Two women — including Olympian soccer star, UFC fighter — join Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame


Published October 27, 2023 at 7:03 pm

Melissa Tancredi soccer Hamilton Sports Hall of Famer

Two female athletes were among five local sports figures inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame this year.

The event took place Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Michelangelo Events and Conference Centre.

Melissa Tancredi, 41, was among the new Hamilton Sports Hall of Famers. Tancredi was a soccer forward, three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze medallist and three-time Olympian.

According to her Team Canada bio, the Ancaster native won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, where she was Canada’s second-leading scorer (after legend Christine Sinclair) with four goals. In 2016, Tancredi helped Canada win silver in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier to secure the national team a spot in the Rio Olympics.

Tancredi, who now works a chiropractor in British Columbia, started playing soccer at age four.

Joining her as an inductee is women’s lightweight boxing champion and mixed martial arts and UFC fighter Jessica “Ragin” Rakoczy, 46. Rakoczy was in the strawweight division ( 115 pounds), the lightest weight class in the UFC.

Rakoczy became a professional boxer in October 2000, earning a record of 33 wins and three losses in her career, according to her Wikipedia bio online. She made her MMA debut in 2009, with one win, three losses and one no contest.

Bob Young, another Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame inductee, is the owner and caretaker of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club and professional soccer club Forge FC. Born in Ancaster, he was known for helping broker a deal for a new permanent home for the Ticats in Tim Hortons Field in 2014 and bringing back financial stability to the franchise, according to the Ticats website. Under his ownership, the Ticats have made it to the Grey Cup four times. Hamilton this year will host the championship game for the second time in four years.

The late sports journalist Bob Hanley was inducted posthumously into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame. He won 35 newspaper awards including three national and nine provincial honours during his 47 years with the Hamilton Spectator, according to his bio on the Canadian Football Hall of Fame site.

In 1992, Hanley was inducted into the Football Reporters of Canada section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame website quoted a colleague describing Hanley as having a “sense of Old Hamilton, its history, its character, its flavour.”

The colleague said: “No other writer has ever captured the essence of Hamilton the way Bob Hanley did.”

Hanley covered everything from Queen’s Park to the Munich Olympics in 1972, the World Cup and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He died in 1990.

The late Ellison Kelly, a former offensive lineman, was also chosen to join the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame. He joined the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992. He played for the Ticats from 1960 to 1970, where he won three Grey Cups. He played for the Toronto Argonauts in 1971 and 1972.

He never missed a game during his 13-year career and played 175 consecutive regular season contests, according to his Canadian Football Hall of Fame bio. The bio noted he was a “versatile performer” who also had depth at the defensive end and linebacker positions. Teammates knew him as a “tough, solid competitor, even when injured. ”

He died in 2016 at age 80.

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