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Water Polo Canada announces the Class of 2023 to be inducted into the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame

Mar. 15, 2023

Ottawa, March 15, 2023 - Water Polo Canada (WPC) is proud to announce the second class of members who will be inducted into the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame (CWPHOF) in 2023.

Following the nomination process, the CWPHOF Committee selected eight inductees who will officially enter the CWPHOF during an induction ceremony to be held Saturday, July 8, in Montreal. More details will be communicated later.

Members of the 2023 class to be inducted into the CWPHOF are:

  • Paul Pottier (Athlete) - Hamilton, ON (now located in Kitchener-Waterloo)
  • Robert Couillard (Coach) - Montreal, QC
  • Gaétan Turcotte (Official) - Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough, QC (deceased in 2022)
  • Claude Lavoie (Builder) - Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough, QC
  • 1981 Canadian Women’s World Cup Team (Team)
  • Hamilton Aquatic Club (1947-1966 era) (Club)
  • Clifford Barry (Distinguished Alumni) - Montreal, QC (deceased in 2021)
  • Jimmy Thompson (Historical Figure) - Hamilton, ON (deceased in 1966)

More details on each of the 2023 inductees are available below.

"The Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame's Class of 2023 represents the second outstanding grouping of eight inductees from the sport's rich history," said CWPHOF Committee Chair David Hart. "This year, the Hall of Fame and Alumni celebration moves eastward to the birthplace of Canadian water polo, Montreal. It was along the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Lachine, Quebec, in 1886, that a handful of mostly Scottish expatriates brought the sport to Canada. Mark the date of July 8, 2023 in your calendar and come join us for the celebration. More details to follow soon!"

"I would like to congratulate everyone selected to the 2023 class of inductees, and I look forward to celebrating their important contributions to our sport this summer in Montreal," said WPC President Kathleen Dawson. "I would also like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee for their ongoing commitment to this important initiative.”

The CWPHOF aims to recognize former and current athletes, coaches, referees, professional staff and volunteers for their significant contributions to both water polo in Canada and the sport’s community at large. The Committee Members included David Hart (Chair), Bill Meyer (Water Polo Canada Liaison), Mark Block, Marie-Claude Deslières, Noah Miller, Christine Robinson, Bill Shaw and Marilyn Thorington.

More information on the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame, including past inductees, is available at

2023 Inductees to the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame
Paul Pottier (Athlete)
A two-time Olympian, in 1976 and 1984, Paul Pottier was a prolific goal scorer on the Canadian and international scene. His 12-goal performance at the 1976 Olympics placed him among the top-4 water polo athletes in the world. Paul was a member of the Hamilton water polo dynasty of the 1970's, won numerous Canadian and OUA titles, and was considered the dominant offensive threat of his era.

Robert Couillard (Coach)
A 2008 Olympian, Robert Couillard led CAMO water polo teams to multiple Canadian and provincial titles at every conceivable level. Robert's impressive coaching career, which spanned four decades, is among the most notable of any Canadian coach in the sport's history. Thanks to Robert's work, the Canadian Men's National Team programs were supplied with a continuous stream of talented CAMO players over ten Olympic cycles from 1984 to 2021.

Gaétan Turcotte (Official)
Gaétan Turcotte was an iconic member of the Canadian water polo community whose outstanding career as an athlete, coach and referee touched the lives of many over five decades. Gaétan Turcotte competed as an athlete at the 1976 Olympics, but it was as a national and international referee that his most significant achievements occurred. Gaétan was the first and only Canadian referee to officiate an Olympic men’s gold medal final, which was a classic match-up between the Hungarian and American men’s teams at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Claude Lavoie (Builder)
Claude Lavoie is one of the most significant Canadian water polo personalities in the history of the sport, having assumed many roles over a career spanning five decades. As a coach of the Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough, women's program, he built his team into one of the world's best during the late 1970's and early 1980's. However, it was as a fierce advocate for women's water polo that Claude's most important contribution was felt. Through the efforts of Claude and a handful of others around the globe, women’s water polo was officially recognized at the 1986 World Aquatic Championships and became an official Olympic sport in 2000 in Sydney.

Canadian Women's World Cup Team 1981 (Team)
Under the leadership of head coach Dominique Dion, the Canadian Women's Team won the 1981 World Cup. They are the first and only team to have won a senior gold medal game at a FINA event. The team members included:

  • Deidre Fincham (Edmonton)
  • Isabel Deschamps (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Heather Gifford (Ottawa)
  • Johanne Jo Jo Gervais (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Michelle Despatis (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Janice Gilbey (Ottawa)
  • Odile Delaserra (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Hilary Knowles (Vancouver),
  • Tracy Crandall (Winnipeg)
  • Sylvie Archambault (Montreal, Montréal-Nord borough)
  • Sylvie Thibault (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Denise Préfontaine (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough)
  • Jocelyne Dumais (Montreal, Montreal-Nord borough)

Hamilton Aquatic Club 1947-1966 (Club)
Formed in 1932, the Hamilton Aquatic Club hired 1928 Olympic bronze medalist swimmer Jimmy Thompson to build its aquatic programs. During the period of 1947 to 1966, the Hamilton Aquatic Club captured nine Canadian senior and sixteen Canadian junior titles. Their run of 10 consecutive junior titles from 1957 to 1966 has never been equalled.

Clifford Barry (Distinguished Alumni)
Clifford Barry's career as an outstanding water polo player spanned from 1965 to 1976, with three Pan American Games and two Olympic Games appearances in 1972 and 1976. Clifford transitioned to swimming following the Montreal Olympic Games and quickly became one of Canada's most accomplished swimming coaches. As a professional, he was chosen three times as Canadian Swim Coach of the Year. Under Clifford's guidance, legendary Canadian swimmers Victor Davis and Mike West achieved worldwide success. Clifford attended the 1984 and 1988 Olympics as a swimming coach, making him a 4-time Olympian.

Jimmy Thompson (Historical Figure)
Jimmy Thompson was paramount in the development of water polo in Canada. His career spanned from 1932 to 1966 and his impact on the sport was tremendous. Under Jimmy's leadership, the Hamilton Aquatic Club’s teams dominated the Canadian men's water polo scene during the 1940's, 1950's and early 1960's, becoming the first true challenge to Montreal's supremacy. He was the key architect of the Hamilton high school water polo league, which is recognized as the oldest, continuously running league of its kind (1932 to the present day).

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