Hall of Fame: To pay homage to those who have contributed to the growth of tenpin bowling by their ability and/or meritorious service to the Hamilton & District Tenpin Bowling Association. Since the first Hall of Fame members were selected in 1970, 30 men and 16 women have been honoured.
Making up the first class were Bill Bailey, Gabe Bihary, Cec Habros, Stan Prokop and Emil Nalborczyk. Two years later Art Elford and Frank Hanson joined the club. Another two years later George Smith and Oscar Hilbourn made the total nine. Only one year passed before a further two men, Albert Shorer and Andy Toth, made the exclusive list. Fred Byers and Howard Ricker were selected in 1975. Another four years went by before Chuck Lawrence and Harry Ireland received their plaques in 1979.
Helen Ireland became the first woman elected in 1980 and was joined by Paul Frigault, Peter Kekic, and Frank Kurpe. Gladys Johnston and Bill Ciach came on board in 1981 followed by Dorothy Green, Carl Balon, and Norm Robinson a year later. Honoured in 1983 were Joyce Campbell, Mike Sydor, and Mary Bihary-Scandlan in 1984, followed by Vera Wigmore a year later. Two men, Stan Dumala and Jim Margueratt, and two women, Jean Fairclough and Thelma Ricker, stepped forward in 1986. Bobbie Kartonchik, 1988, and Wendy Zielonka, 1989, raised the honourees to 34.
The 1990s started off with Al Tone making the group and three years later Shirley Gordey was inducted. In each of the next two years, a pair were added as Barb Dewing and Stan Skene made the 1994 list and Cheryl Feller and Ed Nalborczyk in 1995. The decade ended with four more inductees coming in: Joyce Rowett, Linda Higenell, and Bob Coulter in 1998 and Phil Morris in 1999.
Membership doesn’t come easy. After 44 made the grade in the first 30 years of the Hall, only two have been inducted in the past 12 years: Bill Rowe Jr. in 2006 and June Najbor this year.
Membership includes a the husband and wife duos of Harry and Helen Ireland and Howard and Thelma Ricker; brothers Emil and Ed Nalborczyk; and brother and sister Gabe Bihary and Mary Bihary-Scandlan.
A plaque with all 46 names is at Skyway Lanes.
In the Ontario hall of fame from Hamilton are Joyce Campbell, Howard Ricker, Mike Sydor, Dorothy Green, and Mike Ricker. In the Canadian Tenpin Federation Hall of Fame are Al Tone and husband and wife Bill and Catharine Rowe. With the London Olympics games underway, it is interesting to note that Bill Rowe Jr., won the Atlanta Bowling Challenge prior to the 1996 Olympics. Despite several efforts, tenpin bowling has never been an official part of the Olympic games. It was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Seoul Olympic games but is a regular feature of the Commonwealth and Pan Am games and will contested at the 2015 Pan Am Games at Classic Bowl in Mississauga in 2015.
Al Tone and Bill Rowe Jr.. have been nominated for the new Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame. There are 84 members in the Hamilton Five Pin Bowling Hall of Fame with Bill Ciach and Bob Coulter being in both Halls of Fame. Connie Ward, who was inducted in 2012, has perfect games in both 5 and 10 pins.
Even though summer is slow for bowling, two records were set in the U.S. A 33-year-old Wichita woman almost became the 22nd. person, and first woman, with a perfect 900 series as she started with 33 strikes in a row before leaving a ten pin which she spared, then a strike for an 879 series, the highest ever by a woman beating an 878 and a pair of 877s. A 10-year-old California boy, who had cystic fibrosis as an infant, rolled a perfect 300 game, tying the record for the youngest with a perfect game.
HAMILTON BOWLING TRIVIA
A 1947 floor plan of the Hamilton Connaught Hotel, shows on the second, third and fourth floors the 26 alleys, five tables and a lunch bar of the Connaught Bowling & Billiards at 26 John St. S. After the alleys disappeared, the space was occupied by Liaison College, the Crazy Horse Saloon, then a KFC that closed in 1996. It was also known as Midtown Lanes. The location had two problems – limited parking and three flights of stairs if you were bowling on the fourth floor. Lanes were in use from about 1928 to 1972. A report has Bill Smith rolling a 450 in 1929.