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Juravinski To Hamilton Sports Hall

Published: September 19, 2017 10:59 am ET

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It has been announced that Canadian Standardbred industry icon Charles ‘Charlie’ Juravinski, the philanthropic founder of Flamboro Downs, will be inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame next month.

Juravinski will be inducted alongside Olympic rider Cindy Neale-Ishoy, decorated figure skater Don Knight, world-class wakeboarder Jeremy Kovak, and veteran NHLer Ric Nattress

The Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame will induct the Class of 2017 at a luncheon on Tuesday, October 17 at 12:00 p.m. at the Best Western Premier ‘C’ Hotel by Carmen’s, which is located at 1530 Stone Church Rd. E.

There are a limited number of tickets available for the event. They are available at the cost of $30 each and can be ordered in advance from the following locations:

• Hutch’s On The Beach, Hamilton
• United Trophy, 99 Cannon St. E. Hamilton
• R&R Trophies & Awards, 4155 Fairview St. Unit #9 Burlington
• Canadian Motorcycle Association, 905-522-5705


Born in Saskatchewan during the depression, Charles Juravinski’s family moved to Hamilton in 1942.

From the mid-to-late 1950s Juravinski worked in construction and then was co-founder of a Dundas, Ont.-based construction company.

After the construction venture closed, Juravinski and former Ontario PC cabinet minister Ray Connell opened the Standardbred racetrack Flamboro Downs in Dundas in 1975. Juravinski managed the very successful facility for almost three decades before selling it in 2003.

Flamboro’s most prestigious event is the Confederation Cup, which has featured some of the greatest horses in the history of Standardbred racing.

Juravinski, as an owner, was connected with many outstanding horses, including Hall of Famers Matts Scooter and the great mare Ellamony.

Juravinski was inducted into the ‘builder’ category of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Since his retirement, Charles and his wife, Margaret, have made considerable endowments to the City of Hamilton and McMaster University, which have permitted the establishment of a new state-of-the-art cancer care facility at the former Henderson General Hospital, now the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. Charles and Margaret’s philanthropic endeavours contribute to health care in the local area through Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph Foundation, St. Peter Foundation, St. Joseph Villa Foundation, McMaster University and others. Charles and Margaret are extremely passionate about their ‘people-oriented’ help charities.


Neale-Ishoy was a six-time Canadian Olympian, but also attended the 1968 Mexico Olympics as a groom at the age of 16.

She began her riding career in Germany, and, just a few years later, she started turning in outstanding results for Canada. She was a member of the gold medal team and placed fourth individually at the 1971 Pan Am Games in Cali, Colombia. A year later, she was the youngest equestrian competitor at the Munich Olympics, at age 20.

And this was just the start.

In 1976, Neale-Ishoy was selected to the Olympic team, but did not compete. In 1979, she became the first Canadian to win an international dressage Grand Prix event in Goodwood England.

In 1980, Neale-Ishoy was selected to the Canadian team for the Moscow Olympics, but because the games were boycotted, she completed in alternate games in the Netherlands.

Neale-Ishoy was seventh in the 1986 World Championships and second at the 1988 World Cup in the Netherlands,

Neale-Ishoy was a member of the bronze medal-winning Canadian dressage team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She also placed fourth individually.

Neale-Ishoy then went on to compete in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

In October 1993, just three months after giving birth to her second child, Neale-Ishoy made a remarkable return to competition, as she captured two gold medals at the prestigious Dressage at Devon, in Pennsylvania.

Neale-Ishoy’s outstanding career included one more Olympic selection, in Athens, in 2004.

As if her career wasn’t brilliant enough, she might have achieved even more, because in 1989 her great Hanoverian partner, ‘Dynasty,’ passed away due to colic at the age of 11 while still in the peak of his career.

Although, Neale-Ishoy would go on to have two other very good horses. ‘Dakar’ went to Barcelona in 1992 and she had ‘Proton’ at Athens in 2004. Proton also won at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair and ’Dakar’ was victorious at Devon. Both had many other wins as well.

Neale-Ishoy later remained involved with horses, as she operated Ishoy Enterprises with her late husband, Neil, in Hannon, Ont.


Knight was the 1965, ’66 and ’67 Canadian national senior mens’ figure skating champion and the 1967 North American champion.

Knight, born in Hamilton and raised in Dundas, became the Canadian Junior Champion when he was just 13 years old. He finished on the podium for the next six years at the Senior Canadian Championships.

Knight was just 15 when he competed in the first of his five ISU World Skating Championships, and he won the bronze medal at the 1965 world event.

Knight was a five-time member of Canada’s World Team, and represented his country at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Considered a master of the compulsory figures, Don trained with Hall of Fame coaches Ellen Burka and Sheldon Galbraith, and his tremendous work ethic enabled him to become an all-round skater, as he incorporated powerful jumps, spins and intricate footwork into his programs.

After retiring from competitive skating, Knight toured for 11 years as a Principal Performer with Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice in Europe.

After retiring from his professional career, Knight continued his association with his sport as a skating coach consultant with the Burlington Skate Centre in Halton.


Jeremy Kovak is considered a pioneer in wake boarding, which is considered one of the world’s fastest growing water sports.

Kovak had a stellar career on the professional circuit and was responsible for the maple leaf flying highest at competitions around the world. He posted more than 30 wins on the Pro Tour.

Kovak became the first Canadian to win a world wakeboard title in 1993. He did it again in 1997, when he also won the World Cup crown and the World Championship. The 1997 campaign was indeed a great year for Kovak, as he also triumphed at the X-Games and the World Extreme Cup.

In 1998, Kovak injured an ACL, but the next season he turned in a stunning performance to capture a pro tour title in Abbotsford, BC.

Kovak was also a star on the Canadian junior water ski team from 1988 to 1991 and earned the world junior crown in 1990.

After retiring in 2000, Kovak wrote an instructional wakeboard book.

And how about this? For six months in 1998, Kovak was featured on the front of Honeycomb Cereal boxes!


A product of the Hamilton Huskies program, Ric Nattress was drafted 27th overall by Montreal from the Brantford Alexanders in 1980. He appeared in 40 games with the Canadiens in the 1982-83 season, played in 34 games with the ‘Habs’ in 1983-84 (and five more the following season) before he was traded to the St. Louis Blues.

After playing two seasons with the Blues, Nattress was dealt to the Calgary Flames after the 1986-87 season. He played for four years in Calgary and was on the Flames Stanley Cup Championship team in 1989. He was then traded to Toronto in a ten-player blockbuster deal, which also sent Doug Gilmour to Toronto. He retired after he joined the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent for the 1992-93 season.

All told, Nattress played 536 regular season games, and while he was known as a solid positional rearguard, he still managed to record 29 goals and 135 assists for 164 points. The blue liner also appeared in 67 playoff games in which he collected a total of five goals and ten assists.

The 6-3, 210-pounder was also a member of the 1985 AHL Calder Cup Champion Sherbrooke Canadiens and played seven games with Team Canada in the 1991 World Hockey Championship.

Following his playing days, Nattress was an assistant coach during the first two years of the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (starting in 1996) and has been involved at the junior hockey level as well. He has also remained close to the game, as he has worked in radio and TV and has entertained people at sports dinners across the country.


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