Water Polo Canada announces the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame inductee Class of 2024

Mar. 06, 2024

Ottawa, March 6, 2024 - Water Polo Canada (WPC) is proud to announce the third class of inductees to be inducted into the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame (CWPHOF), as part of a ceremony set to take place in 2024.

Following the nomination process, the CWPHOF Committee selected seven inductees who will officially enter the CWPHOF during an induction ceremony to be held Saturday, May 11, starting at 7pm (MT) at the King Eddy Restaurant in Calgary (438 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0R9).

Tickets are now available for $100 at https://waterpolocanada.crowdchange.co/39362.

Sponsorship opportunities are also detailed at https://www.waterpolo.ca/content/CWPHOF---Description.

The members of the 2024 class to be inducted into the CWPHOF are:
-Johanne Gervais (Athlete) - Quebec City (Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough), QC
-James (Jimmy) Rose (Coach) - Montreal, QC
-Marie-Claude Deslières (Official) - Montreal, QC
-John Csikos (Builder) - Calgary, AB
-Montreal Swimming Club (1905-1912 era) (Club) - Montreal, QC
-Jim Shockey (Distinguished Alumni) - Saskatoon, SK
-Jeno Ats (Historical Figure) - Montreal, QC

More details on each of the 2024 inductees are available below.

“The Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame Class of 2024 represents the third outstanding grouping of inductees from the sport's rich history,” said CWPHOF Committee Chair David Hart. “Water Polo was first played in Canada at a site near Lachine, Quebec, in the St. Lawrence River in 1886 by a group of British expatriates who brought the sport across the Atlantic from its birth place in Scotland in 1870."

“Now in its third year, the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is an annual celebration of our sport that the Canadian water polo community can look forward to,” added WPC President Kathleen Dawson. “It is entirely thanks to a very committed group of volunteers that this important initiative got off the ground in the first place, and they continue to devote countless hours to selecting each new class of inductees. Congratulations to this year's award recipients; your contributions to the sport of water polo in Canada are truly outstanding.”

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), Adam Deffett (Water Polo Canada Board of Directors Liaison), Christi Bardecki, Ann Dow, Noah Miller, Bill Shaw, John Stockdale and Marilyn Thorington.

More information on the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame, including past inductees, is available at https://www.waterpolo.ca/content/canadian-water-polo-hall-of-fame.

2024 Inductees to the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame
Johanne Gervais (Athlete)
Johanne Gervais began her water polo career at the age of eleven and quickly developed into the dominant player of her generation. She led the Sainte-Foy water polo club to eight Canadian senior and three Canadian junior titles, capturing numerous Most Valuable Player awards along the way. She competed for Canada at three World Championships, in 1978 (Berlin), 1982 (Guayaquil) and 1986 (Madrid). In 1981, she played a pivotal role with the Canadian women’s team which captured a historic senior world water polo title in Brisbane, Australia. Beyond any doubt, she was the most outstanding athlete in women’s water polo for almost 10 years in Canada between 1976 and 1986. She has always demonstrated considerable discipline, perseverance, dedication and humility, and her hard work has allowed her to rank among the best water polo players in the world. The sense of discipline she imposed on herself throughout her career led many other athletes to want to follow in her footsteps.

James (Jimmy) Rose (Coach)
James (Jimmy) Rose was born in 1884 in Scotland, where he was a prominent swimmer and water polo competitor, winning numerous local, regional and national titles in both sports. Upon his arrival to Canada in 1910, he was offered a position as a swimming and water polo instructor with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, which he guided as the Head Coach of the junior, intermediate and senior men teams to Dominion of Canada championships over a period spanning three decades. Between 1913 and 1939, his MAAA senior men’s team captured the Goulden Cup 12 times, making him the most decorated Goulden Cup-winning coach in the history of Canadian water polo. Jimmy left a truly amazing legacy within the Canadian aquatic community and his positive impact touched the lives of hundreds of competitors over several decades.

Marie-Claude Deslières (Official)
Marie-Claude Deslières had an outstanding career as an athlete, capturing gold at the 1999 Pan American Games, silver at the 1991 World Championship, bronze at the 1988 FINA Cup and a fifth-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games, along with nine senior women titles as a key member of her CAMO club. Following her retirement as an athlete after the 2000 Olympic Games, she went on to an outstanding career as an official. She worked at three consecutive Olympic Games: London 2012, including for the women’s gold medal final, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021. She is only one of two four-time Canadian water polo Olympians. She has been one of the preeminent female officials at the Olympic Games, World Cup, Pan American Games, World Student Games, Super League matches and World Championships over a period spanning two decades. She has been an important role model, mentor and advocate for women in sport and was the highly deserving recipient of numerous awards and accolades.

John Csikos (Builder)
John Csikos had a water polo career as a coach and builder that spanned half a century from the late 1970’s to the present day, making it one of the most significant in the sport’s history. He founded the Calgary Torpedoes in 1980 and the Calgary Renegades in 1985, adding women’s programs in 1990. He has been the architect of numerous innovative programs and events, including The Alberta Open (renamed the John Csikos Open in his honour), the Western Canadian Institute of Water Polo, the Calgary Masters Water Polo Club, the Calgary Water Polo Association, the Cadet Canadian Championship Category and the Men’s National Training Centre in Calgary, among others. Through his dedication and visionary leadership, John established Calgary and Alberta as one of Canada’s premier water polo hot spots from the 1990’s onward, capturing 20 Canadian titles and placing a regular stream of talented athletes on Canadian national youth, junior and senior teams. From 1996 to 2004, as the Men’s National Team Coach, John led Canada to two Pan American Games bronze medals in 1999 and 2003. He also led Canada to its first-ever medal at the America’s Championship in 1996 with a historic win over Cuba. His legacy within Canadian water polo circles is truly remarkable.

Montreal Swimming Club (1905-1912 era) (Club)
Between 1905 and 1924, the Montreal Swimming Club’s Aquatic Polo Team captured a total of 13 senior men titles, making them one of the most successful Canadian water polo clubs of all time. Their run of eight consecutive senior titles from 1905 to 1912 has never been equaled. The club was the first one to win the Goulden Cup in its inaugural year in 1907. The following year, in 1908, the club won the Olympic Trials, but wasn’t able to compete at the Olympic Games in London due to a lack of funding and a conflict between International and Canadian rules at that time. The Montreal Swimming Club was a philanthropic organization that provided free memberships to boys from the city’s orphanages and other charitable institutions. It was also one of the earliest water polo organizations in the country. The MSC ran its water polo and swimming programs out of an outdoor facility in the St. Lawrence River on Saint Helen’s Island.

Jim Shockey (Distinguished Alumni)
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Jim Shockey was an accomplished competitive swimmer. After moving to Vancouver, he became a leading member of the powerful B.C. men’s water polo teams of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s which won provincial, regional and national titles. Jim competed as a member of the Canadian men's national team at the 1978 and 1982 World Aquatic Championships. A retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he is also well-know as a world-famous hunting guide and outfitter, for his conservation work, as well as an outdoor writer, a television producer and host for many popular hunting shows, and also as one of the world’s foremost experts on the Ethnocentric Folk Art forms from Western Canada. Jim currently resides on Vancouver Island and continues to work as an outfitter and producer for his TV shows and assisting his non-profit agency in operating his Hand of Man Museum.

Jeno Ats (Historical Figure)
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Jeno Ats competed as a swimmer at the 1956 Olympic Games. In 1964, he immigrated to Canada and quickly established himself as a prominent water polo player and coach. With the East End Boys Club and Concordia in Montreal, he captured junior and senior Canadian titles between 1965 and 1970. His influence as a player as well as a Quebec provincial and Canadian national team men’s coach was one of the most significant in the history of Canadian water polo in that era, supporting the development of numerous Canadian athletes, officials and coaches at the international level. His contribution expanded the sport across Quebec and he helped put Canada on the international water polo map. Many of the Canadian water polo personalities that he recruited, trained and mentored went on to become leaders in the sport from the 1970’s to the current era. Without his passion, expertise, unique and innovative approach, Canadian water polo simply could not have stepped out onto the international stage and achieved the recognition and successes it garnered during the pivotal 1970-76 era.

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