Basketball coach turned GM Dave Smart to headline Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame 2020 class

Other inductees include hockey player and official Marina Zenk, as well as martial arts legend John Therien. 

By: Mike Vlasveld

2019-12-18 dave smart twitter

Former Carleton Ravens Head Coach Dave Smart. Photo/ Carleton Ravens Twitter

The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame’s 2020 inductee class is being headlined by Carleton University’s Director of Basketball Operations and Ottawa BlackJacks General Manager Dave Smart.

The hall announced this year’s inductees Thursday, ahead of an induction ceremony set for May 13 at the Brookstreet Hotel.

The other 2020 inductees include hockey player and official Marina Zenk, Carleton Sports Therapy founders Phil Ashcroft and Dr. Donald Johnson, martial arts legend John Therien, and hockey pioneer Derek Holmes.  

“Each year the selection process seems to get more and more difficult,” says Dave Best, chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. “Ottawa is home base for an exceptional pool of sporting achievement and excellence. This is reflected in the quality of the nominations we receive. This year’s inductees are athletes, builders and champions all, with not only remarkable sports pedigrees, but impressive records of community service and volunteerism.”

Smart coached the Carleton University Ravens men’s basketball team from 1999 to 2015, and from 2016 to 2019. Through those years, his teams consistently found themselves at the top of the standings and won 13 national titles. Smart has won the Aberdeen Trophy as U Sport Coach of the Year nine times. 

Smart stepped away from coaching late last year, but was soon named the GM of Ottawa’s new Canadian Elite Basketball League team, the Ottawa BlackJacks.

Marina Zenk enjoyed a stellar hockey career with the OCAA’s Seneca Sting, leading them to a provincial championship. Following her playing career, she established herself as an excellent on-ice official, locally, nationally and internationally. She became highly coveted international referee, serving as head arbiter in multiple world championships. Zenk was the head referee at the first women’s gold medal game at 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Over the last three decades Zenk has made significant contributions to the promotion of female hockey in Canada, including the development of key officiating programs.

Dr. Don Johnson and Phil Ashcroft are very well known in the field of sports medicine and rehabilitation, both locally and internationally. They founded the Carleton Sports Medicine Clinic in 1973, building a world-class facility that has successfully treated tens of thousands — athletes and non-athletes alike. 

Dr. Johnson is a leading expert in the field of arthroscopic surgery, and is credited with rescuing the playing careers of athletes across countless sports. He was the team physician for the Winter and Summer Olympic teams in 1976, as well as the Ottawa Rough Riders and Ottawa Senators. Ashcroft was once the head physiotherapist for the New Zealand All Blacks and several professional soccer teams before moving to Canada where he has serviced countless local, national and international events in soccer, rugby, track & field including the 1976 Olympics games in Montreal.

John Therien is synonymous with martial arts in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. A ninth degree black belt in Jiu Jitsu, John has earned the prestigious title of “Hanshi,” which means Leader of Leaders. Through his schools scattered throughout the region, John has coached and certified thousands of students to black belt status over the last 50 years. For nearly two decades, he managed and coached 23-time World Kickboxing Champion, Jean-Yves Theriault. Therien was inducted into the Canadian Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010, and is currently the Executive Director of the World Kobuto Federation and he is a mentor to other instructors around the world.

Finally, The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame says few have had as prolific an impact on hockey, both at home and abroad, as Derek Holmes. He began as a player, toiling through various leagues, winning championships and even serving as captain of the Canadian National team in 1968. At the conclusion of his playing career, he went on to serve the sport in a wide range of roles from coach, to general manager, both at home and internationally. He was Executive Director of Hockey Canada in 1975, manager of the Canadian National Team in 1978 and Hockey Canada’s first technical director in the 80s. From 1980 through early 2000s Holmes was one of the first agents for elite professional players from Europe, carving the way for many future agents and representatives.

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