A Chatham Sports Hall of Fame ring and a Chatham Sports Hall of Fame pendant. (Photo courtesy of Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers)

Chatham-Kent sports hall of fame announces class of 2019

On September 26, the Chatham-Kent Sports Hall of Fame will induct athletes, one builder, and one team into its ranks.

Hall officials announced this week that Adam Kaminski, David Corrente, Al Bennett, Jamie Jefferson, John Dengel, and the 2002 Chatham Outlaws Bantam AA Girl’s hockey team will be enshrined this fall.

“The board congratulates all six of these new inductees as well as the other individuals and teams who were nominated,” it said in a news release. “All unsuccessful nominations will remain on file and will automatically be considered in succeeding years. New nominations must be submitted by May 1, 2020, to be eligible for next year’s voting.”

Kaminski and Corrente are being inducted as modern day athletes.

During his four-year playing career as a volleyball and basketball player at Ursuline College Chatham high school, Kaminski won a South Western Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (SWOSSA) championship and competed for a provincial title. In 2003 He received the Jack Parry Award, as the top male student-athlete in the region and, later that year, was named a “U-Sports” (previously CIS) athlete of the year for volleyball.

Baseball star David Corrente was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and played baseball professionally for eight years, reaching as high as ‘AAA’ with the Syracuse Chiefs in 2007 where he played 12 games and had a batting average of .323. Corrente is also known for his volleyball skills, helping his Grade 10 and Grade 12 teams lead to Ontario Federation School Athletic Association (OFSSA) births.

Al Bennett and Jamie Jefferson will be inducted in the legends category.

Originally from Hamilton, Bennett played goalie for many teams, regionally beginning in 1954. That year, he came to Chatham to begin a 31-year career with Union Gas while playing hockey for the Sr. “A” Chatham Maroons, Sr. “B” Wallaceburg Hornets, and Woodstock Alcans among other teams. According to the board of directors, Bennett was considered by many of his teammates and opponents to be the best goaltender of his era. 

Currently the boxing coach at the Chatham Kayo Boxing Club, Jamie Jefferson is regarded by some as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters to come out of the region. His 20-year career began at age 11. Over this span, he was crowned the Detroit golden-gloves champion and diamond gloves champion twice. He obtained numerous provincial championships and won a Canadian junior championship in 1989.

John Dengel is being inducted in the builder category.

Since 1979, Dengel has been the head golf pro at the Maple City Country Club where he has developed an exceptional junior golf program that is well known and respected throughout Ontario and across Canada, according to the release. The 1999 Ontario PGA Junior Teacher of the Year is credited with having brought the region’s love of golf to the attention of the province. With his leadership, there have been three Ontario Girls Championships and one Canadian Boys Championship. 

Lastly, the 2001-2002 Bantam Chatham Outlaws AA Girls Hockey Team is being recognized as the next team to be enshrined.

Made up of 15 and 16-year-old girls from Chatham, Essex County, and Lambton County, the Outlaws won eight of 11 tournaments. Their victories included a win in the above age bracket, winning a AA Midget Silver Stick championship. The team included the likes of  four-time Olympian Meghan Agosta, Mallory Johnston – who competed in four Canadian ball hockey championships, and Amanda Anderson, who was named a U-Sports All-Canadian for basketball. 

The annual dinner and induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at the J. D. Bradley Convention Centre on Richmond Street in Chatham.