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Prince Edward Island has seen many residents achieve significant success in sport. Most recently, Charles Cahillpro-golfer Lorie Kane has been driving her way to fame in the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (L.P.G.A.) Furthermore, during the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Dave “Eli” MacEachern slid his way to Gold in the two-man bobsled. Originally from the Kensington area, Anna Pendergast played on Canada’s national basketball team. Perhaps the greatest sources of pride in Island communities, though, are the Island hockey players who have made it to the professional ranks—the National Hockey League (NHL). Charles Cahill was the first, playing for Boston in 1925. Some other Island NHL-ers include: Dave Cameron, Gerard “Turk” Gallant, Forbes “Forbie” Kennedy, Alan MacAdam, Bobby MacMillan, Errol Thompson, and Rick Vaive.

Innumerable Islanders have made tremendous contributions to sport within the province as indicated by the over 100 individuals and teams who have been inducted in the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame. Some of these inductees include Evelyn (Henry) Brown, Barbara McNeill, James T. Hogan, Forbes “Forbie” Kennedy, and Charlie Ryan.

Inducted in 1973, Evelyn (Henry) Brown is the first swimmer to conquer the Northumberland Strait. On July 15, 1951, she swam against the strong Northumberland tide from Cape Tormentine to Port Borden in 8 hours and 26 minutes, nourished only with fruit juice and a couple of sandwiches. Aged 25 at the time of her swim, Evelyn Brown’s feat was to be duplicated by her daughter Andrea.

Barbara McNeill faced a similar challenge, crossing the Strait 22 miles from Jourimaine Island, New Brunswick, to the Summerside Yacht Club in 11.5 hours on July 22, 1987. However, this was not to be McNeill’s greatest feat. During her first attempts to cross the English Channel in 1988, she was pulled from the water after 17.5 hours, with only 4 kilometres left before she would reach the French shore. The following week, she made a second attempt, but voluntarily left the water to assist a fellow swimmer who had suffered a heart attack. On August 24, 1989, after 17 gruelling hours in the water, buffeted by a Force Seven gale, McNeill became the fifteenth Canadian and first Atlantic Canadian to conquer the English Channel.

James T. Hogan is considered by the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame to be one of the best friends sport on Prince Edward Island has ever had. Born in Summerside in 1918, Hogan showed great skill in speed skating, hockey, and baseball and was to become Summerside’s first Physical Fitness Director. He initiated Summerside’s recreation and athletic associations and is credited with establishing the city’s first full-time programs in minor hockey and little league baseball. In addition, he coached several high school rugby and track teams and was a well-recognized baseball umpire and hockey referee, receiving offers from the Maritime “Big Four” and the National Hockey League.

Forbes “Forbie” Kennedy is a notorious outlaw in professional hockey. He started off playing junior hockey in Halifax, followed by a year with the Montreal Junior Canadiens. In his last year of junior play, he was traded to Chicago and eventually went on to play with Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and, finally, Toronto. As a testimony to his infamy, during the 1968–69 season (the year Bobby Hull set his record 58 goals in a season), Forbie led the league with 219 penalty minutes. Upon his return to Prince Edward Island, he began coaching junior hockey and consistently guided his teams to the top of the league.

Prince Edward Island’s “Mr. Baseball” will always be Charlie Ryan. He has been recognized as an athlete, coach, manager, umpire, executive, and Toronto Blue Jays regional scout. A ‘natural’ athlete, Ryan could play every position on the diamond. Following his return to Canada after the Second World War, he established himself as an all-star catcher and pitcher and the leading first baseman in the Maritimes. Charlie Ryan was Recreation Director for Charlottetown from 1966 until his retirement in 1986 and has a Hillsborough Rotary Club award named after him.

Link to list of inductees in the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame.

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