Messier highlights new class at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

The Canadian Press

4/28/2009 4:41:47 PM

TORONTO - Hugh Campbell and Warren Moon are together again.

The CFL icons, integral parts of an Edmonton Eskimos club that captured five straight Grey Cup titles in the late '70s and early '80s, highlight an impressive list of seven new inductees into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame announced Tuesday.

Also named for induction are veteran kayaker Caroline Brunet, hockey players Mark Messier and Angela James, harness driver John Campbell, as well as basketball coach Ken Shields.

The seven will formally be honoured Nov. 3 at a gala dinner.

Moon said sharing the honour with Campbell is fitting.

"I think we kind of go hand-in-hand with one another," Moon said during a conference call. "He brought me up to Canada and then when I started my NFL career he was my head coach in Houston.

"I think we'll always be linked together and the fact we remain great friends today just shows that not only did we have a lot of success together but we have a lot of respect for one another and a lot of love for one another."

Campbell said it would've felt strange being inducted without Moon.

"It sure would've for me," he said. "It would've been wrong for me to be there without him."

Moon joined the Edmonton Eskimos right out of the University of Washington in '78, given the opportunity to play quarterback in Canada at a time when black athletes weren't being given much chance to do so south of the border. He spent six seasons with the CFL club, leading it to five straight Grey Cup titles (1978-'82) before heading to the Houston Oilers in 1984.

Moon is the only player in football history to be inducted into both the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. In 2006, he was named No. 5 on the all-time CFL Top-50 players in a TSN poll.

"There's no question Canada played a huge part in my success as a professional," Moon said. "I probably stayed in Canada longer than I originally thought I would when I went up there because I enjoyed it so much.

"I thought the way I was handled and the success that we had as a team throughout those years really benefited me as far as moving forward to the next level."

Campbell, who is being inducted as a builder along with Shields, was Moon's coach in Edmonton and later when Moon headed to the NFL with Houston. Campbell began his CFL career as a player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He also coached in the now-defunct USFL before returning to Edmonton as its general manager and eventually retiring in 2006.

"It is a really big honour," Campbell said. "I look at it as recognizing the whole situation where you had a lot of people with a lot of dedication going to great ends to make the league (CFL) what it is."

Brunet competed in five Olympic Games over her career and captured 10 world championship gold medals. She won an Olympic silver medal in '96 in the K-1 500 metre event and repeated four years later in Sydney before winning a bronze medal in the same event in '04.

Messier helped the Edmonton Oilers become a dominant force in the 1980s, being a part of five Stanley Cup winners. He later went to the New York Rangers and as captain in 1993-'94 led the team to its first NHL title in 54 years. He finished his career as the league's second-leading career scorer behind Wayne Gretzky, his former teammate in Edmonton.

James is regarded as a pioneer in the development of women's hockey. She helped Canada win world titles in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1997.

John Campbell is widely recognized as harness racing's all-time greatest driver. He has earned 42 career Breeders Crown victories and won his 10,000th race last year. He was also named driver of the year by the US Harness Writers Association in 2006.

Shields is one of the most successful Canadian men's university basketball coaches. He led the University of Victoria to seven career titles and four times he was named the CIS coach of the year. He also coached Canada's national men's team from 1990 to '94.

In 1998, Shields was made a Member of the Order of Canada and a year later he was inducted to the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.