Men’s football and curling headline seven impressive inductees into the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame
The Laurier athletic department will continue their annual tradition this Homecoming weekend by celebrating and honouring seven new members as a part of the 2021 Hall of Fame class.
Created in 1986 to honour coaches, student athletes and teams who have made outstanding contributions to varsity sports at Laurier, the Golden Hawks will celebrate seven impressive individuals as well as a championship winning team as they embark on their thirty-fifth year of inductions.
The seven inductees of the prestigious 2021 class features six dominant student-athletes and a legendary men’s hockey coach. All seven members had a large impact on Laurier athletics throughout their career and each of them were pivotal in adding silverware to the Golden Hawks trophy case.
Football defensive lineman, Kwaku Boateng and linebacker, Nakas Onyeka, were both members of Laurier football’s special 2016 Yates Cup Championship team five years ago.
Outfielder and three-time OUA Champion, Jonathan Brouse will be honoured this weekend after a productive career with men’s baseball as will Richard Krell and Aaron Squires, two members of men’s curling who have combined to win four provincial championships.
On the women’s side, Whitney Ellenor will receive recognition after carving out one of the most impressive women’s basketball careers in school history.
Joining the builders category this year is legacy-defining hockey coach, Wayne Gowing, who spent over two decades as the Golden Hawks men’s hockey coach. In addition to the seven individuals, the Hall of Fame will also honour the 2004 Yates Cup Championship winning football team.
“To be selected to the Laurier Golden Hawks Hall of Fame comes from more than just hard work, a desire to learn and improve, but impressive performances, success in the classroom and a positive contribution to community life,” director of athletics and recreation, Peter Baxter said.
“This group truly embodies what it means to inspire lives of leadership and purpose,” Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University said in a press release.
Boateng played four seasons for the purple and gold and boasts an impressive profile of achievements. Joining Coach Michael Faulds as part of his first recruiting class in 2013, the 6’2, 240 pound defensive lineman worked hard throughout his entire career, becoming a dominant pass-rusher.
“I would characterize Kwaku as the best player I’ve coached in terms of one skillset,” Faulds said.
“[Kwaku] was electric right from when he came in. In terms of rushing the passer there was no one better,” he continued.
Boateng was a two-time first-team All-star in the OUA and a two-time All-Canadian, while also winning the OUA award for top defensive lineman in 2015.
What may be more impressive than his on-field accomplishments, is Boateng’s commitment in the classroom. Studying accounting throughout his four years, Boateng was rewarded as a three-time academic All-Canadian.
“He had the desire to get after quarterbacks and did it the right way. He was a great student in our business school and worked extremely hard in the weight room,” Faulds said.
After a career year in 2016 and an OUA championship, Boateng was drafted in 2017 by the Edmonton Elks where he has continued to play since 2017.
Boateng’s teammate, Nakas Onyeka followed a similar journey after joining the Golden Hawks football team. He was able to be a pivotal piece of the OUA championship in 2016 and was drafted in the same round as Boateng in the 2017 CFL Draft.
Onyeka won OUA defensive player of the year in 2016 and was also a two-time OUA all-star, while winning the president award as the top male athlete during his time with Laurier. To Coach Faulds, what made Onyeka so special was his persistent work-ethic.
“I could one hundred percent coach one hundred Nakas Onyeka’s,” Faulds said.
“There is no one [who] wears his heart on their sleeve more. He wasn’t the biggest guy, wasn’t the strongest guy, wasn’t the fastest guy, but he played with the most heart,” he continued.
Calling him a “little pitbull,” Faulds said that there was not a better leader than Onyeka as he had the exceptional talent of motivating the rest of his team when it was needed.
One of Laurier’s most decorated programs – men’s baseball – will send another one of their student-athletes to the Hall of Fame with Jonathan Brouse being inducted. As an outfielder, Brouse was a member of three OUA championship winning teams contributing on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Two members of another successful varsity program, men’s curling will also be inducted this weekend with both Richard Krell and Aaron Squires earning the recognition. Krell and Squires were teammates who played at a high level specifically in 2014 and 2015 making the national championship game both years.
Squires was named an All-Canadian in 2014, while the duo was able to win the provincial championship together in 2015. Krell remained with the team in 2016 where he was able to lead the team to both the provincial and national championship.
The only women member a part of the 2021 Hall of Fame class, Whitney Ellenor may be the most impressive of inductees. Ellenor was one of the most dominant individual athletes to play for the Golden Hawks. As team captain, Ellenor was an OUA all-star and All-Canadian while also leading the women’s basketball team to a provincial bronze medal and a spot at the national championship tournament in 2014.
In the builder’s category, Wayne Gowing will be inducted after 25 years of success as the coach of Men’s hockey. Gowing posted a career record of 255 wins and 155 losses, while leading Laurier to three provincial championships during his time behind the bench. Gowing coached current men’s Laurier hockey coach, Greg Puhalski and Stanley Cup winning CEO, Steve Griggs back on the 1989 and 1990 team, having won provincial championships in back-to-back years.
The 2004 Yates Cup winning football team will also be celebrated this weekend as the 26th team entry in the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame. The 04’ team led by Hall of Fame coach, Gary Jeffries, went on a remarkable run, ending a 13-year drought for men’s football.
“The 2004 team has the unfortunate stature of getting overlooked a little bit because of the Vanier cup winning team the following year,” Faulds said.
“That 04’ team was amazing, and it is great to see them get much deserved recognition,” he continued.
All seven members including the 2004 football team will be honoured as part of the homecoming celebrations this upcoming Friday through all of Laurier’s social media channels.
While disappointing the events can’t be held in person for the second straight year, the 2021 class is truly special, having made a memorable impact in their sport and adding several pieces of silverware to the Golden Hawks trophy case.