Hall of Fame induction brings back Championship memories
For the city of Owen Sound, one night in May of 2011 will forever be remembered as one of the most exciting evenings of all time.
Fast forward seven years, and the Owen Sound Attack’s 1st – and to date only – J. Ross Robertson Cup will not just be a memory of one of the best years of hockey in Grey Bruce, but it will now be a moment enshrined in Owen Sound sports history.
On Friday, May 4, the Owen Sound Attack’s 2010-11 Championship squad was inducted into the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame, alongside a collection of 12 other athletes, builders, and teams.
A total of 13 players on that team were in attendance at the ceremony at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, and for many it was the 1st time back in Owen Sound since winning the OHL title.
And while it may have been the first return to their 2nd home, in nearly a decade, it didn’t take long for the same old jokes and memories to come flooding back.
“It’s really cool to see where everyone is at in life,” said Jordan Binnington, who helped backstop the Attack to their championship.
“It’s seven years later and the same jokes are happening, everyone is laughing. We’re still really close and it just goes to show the lifetime of relationships you can build in this league.”
For Rob Mignardi, the Playoff MVP in the 2011 run, it was emotional to be back in the same room with the guys he battled alongside.
“All of the memories come flooding back. This feeling is indescribable,” he said, noting how special this particular group of players was.
“Of everything I’ve done in my life, the three most special days are winning championships. It’s a fantastic experience when you’re going through it. This is a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life and is something that I can always look back on and be motivated and inspired by.”
Now, with the team enshrined in the Owen Sound Spots Hall of Fame, Attack General Manager Dale DeGray – who constructed the 2011 squad – says it is a memory that will not only motivate and inspire the players who were a part of the team, but also others in the Grey Bruce area.
“It’s always a great feeling when you get recognized for anything,” he said.
“Now, we’ll be forever linked to Owen Sound. It’s a credit to the kids and what they were willing to accomplish and do to get through that year.”
And being linked to Owen Sound is something that many of the players will always hold special.
For Kurtis Gabriel, his time in the Scenic City was so meaningful that his mom chose to move to the area even after he stopped playing for the Attack.
“It’s so special to be back,” he said, noting how supportive the community is.
“I was 17 when this happened. I was as green as you can get and this is a huge memory for me.”
That notion was echoed by Binnington, who said that being inducted into the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame is more meaningful because of the team’s connection with the city.
“This was a great city to play for. It’s a small town and you really get to know the community. Seeing the fans travelling down to Mississauga for the Championship Series was awesome. This is a great time for the city,” he said.
And for the players, as special as it was to be honoured and recognized again for their accomplishments that year, it was even more special to once again see how much they meant to the community.
“This is the top memory off the ice that has ever happened to me,” Gabriel said of the Hall of Fame induction.
“This is a special moment to be a part of something that this town will never forget and to be a part of the first team in Owen Sound that ever won a championship, it’s just amazing to see this support. We couldn’t be more thankful.”