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Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame enshrines Class of 2023

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Five more individuals have been inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2023 is made up of Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young and former Ticats star lineman Ellison Kelly, who was inducted posthumously.

Also getting the call to the hall are soccer player Melissa Tancredi, boxing champion Jessica Rakoczy, and Hamilton Spectator sports reporter Bob Hanley (posthumously).

Young is credited with resurrecting the Tiger-Cats from bankruptcy when he purchased the floundering Canadian Football League franchise in 2003. The team was a franchise-worst 1-17 that season.

Despite saving the franchise, Young admits his induction is “truly bizarre.”

“Sports halls of fame are supposed to be about athletic excellence and I am the very definition of the opposite of athletic excellence,” said Young.

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Showing love to lifelong Ticats fans 🥺🫶#Ticats | #CFL

— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) October 24, 2023

When he was informed of his election by the hall of fame, Young had thought “they got the wrong Bob Young.”

Young is also one of the driving forces behind Canada’s five-year old professional soccer league. His Forge FC will be vying for its unprecedented fourth Canadian Premier League championship on Saturday night at Tim Hortons Field when they host Cavalry FC.

Kelly starred for the Ticats from 1960 to 1970 and won three Grey Cup titles in Hamilton before he ended his football career with the Toronto Argonauts from 1971 to 1972. The four-time CFL all-star was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

Tancredi won two Olympic bronze medals with the Canadian women’s national team, scoring four goals at the 2012 tournament in London and added two more tallies at the 2016 Games in Brazil. The Ancaster, Ont., native also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and represented Canada at three World Cups in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

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“I’m actually shocked that I was included in this,” said Rakoczy, a six-time world lightweight boxing champion. “I’m extremely honoured and humbled. I honestly feel like this is the biggest achievement that I’ve ever had in my whole life.”

Rakoczy, who now works as a use of force instructor with Peel Regional Police, says she fell in love with boxing from the first time she stepped into the ring. Her career record is 33 wins and three losses.

Hanley was an award-winning journalist who spent 47 years at the Hamilton Spectator. He covered the Tiger-Cats, the Toronto Maple Leafs, FIFA World Cup and the 1972 Munich Olympics. He was inducted into the Football Reporters of Canada section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

Past Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame inductees include football stars Russ Jackson and Angelo Mosca, swimmer Joanne Malar, hockey icons Pat Quinn and Dave Andreychuk, former basketball referee Ron Foxcroft, golfer Florence Harvey and track champion Cecilia Carter-Smith.