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Thorold Runway of Recognition announces 2024 inductees and award winners

The Thorold Runway of Recognition Gala is taking place Monday, June 10 at John Michael Banquet Hall
The Thorold Runway of Recognition in 2023.

The Thorold Runway of Recognition has named the 2024 inductees and award recipients who will be honoured at a ceremony on Monday, June 10.

This year’s Runway inductees:

  •    Gary Mills (Athlete – Skeet Shooting)

Gary Mills of Thorold, Ontario is one of Canada’s most successful and outstanding skeet shooters for over 3 decades. He has been shooting NSSA registered targets since 1968. He excelled in the province, winning 23 championship titles from 1981 to 1996. He won the Ontario Doubles Championship in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989. Gary has also captured countless titles south of the border, most often in New York State, Ohio and Michigan. He has also earned All-American status and over his career has shot 100 out of 100 in competition 130 times. Gary Mill’s performance and dedication to the sport has well earned his induction into the Canadian Shooting Hall of Fame.

  •    Nicole Venditti (Athlete – Rowing)

Nicole has always been a proud life-long resident of Thorold. She had an extremely successful rowing career and always represented Thorold. She is an accomplished rower having competed with Denis Morris High School, Ridley College, The St. Catharines Rowing Club and Brock University. Nicole competed and won numerous regattas in both the US and Canada and won the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (Schoolboy) in 2012. The win qualified the team to compete in England at the Henley Royal Regatta. A highlight of her career was winning the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta with the U17 Men’s 4 in 2011.

Nicole competed in the Royal Canadian Henley twice, the CSSRA Schoolboy, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and finally the Championships of Rowing in 2013. After high school, she was recruited by Michigan State and offered a full-ride scholarship which was turned down to stay close to home and attend Brock University.

  •    Sean Bentivoglio (Athlete – Hockey)

Sean Bentivoglio played and won with the Thorold Blackhawks Junior B team and was able to move up to get a full scholarship at Niagara University in the USA when he was just 17 years old. He accumulated 123 points in his Niagara U Career. He then went on to sign with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League playing 15 games and getting 14 points. At the end of that season, he signed a three-year contract with the New York Islanders playing in one NHL game and over 200 games in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He ended his pro career in the German league, Italy and also in England. He ended up playing 14 years professionally. He won some notable awards during his career including playoff MVP for Thorold Blackhawks, and MVP for his role in university.

  •    Andrew Bosco (Builder – Figure Skating)

Andrew began his synchronized skating career with the Thorold Juvenile Team.  He was the only male on the team. As Andrew continued to compete, his love for the sport grew. With the help and encouragement from his skating coaches and mother, he became a trial judge. As Andrew moved up the ranks in the judging community he soon became a synchronized skating judge. He always came back to work to consult with the Thorold teams: Midnight Ice and Ice Excellence.  He helped them on what they may need to improve their routines to get the most points as possible. Being a judge is a volunteer position and is a very demanding commitment. Andrew soon became an International and Olympic level judge. In 2022 Skate Canada awarded Andrew the National Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award in recognition of his dedication and contributions to the discipline of synchronized skating. Today, Andrew is part of the Skate Canada Leadership Team as part of the operational committee.

  •    Bob Elliott (Builder – Runway of Recognition)

Bob was raised in North Bay, ON, playing high school football. While attending high school, Bob was a referee for Junior Football along with being a Baseball umpire. That continue here in Niagara. Bob left North Bay at the age of 21 to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Moving to Thorold in 1997, he found himself immersed in the rich history of sports in Thorold with the likes of Danny “Bo” Lodboa, Skeeter Gazzolla, Freddie Speck and Rita Payne.

In 2007, Bob, along with the late Wilf Slater, approached Mayor Robin Davidson about their proposal and the birth of Thorold’s Runway of Recognition began. At any given time, Bob could rattle off every Junior B hockey player’s stats.  

Serving for many years as Chairman of the Runway Committee was truly a labour of love, along with working with Tim, Cindy and Turk. We would love everyone to remember Bob at the yearly dinners, in his tuxedo and red bow tie, along with his passion for sports. Without Bob Elliott, the Sports Runway of Recognition would not be in existence today. 


Award Winners:

Team of the Year: Scorpions Cheer Team

The Niagara Major Scorpions are a team of kids from 9 to 12 years of age. There are 27 athletes on this team made up of all girls that are a combination of both experienced and brand new athletes. They have had an exceptional year accomplishing many achievements including: 1st place in their division (youth level 2), Level 2 Cheerleading Champions of all level 2 athletes regardless of age, Best Choreography Award, Grand Champions, Hit Zero with perfect runs of their routines, and they won a bid to the World All Star Championships in Florida which they attended in April.

Irene McInnes Female Athlete of the Year: Grace Pyatt – Volleyball

Grace Pyatt is a Woman’s Volleyball player for Brock University Athletics. In this past 2022-23 season she appeared in 16 regular season games, playing 52 sets.  Grace registered 103 kills, 6 assists, 4 service aces, 22 digs, 51 blocks and a total of 135.5 points. She averaged 1.98 k/s .98 d/s. Ranked 1st in OUA hitting percentage, 3rd in block assists and 6th in total blocks.  Grace recorded 10 more points in 8 matches. She was named an OUA team all-star and U SPORTS second team All-Canadian.  What a great year she has had as she continues to study Applied Gerontology as a Senior.

Wilfrid Slater Male Athlete of the Year: TJ Woods – Track & Field

TJ Woods is an amazing representative of the Thorold community. He is a very talented track and field athlete who achieved amazing results this past year. In 2023 TJ was the NCAA grade 8 champion in the 400 meter and 800 meter. He went on to OFSAA and was the silver medallist XC grade 9, MTA Gold medalist and AAU Silver medalist grade 9 for 2024. He adds to these titles Ontario gold medalist in the 1200 meter and 800 meter leg of sprint medley. He ended these triumphs with a 7th place finish at the American Indoor Nationals in Boston, MA, in the 800 meter.  

Daryl Mahler Coaching Excllence Award: Mike Bolibruck – Hockey

For over a decade, Mike Bolibruck has been an integral part of the Thorold hockey community (TAAA), dedicating himself to coaching various hockey teams both local and rep and serving on the board of directors for the TAAA. His tireless efforts have not only shaped the skills of countless athletes but have also instilled in them a sense of discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork. This year Mike contributed to the community First Shift Program sponsored by Bauer. This initiative designed to introduce children to the sport of hockey has flourished under Mike’s guidance. His passion for the game and his ability to connect with young athletes have made him a beloved figure in the coaching world. He goes above and beyond to ensure that each player reaches their full potential both on and off the ice.  He also organizes trips for Niagara youth to travel to Europe and play and he runs summer teams to develop Niagara Youth.

Mike Bolibruck has embodied the spirit of the Daryl Mahler Award for Coaching Excellence. His dedication, passion and unwavering commitment to the development of young athletes make him a truly deserving recipient.

Albert Ciancio Memorial ‘Friend of Sport’ Award: Linda Saldarelli

Linda Saldarelli was an extremely dedicated volunteer for many years in the sport of Figure Skating. Linda held various positions during her time with the Thorold Figure Skating Club. Starting with the beginner program Canskate and actively moving on to Carnival Chairperson and eventually becoming the Vice President and President of the skating club for many years. Not only did she hold these positions, she was also the Head Convener for the Competitive Synchronized Skating Teams Ice Excellence. Linda was the first to recognize her peers for their roles and accomplishments in the skating community. The club was her pride and passion and she worked tirelessly to make it a success. She later became the Thorold Rep for the Niagara Area Skating Council where she showcased her talents in the Judges and Officials rooms for all the competitions. Linda’s love for the Thorold Skating Club is still alive and she refers to the many friends that she has made over the 35 years as her “Skating Family”.


The Thorold Runway of Recognition Gala is taking place Monday, June 10 at John Michael Banquet Hall. Tickets are $40.00. For more details, head over to