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Johnson, Hackner headline NWO Hall of Fame inductions

Former NHLer Greg Johnson and former world-champion curler Al Hackner headline this year’s inductees into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Also being honoured at the annual inductee dinner on Sept.
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Former NHLer Greg Johnson and former world-champion curler Al Hackner headline this year’s inductees into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

Also being honoured at the annual inductee dinner on Sept. 25 are BMX star Jay Miron and two-time Olympic freestyle skier Dave Walker. Entering the hall in the builder’s category is legendary hockey coach George Gwozdecky Jr. and Fred Bragnalo, who helped start the Little League baseball program in Thunder Bay and has been extensively involved with the hall of fame itself.

In a release issued Friday afternoon, NOW Hall of Fame president Phil Jarvis said, “The individuals being inducted this year are another fine example of the outstanding athletes, coaches and volunteers who come out of our region.  

By inducting these individuals into the hall of fame we are able to ensure that their contributions in sport will not be forgotten and that they will continue to serve as a source of community pride for generations to come.”

Johnson, who spent a dozen years in the NHL, retired after the 2005-06 season having scored 145 goals and 369 points playing for Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Nashville.

Hackner, known around the world as The Iceman, was born in Nipigon and went on to skip teams in nine Canadian men’s championships, winning the Brier in 1982 and 1985, helping taking out Alberta’s Pat Ryan with perhaps the most famous double in curling history.

Gwozdecky, who has won more than 500 games in his U.S. college coaching career, won national titles behind the University of Denver Pioneers bench in 2004 and 2005.

Tickets for the inductee dinner at the Valhalla Inn are available by calling 622-2852 or at the Hall of Fame at 219 May St. South.