Two racquetball greats will be inducted into the Racquetball Canada Hall of Fame in 2020. The Class of 2020 includes Vincent Gagnon of St. Hubert, Québec and Heather McKay, who now resides in New South Wales, Australia. Each of these athletes contributed to the sport in unique and lasting ways.
“We are proud to announce the 2020 Inductees to the Racquetball Canada Hall of Fame. Vincent Gagnon highlights how hard work, determination and long term commitment to sport can result in national and international podium success. Heather McKay was a pioneer in the sport, putting Canada on the map and advancing the game for women nationally and internationally. I offer my congratulations and appreciate the commitment and dedication shown by both inductees,” said Gwen Smoluk, President of Racquetball Canada.
2020 Racquetball Canada Fame Inductees
Vincent Gagnon – Athlete
As a high performance athlete Vincent Gagnon demonstrated an incredible commitment to the sport, representing Canada at nineteen international tournaments including multiple Pan Am Games, World Championships, Pam Am Championships and World Games. Between 2000 and 2015 Gagnon won thirteen medals in international competition, highlighted by a silver medal in doubles at the 2014 World Championships, a bronze medal in Men’s Doubles at the 2015 Pan Am Games, another bronze medal in the Men’s Team event at the 2015 Pan Am Games and a gold medal in Men’s Doubles at the 2007 Pan Am Championships. At the Canadian Championships, he had twenty one podium finishes in Open singles and doubles events and holds three championship titles in doubles and one in singles. Gagnon played the game with a high degree of integrity and honed his skills and match strategy to become a formidable opponent. He approached the game in an analytical way, constantly challenging himself to be better. In addition to his dedication as an athlete, Gagnon gave back to the sport though his involvement with governance and sport development at the national and provincial level and by inspiring other athletes to follow in his footsteps.
Heather McKay – Athlete
When Heather McKay moved to Toronto from Australia she had already made her mark internationally in the sport of Squash. In her late 30’s, McKay took the Racquetball world by storm beginning in 1979 where she immediately had significant wins. In her first season, she was the top female player in the world, winning the 1980 pro-tour championships, which was the highest level of competition at the time. In total, McKay competed on the pro-tour for six years, winning the championship title three times and finishing in second two times. Nationally, between 1980 and 1985 McKay won the Canadian Women’s Open Championship title five times and the Women’s Open Doubles title twice. McKay is known as one of the most impactful athletes in the history of the sport. Her integrity as a competitor, her attention to training, her unparalleled competition focus and her commitment to sport development left a lasting legacy not only in Canada, but also around the world. McKay, a legendary multi-sport athlete, has been recognized internationally, including the International Women’s Sport Hall of Fame, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Order of Australia.
The Class of 2020 was to be inducted in the Hall of Fame at the 2020 Canadian Championships Awards Banquet that was to be held in Brossard on May 23, 2020. With the championships being cancelled, the inductees will be honoured along with the Class of 2021 at next year’s Canadian Championships.
The Racquetball Canada of Hall of Fame was incepted in 2017. Racquetball Canada annually honours those who have made significant contributions to the development the sport in Canada through the Builder Category and those who have achieved extraordinary results in the Athlete Category.
Racquetball Canada is the national sport governing body for the sport of Racquetball in Canada. Along with the support the Government Canada and many valued partners, Racquetball Canada develops competitive national teams and oversees programs that grow the sport Racquetball in Canada.