Sports Laval pays homage to its finest during ninth annual gala
Martin C. Barry
More than 50 athletes and officials as well as 20 organizations in Laval that provide the local sporting community with support were awarded trophies and $45,000 worth of athletic bursaries on May 26 during Sports Laval’s ninth annual gala.
Elected officials from the three levels of government were on hand for the event which drew 300 guests to the Embassy Plaza.
In a speech, Mayor Marc Demers agreed with motivational sports coach Jean-François Ménard, the honorary president of this year’s event, that sports acts as a lever for many other things in life. “It’s a school of life, it builds self-esteem and it’s important for a community and for society,” said Demers.
Gift from Nez-rouge
The bursaries, a gift from Opération Nez rouge Laval-Basses Laurentides, were awarded in 11 sports and athletic categories. Florence Laroche, a high-performing soccer player, was named Sports Laval’s Athlete of the Year in the international category.
Among the dignitaries attending were City of Laval deputy mayor David De Cotis, well-known Quebec sportscaster Rodger Brulotte, Quebec Liberal MNAs Jean Habel (Sainte-Rose) and Saul Polo (Laval-des-Rapides), and federal MPs Angelo Iacono (Alfred-Pellan), Fayçal El-Khoury (Laval-Les Îles), Yves Robillard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin) and Eva Nassif (Vimy).
An emotional highlight of the evening was the induction into the Laval Sports Hall of Fame of Denis Baillairgé, who contributed to the development of a variety of sports in Laval, including baseball and hockey, as a player, coach, organizer and administrator over a period of 40 years.
Two inducted in Hall of Fame
Pierre Marchand, a contributor to soccer in Laval over a period of 35 years, was also inducted into the Laval Sports Hall of Fame. Since 2012, the City of Laval has recognized the important contribution Marchand made with the Prix Pierre Marchand now awarded annually during the Mérite sportif lavallois.
In an interview with the Laval News, MNAs Saul Polo and Jean Habel agreed that events like the gala are important for building the confidence of local athletes.
“The population of Laval is growing quickly,” said Polo, noting that “events like this showcase sports talent from Laval that distinguishes itself across the province and also nationally.” Habel added, “That’s why it’s important for us to support our youth and for us to be here.”