‘Elite’ rugby player and golf club founder join sports hall of fame
The 2022 Aurora Sports Hall of Fame inductees are swimmer Janice Jones (Shepp), rugby player Marco Di Girolamo, baseball lawyer David Giroux, golf club founder Colin Nisbet
Pioneers in the pool, on the diamond, on the field and on the links are part of the class of 2022 of the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame.
Included this year are champion swimmer Janice Jones (Shepp), rugby player Marco Di Girolamo, baseball lawyer David Giroux and, posthumously, Colin Nisbet, founder of the Highlands Golf & Country Club.
The Aurora Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) class of 2022 was announced at the June 7 board meeting, where they were hailed as trailblazers, trailblazers and builders in their respective fields.
The first inductee to be announced was Di Girolamo who has been hailed as “among rugby’s elite players across the world.
He started the sport at the age of 15 and has represented Canada 21 times, including at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the World Games in Japan.
He has been a member of Aurora Barbarians rugby club since 1993, where he was named player of the year 10 times, leading the club to five consecutive league championship titles and three provincial cups.
As president of the Aurora Minor Baseball Association (now known as the Aurora King Baseball Association, or AKBA), David Giroux was recognized as a builder in the local baseball community.
ASHOF said the association had tripled in size under his leadership and raised thousands and thousands of dollars to keep costs low for participants. He was also recognized as one of the founding members of the York Simcoe Interlock Baseball Association and as one of the founders of Sport Aurora when it was formed in 2005.
“With his diligence, knowledge and drive, Dave worked with City of Aurora staff to establish, plan and construct a second full-size diamond and finally open the Stewart Burnett Diamond in August 2010,” said the ‘ASHOF. “Dave took Stewart Burnett as ‘his baby’, devoting many evenings and weekends dragging the diamond, fixing the pitching mound or filling and fixing baselines and home plate.”
His work has gone beyond the traditional diamond award, founding BlastBall to encourage children as young as five to engage in healthy activity.
Swimmer Janice Jones (née Shepp), who holds multiple swimming records, was also inducted into the athlete category.
She began her athletic career in 1958, placing second in the 100 meter breaststroke at the Summer Nationals and third at the Commonwealth Swimming Trials.
She ended the decade the following year by setting a record in the same category at the Pan American Trials in Brantford and winning a silver medal at the Pan American Games.
In 1991, she began her work as a local sports builder, joining Masters Swimming, where she continued to set records and collect medals.
“Jan has lived in Aurora since 1973 and brings her experience and voice regarding state-of-the-art aquatic facilities to our community,” ASHOF said.
Colin Nisbet, who is posthumously inducted into the Aurora Hall of Fame as a Golf Builder, completes the Class of 2022.
At the age of 63, Nisbet, who considered greenhouses his core business, started a new chapter by buying the neglected Aurora Golf Course and turning it into the Highlands Golf and Country Club.
The club expanded under his leadership in 1952, doubling the size of the nine-hole course.
After selling Highlands in 1956, he set his sights east with a series of smaller courses.
“Colin S. ‘Pop’ Nisbet’s passion for golf and his decision to purchase the original golf course changed the face of golf in the town of Aurora forever.”
The Class of 2022 will officially participate in the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame’s annual induction dinner this fall.
Brock Weir is a federally funded Local Journalism Initiative reporter at The Auroran