WATERLOO, ON – Eight new members were inducted into the Golden Hawks Hall of Fame Friday night at the Senate and Board Chambers on the campus of Wilfrid Laurier University as a part of school’s annual Homecoming celebrations.
Six athletes, one team and one builder had their names etched into Golden Hawks history during the ceremony. This year’s athlete inductees included men’s football players Dillon Heap and Hugh Lawson, women’s soccer players Alyssa Lagonia and Tania Pedron, women’s hockey player Liz Knox and women’s curler Danielle Inglis. In the team category, the 2001 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship-winning men’s soccer team was recognized and in the builder category, former men’s football player Peter Izzio, Advisor with Sun Life Financial Investment Services, was inducted for his ongoing support of the Athletics and Recreation department, primarily with the men’s football team.
Headlining this year’s class was a pair of former CIS Player of the Year award winners in women’s hockey goaltender Liz Knox and women’s soccer midfielder Alyssa Lagonia.
Knox enters the Hall of Fame as Laurier’s all-time leader among goaltenders for shutouts, with 35, and minutes played, with 5,973, over her five-year career between 2006 and 2011. An Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Champion during four of her five years, Knox was awarded the CIS’ highest honour in 2009-10 when she posted a 22-0-1 record with a sparkling 0.89 goals against average, a 0.960 save percentage and 11 shutouts. That same season she was also named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, the OUA Player of the Year, an OUA First Team All-Star, the recipient of Laurier’s President’s Award as top female athlete, the Outstanding Woman of Laurier Award and the Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award. Over the course of her outstanding career, she was recognized as an OUA All-Star on three other occasions and well as earning CIS Tournament All-Star honours at the 2008 CIS Championship.
Meanwhile, Lagonia also enjoyed an outstanding career while suiting up as a member of the purple and gold for four years (2007, 2009-2011). A former member of Canada’s U20 national team, she was named the CIS Outstanding Player of the Year in her final season after orchestrating a Hawks’ offence that scored a then-team record 36 goals, including five of her own, and helping the purple and gold hold down the top spot in the CIS rankings for five consecutive weeks. That same season she also took home CIS First Team All-Canadian honours, was named the OUA West Most Valuable Player, an OUA West First Team All-Star and was the recipient of Laurier’s President’s Award. An OUA Champion in 2010, Lagonia was also named a First Team All-Canadian on one other occasion and an OUA First Team All-Star her three other seasons. Her illustrious career, which saw her score 14 goals, was also highlighted by taking home the 2009-10 Fred Nichols Community Service Leadership Award and the 2007-08 Rich Newbrough Rookie of the Year Award.
Joining Knox and Lagonia as CIS major award winners in this year’s class was Heap, a former receiver/returner with the men’s football team. Laurier’s all-time punt return yards leader with 2,071, Heap was the recipient of the 2011 CIS Russ Jackson Award which recognizes excellence in football, academics and citizenship. The speedy receiver, who won the Yates Cup and Vanier Cup with the Hawks in his rookie season in 2005, was also a member of Laurier Football’s All-Century Team and in 2010 was the first Laurier athlete to be named to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American Team. Over the course of his five-year career, Heap was honoured as a CIS All-Canadian twice, an OUA All-Star six times, including twice in both 2009 and 2011 at different positions, Laurier’s Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award twice and Laurier’s President’s Award in 2009-10.
Heap was one of two football players entering the Hall of Fame this year as former defensive lineman Lawson, a member of the Golden Hawks between 1988 and 1992, joined him as a part of the class. Lawson, who helped Laurier capture their first Vanier Cup championship in 1991, also guided the Hawks to the Yates Cup title that same season while being named an OUAA Second Team All-Star in the process. In his final season with the purple, Lawson was recognized as one of the top players at his position in the country as he was named a CIAU Second Team All-Canadian, along with an OUAA First Team All-Star.
Lagonia’s former teammate Pedron also joined the Hall of Fame in 2016. Arguably the top holding midfielder in program history, the five-time OUA All-Star anchored the Hawks to OUA Championship titles in both 2010 and 2008. The 2010 campaign, one in which Laurier also captured a CIS silver medal, saw Pedron earn the OUA West Most Valuable Player award as Laurier posted an 11-1-2 record. That same season she was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, the OUA Final Four MVP and Laurier’s President’s Award recipient. In her final year with the Hawks in 2011, Pedron was once again recognized as a CIS All-Canadian while also earning a CIS Academic All-Canadian nod.
The final athlete in this year’s induction class was Inglis, who featured prominently in women’s curling for the Golden Hawks between 2007 and 2010. During her three years with the purple and gold, Inglis captured two CIS Championships as a vice before taking home a silver medal as skip of her squad in 2010. She also helped the Hawks win the OUA Championship in her first season. In her final year with Laurier, Inglis was named a CIS Second Team All-Canadian and took home the CIS Sportsmanship Award. She also represented Laurier internationally as she won the silver medal for Team Canada at the 2009 FISU Winter Universiade in Harbin, China and a gold medal at the Kariuzawa International Bonspiel in 2010.
The 2001 men’s soccer team, which captured the second of back-to-back CIS Championships for Wilfrid Laurier University, entered the Hall of Fame 15 years removed from their championship run. Guided by head coach Barry MacLean, and associate coach Mario Halapir, the powerful squad posted an impressive 9-1-0 record during the regular season with a lineup that featured six OUA First Team All-Stars.
In the OUA playoffs, the Hawks posted victories over both the McMaster Marauders and the Toronto Varsity Blues to reach the OUA gold medal match for the second consecutive year. While Laurier was unable to win their second-straight conference banner, their 2-1 win over the Varsity Blues in the semifinals was enough to propel them back to the CIS Championship.
Heading out East to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Laurier faced off with the Saint Mary’s Huskies in their first game, a rematch of the 2000 CIS Championship final. In an outstanding game, the two teams battled to a 3-3 draw but the result meant the purple and gold would have to win their final match by at least three goals to reach the championship. Taking on the UQTR Patriotes, the Hawks were able to do just that as they posted a 4-1 win to advance to the gold medal match.
Laurier would square off with the UBC Thunderbirds for CIS gold and were able to prevail as they won 2-1 to earn the second national championship in program history.
Izzio entered the Hall of Fame in the Builders category thanks to his support of Laurier Football and the Athletics and Recreation department as a whole. A member of the Football Corporate Dinner committee for the past 17 years, he also served on the search committee for the hiring of Head Coach of Laurier Football Michael Faulds and has been an active supporter of many other initiatives, including the Quarterback Club luncheon. A member of the football team between 1986 and 1989, Izzio served as a coach with the team in 1996 and now oversees Izzio Financial Soluntions Inc. under the Sun Life Financial umbrella.