The Dr. Robert L. Vaughan Atrium was officially unveiled at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre in Belleville on Saturday, a site that hosts the newly relocated Belleville Sports Hall of Fame.
Vaughan, who was instrumental in bringing the OHL to Belleville in 1981, was on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included both the Bobby Orr (Eastern Conference) and Wayne Gretzky (Western Conference) Trophies on display. A past member of the OHL’s Board of Governors, Vaughan had a hand in the creation of the two trophies, presenting them to the league before they were first awarded in 1999, the same year the Bulls hoisted the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL champions.
Known to many as ‘Doc Vaughan’, the long-time contributor to the Belleville community owned the Bulls for more than 20 years from 1981-2004 and was himself inducted into the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. That same year he also received the OHL’s prestigious Bill Long Award for Distinguished Service.
During his time as owner and governor of the Bulls, the franchise produced such NHL stars as Daniel Cleary, Darren McCarty, Bryan Marchment, Dan Quinn, Scott Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo.
“To have the home of the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame named in honour of what Doc has done for the sport in Belleville, Ontario and Canada is very special to us,” said BSHOF president Dave Mills of the occasion.
Vaughan was introduced at Saturday’s festivities by long-time Bulls voice Jack Miller and extended his gratitude to the Belleville community.
“It’s an honour to have the atrium named after me,” he said. “I’ll always treasure it.”
Saturday’s festivities included the recognition of six new Belleville Sports Hall of Fame inductees including curling icon Clarence “Shorty” Jenkins, renowned swimmer Paula Dawn Duggan who is one of two people to ever swim all five Great Lakes, the 1962 Ontario Senior A champion Belleville Kenmors baseball team, 18-time Canadian Olympic weightlifting champion Joel Carr-Braint as well as former NHLers Rob Ray (1989-04) and Chris Valentine (1981-84).
Of particular interest with the inductees, Ray played three OHL seasons with the Cornwall Royals from 1985-88, and former OHL head coach Larry Mavety who won more than 600 games behind the bench between 1981-2009 was a catcher for the Kenmors.