NL Soccer Association award winners announced
The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA) has recognized outstanding players, coaches and volunteers for 2016.
Six players from the Burin Peninsula have been named to the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association’s (NLSA) Hall of Fame for 2016.
The inductees include Mike Howlett, Harry Kelly, Malcolm Osmond, Bill ‘Doc’ Slaney and Bob Spearns, in the athlete category, and Dr. Paul Slaney as an athlete/builder.
Howlett, Kelly, William Slaney, Spearns and Dr. Paul Slaney all played for the St. Lawrence Laurentians. Osmond was a member of the Grand Bank Gee Bees.
“The Class of 2016 includes some of the finest players to come out of the Burin Peninsula,” said NLSA Hall of Fame Selection Committee chairman Jeff Babstock.
“All six of these individuals were noted athletes and leaders during their playing careers, and many have continued to give back to the sport as coaches and officials.”
The induction ceremonies will be held in April as part of the NLSA’s annual spring planning meeting.
From his early years as a soccer player, Mike Howlett demonstrated that he was going to be a player of record when it came to scoring, particularly when the game was on the line or a big goal was needed.
His scoring touch was such that he was usually found playing above his age category. At the age of 15, he began his senior career with St. Lawrence, and for the next decade and a half split his time with the St. Lawrence Laurentians and two teams in Calgary.
Throughout his career, Howlett’s success on the field had been exceptional. At the national level, his Calgary teams represented Alberta six times, winning the national Challenge Cup gold medal twice. At home, his St. Lawrence team represented the province twice at nationals, winning the bronze medal on one those occasions.
Howlett won two scoring titles and was an all-star five in Alberta. In Newfoundland, he was a three-time all-star, won two scoring titles and was twice named MVP.
In 2008, he was named the NLSA senior player of the year.
Dedication and hard work are hallmarks of the career of Harry Kelly who helped lead the St. Lawrence Laurentians to nine provincial Challenge Cup championships during his 15-year career.
Kelly’s leadership was also instrumental at the national Challenge Cup as St. Lawrence earned a silver and bronze medal during that period.
Individually, Kelly was selected as a provincial Challenge Cup all-star seven times. He was also named MVP twice and won a scoring title. In 1998, he was the NLSA’s senior male player of the year. Kelly was also a finalist for player of the decade for the 1990s.
As well, Kelly won 10 provincial Masters championships with St. Lawrence, along with two Eastern Canadian Masters gold medals and a silver.
Bill ‘Doc’ Slaney
Doc Slaney, as he was called, was recognized for his leadership and motivational ability within his team and among young players. It earned him the title of team captain, a position he held for four years. Known for his strength in the air and the ability to shoot with both feet, he was regarded as a prolific goal scorer of his era.
Beginning his playing career in 1947, Slaney helped his St. Lawrence team to seven straight Burin Peninsula championships, and a total of eight in all. At the provincial championships, he lead his St. Lawrence to victory three more times.
After his playing career was over, Slaney entered the world of coaching. There, he helped guide St. Lawrence to another provincial championship and an Atlantic championship. St. Lawrence also represented Newfoundland and Labrador at the first Eastern Canadian Challenge Cup championships in 1967 with Slaney at the helm.
To cap off his career, Slaney was inducted into the St. Lawrence and Burin Peninsula Soccer Halls of Fame.
Dr. Paul Slaney
Paul Slaney was considered a genuine sportsman, combining skill and finesse as a midfielder. His abilities were recognized through eight provincial Challenge Cup all-star selections. His composure in challenging situations played a major role as his St. Lawrence team compiled 11 provincial Challenge Cup championships. At nationals, Slaney’s leadership was once again evident as he helped his team to a silver and a bronze medal.
After his playing career, Slaney took up coaching. For 12 years, he used his attributes as a player to successfully mould provincial age group players into up-and-coming stars.
His ability as a coach is evidenced by his two Canada Games coaching appointments and two provincial Challenge Cup championships.
Slaney was a member of the St. Lawrence team named the 1990s NLSA team of the decade. He was a finalist for the 1990s player of the decade.
Bob Spearns combined technical ability and leadership to lead his St. Lawrence Laurentians to nine provincial Challenge Cup championships during a 15-year Challenge Cup career. His leadership on the field earned the respect of his teammates and from players and coaches throughout the league. During his career, he served as team captain for eight years. Spearns was named an all-star seven times, selected league MVP twice and was named the league's top defender four times.
In addition to his provincial Challenge Cup championships, Spearns was instrumental in helping St. Lawrence to silver and bronze medals at the national Challenge Cup championships. To go with his national Challenge Cup medals, he also earned a gold and a silver medal at the Eastern Canadian Masters championships. To further cap off an already brilliant career, Spearns was named the NLSA’s player of the decade for the 1990s.
Throughout his 20-year soccer career with the Grand Bank Gee Bees during the 1950s and 60s, Harry Osmond exemplified the qualities of an outstanding athlete. His exceptional sportsmanship shown to all teams and players, along with his positive attitude and fair play, earned him the respect of the Burin Peninsula soccer community.
In 1951, at the age of 18, Osmond was selected to the Burin Peninsula all-star team. From 1957 to 1964, his Grand Bank team won six Burin Peninsula senior championships and two provincial championships.
Osmond’s outstanding play during the 1962 provincial championships earned him the MVP of the tournament. His team's overall excellent play during the 1960s earned the distinction of NLSA team of the decade.
Osmond is also a member of the Grand Bank and Burin Peninsula soccer halls of fame.