Burnaby lacrosse icon Russ Heard will be inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in February along with six other individuals and a pioneering lacrosse team.
The lanky Heard was a scoring machine for the Burnaby Lakers. He was the Western Lacrosse Association scoring champion in 1992, 1997 and 1999 and a first-team league all-star five times. Heard racked up 1,201 points, including 447 goals, in the 399 games he played, placing him ninth all-time in the WLA. Heard also played in the pro National Lacrosse League for the now-defunct Charlotte Cobras for one season and the Toronto Rock for three.
Heard’s No. 9 was the first jersey retired by the Lakers in 2013. He coached the senior Lakers for seven seasons making the playoffs each time.
He’ll be joined for induction in the athlete category by Brian Cowie (paracycling, triathlon) and Anna Schnell (rugby). Builders to be inducted are Roy Nosella (soccer) and Dan Taylor (baseball), while Kyna Fletcher (gymnastics) and Mimmo Morello (soccer, wrestling) will enter as coaches. The pioneer 1934 Burnaby Cougars provincial champion women’s lacrosse squad will be inducted in the team category.
The hall’s induction banquet will take place at the Firefighers Banquet Hall at Metrotown on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Cowie is a visually impaired athlete who has participated in nine paracycling world championships as a road and track tandem cyclist. He won 14 national championships and was a silver medalist at the 1998 world championships in the individual time trial.
Cowie was also ranked No. 1 in the world on the track in 2009 and won a bronze medal at the world championships in Manchester, England in that year.
In addition to cycling, Cowie has competed in 15 Ironman triathlons, including three world championships. And he’s done more than 100 short-course Olympic distance triathlons, winning silver at two international championships. He now competes in triathlon with an single-leg amputee partner – another first for Cowie.
Schnell was an elite player on the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club premier division women’s squad. In her six seasons (2004-2010), Schnell was a dominating force, helping Burnaby Lake win three provincial championships. She also led B.C. to its first Canadian championship in eight years in 2005. Schnell earned more than 30 representative caps for Canada’s national team, including the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. In fact, she was the second highest scorer in the 2010 tournament in England with 46 points losing out on the overall scoring title by only two points.
After a highly successful playing careers on the soccer pitch and baseball diamond, Nosella turned his attention to giving back to sport.
The longtime Burnaby school counsellor was a B.C. Soccer director and vice-chair for seven years, and a director of the Vancouver Metro Soccer League for seven years. He refereed in the Metro Women’s Soccer League, where he developed and implemented a mentorship program. His efforts were recognized with an A.C. Sanford Award for more than 20 years of exceptional service to B.C. soccer. In addition, Nosella served on the Vancouver Athletic Commission for 43 years, including a stint as its chair.
Taylor has been commissioner of the Lower Mainland Baseball Association ever since starting the adult recreational baseball league, which was formed in 1994. Under his leadership, the association has evolved into the largest adult baseball league in Canada with 32 teams in 14 municipalities. Today, the league has players ranging in age from 19 to over 70.
Taylor also managed the B.C. Capitals, which won the Canadian 50-plus title at the Canadian National Oldtimers Baseball Federation championships in 2008 and 2010. He was the tournament chair of the 2010 championship held in Burnaby and New Westminster, which attracted 24 teams from across Canada.
Fletcher began coaching gymnastics 30 years ago. Her passion for the sport resulted in her being named the national stream coach of the year in 2006, which goes to the coach who has had the most success with its national level gymnasts.
Fletcher received Gymnastics B.C.’s Member of Distinction award in 2010 and the organization also presented her with a life member award in 2013. She was also team director for Canada’s national women’s gymnastic team that achieved a best-ever fifth-place finish at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Emilio (Mimmo) Marrello
Marrello’s Burnaby Selects Metro league boys’ soccer squads won six provincial titles and went to the national championships four times, winning two Canadian club titles. His 2006 under-17 Burnaby Royals were inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Marrello was named B.C. youth coach of the year in 2002. Several of Marrello’s charges have made national youth teams with five of them going on to play professional soccer.
His Burnaby Girls Titans squad, which he coached for three years also won two provincial titles and went to two national finals where they took the silver medal.
Marrello’s coaching exploits aren’t limited to the soccer pitch but the wrestling mat as well coaching many provincial and national champions, including Tom Petryshen, who wrestled in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and John Tenta, a world junior champion in 1985.
1934 Burnaby Cougars
The Burnaby Cougars were formed in 1930 and considered a disgrace in some conservative circles, when they shed long stockings and bloomers for form-fitting short pants and ankle socks. A Burnaby South high school principal went as far as banning them from playing. The women defended their right to play and eventually won.
The Cougars brought fame to Burnaby in 1934, when they defeated one of the original women’s teams - the Richmond Milkmaids - 4-1 in the BC women’s lacrosse championship title game, winning the Grauer Cup at the old Cambie Street grounds.
Burnaby also defeated Vancouver’s Pirates 8-2 in a much publicized matchup that included a stick-swinging brawl that went on for a full 10 minutes.
For more information on the hall or to purchase induction dinner tickets, go to www.burnabysportshalloffame.ca, or call hall of fame committee chair Grant Granger at 604-803-9571.