list of championships and achievements.

The Irish Canadians won six Ontario League titles (1962, 1963, 1968, 1971-1973), six Carling Cup titles (1965-1967, 1969-1971), and one Ontario Sevens title (1971) over their 12-year span of continued success; their historic 1971 triple-championship season marked just the second occurrence of an Ontario Triple Crown.

More than 20 players from this era represented Ontario and Canada in provincial championships and international games. These individuals include: Michael Ameli, Eamonn Browner, George Carson, Tony Doran, Graham Desson, Wally DeVille, Geoff Ellwand, Terry Farrell, Bill Granleese, Trevor Hawkes, Orr Johnson, Alan Kinghan, Alan Maxwell, John McKenna, Carl Moore, Joe Murphy, Tom O’Morchoe, Bert Reid, Geoff Relph, Eddie Robinson, David Simpson, Graham Street, and George Wraw.

Ottawa Irish Rugby Club 1st XV - 1986-1992

The Ottawa Irish Rugby Club 1
st XV produced one of the most successful eras in Ontario club rugby history, notching 13 provincial titles over their seven-year dynasty (1986-1992), while producing and featuring numerous players selected for Canadian national teams in the process.

The Ottawa Irish won an unprecedented seven consecutive Ontario League titles (1986-1992) – a feat that has never been matched – as well as two McCormick Cup titles (1990, 1991) and four Ontario Sevens titles (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992; 1990 consolation winners) throughout their seven-year span of sheer dominance; their historic 1991 triple-championship season represented just the third occurrence of an Ontario Triple Crown, and the club would go on to duplicate their Triple Crown in 1996. Prior to the club’s seven-year golden era, the Irish won the McCormick Cup on three occasions (1982-1984) and finished as finalists in the years they weren’t able to bring the cup back to Ottawa.

Besides seeing numerous members feature for Ontario senior provincial sides throughout the dynasty, members of the Ottawa Irish who were capped for Canada or selected for national squads include: John Billingsley, Norm Carr, Al Charron, Mike Clarkin, Steve Gray, and Karl Svoboda (having played one season for the Irish). Members of the Irish who played for Canada ‘A’ and junior national sides include: Pierre Duey, Jim Purchase, and Brian Watson.

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Inductees:


Paul Ambrose (2007)

George Jones (1999)

Ian Nicoll (2005)

Hedley Benyon (2006)

Ken Jones (2008)

George Pay (2000)

David Boswell (1999)

Kevin Jones (2007)

Allen Piggott (2013)

Simon Blackwell (2008)

Ron Jones (2001)

John Platts (2002)

John Brown (1999)

Trevor Jones (2013)

Tony Postlethwaite (2006)

Eamonn Browner (2001)

Vince Jones (1999)

John Reich (2013)

David Burnett (2013)

Helen Kaira (2006)

Dai Rhys-Jones (2000)

George Carson (2000)

Chris Krause (2000)

Hal Rowan (1999)

Al Charron (2006)

Bob Lipsett (2015)

John Russell (2001)

Brian Chatland (2008)

Dave Lougheed (2015)

Ken Smith (2002)

Bill Curtis (2004)

Bishop G. Marshall (1999)

Karl Svoboda (2014)

Norm Donaldson (1999)

Ian MacMillan (2014)

David Swift (2003)

Anthony Earl (2000)

Jim McCann (2005)

Glenn Tarver (2008)

Bob Elder (2004)

Vic McCormick (2001)

Heather Vesh (2005)

Denis Fletcher (2002)

Tony McGann (2015)

Natascha Wesch (2007)

Arthur Fowler (2000)

Bob McGeein (2008)

Phil White (2014)

Iain Greig (2008)

Rev. Fred Miller (1999)

Brian Williams (1999)

John Guilfoyle (2003)

Gina Minutillo (2003)

Mike Williams (2014)

David Harris (2015)

Ed Mitchell (2003)

Paul Wilson (2007)

Monty Heald (2004)

Malcolm ‘Mac’ Mitchell (2006)

Stan Woodburn (2001)

James Hugh (2001)

Ron Moss (2006)

Millar Young (2002)

Bob Illman (2007)

Larry Nancekivell (2002)

Murray Young (2004)

Robert Jenkins (2014)


Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club 1st XV; 1962-1973 (2015)

Ottawa Irish Rugby Club 1st XV; 1986-1992 (2015)

About Rugby Ontario:

Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to promote, govern, and develop rugby at all levels in a safe, affordable and enjoyable environment within the province of Ontario.

There are more than 10,000 Rugby Ontario members registered with 65 rugby clubs located across the province, with participation in age grades ranging from minor (age 6+) to masters (age 35+) in male and female divisions.

For more information, visit 

About the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame:

Formed in 1999, the purpose of the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame is to honour and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of players, coaches, officials, and members of the provincial rugby community whose dedication and competitive achievements have brought lasting fame to the sport of rugby in Ontario.

To date, 67 individuals and two teams have been inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame.

For eligibility requirements and more information, visit:


For more information, please contact: 

Brock Smith
Communications Coordinator
Rugby Ontario
(647) 560-4790 x106

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Supplementary Documents:

Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame Guidelines

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