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Former Olympic athlete, AHL hockey star selected for East Ferris Hall of Fame

Taylor Milne represented Canada in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where he competed in the 1500 metre run and then Rio de Janeiro in 2016 where he competed in the 3000-metre steeplechase

East Ferris has honoured two of its favourite sons into the Sports Hall of Fame in the Athlete Category.

“East Ferris community is proud to welcome these athletes into its Sports Hall of Fame,” said Mayor Pauline Rochefort. “Their contributions to the world of sports are well documented and their induction into our community’s Sports Hall of Fame is richly deserved. Congratulations to Taylor Milne and Richard Rochefort.

As a young athlete, Milne could be seen running long distances along Corbeil roads. His parents Debbie and Terry Milne, residents of East Ferris, explain that Taylor was born with a natural talent for running, but it took a lot of dedication and many hours of training to achieve his goal.

Taylor Milne represented Canada in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where he competed in the 1500 metre run and then Rio de Janeiro in 2016 where he competed in the 3000-metre steeplechase. He also represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and won eight medals at Canadian Track and Field Championships.

In high school in North Bay, he won five NDA cross country championships and nine 1500- and 3000-meter run titles. He captured six NOSSA golds and four silvers in the same disciplines and added OFSAA silver in the 1998 cross country and bronze in the 1500 metre in 2000.

While attending High Point University in North Carolina, Milne set several university records.

Richard Rochefort's journey started at the East Ferris Community Centre playing hockey.

That led to a hockey career would bring him around the world playing over 650 professional hockey games in North America, Europe, and Asia.

As a minor AAA hockey player, he played on five winning northern Ontario Championship teams. In 1994 he was selected to represent team Ontario at the International Under-17 Tournament and was then drafted in the first round by the Sudbury Wolves. The following season, Richard was selected in the seventh round by the Stanley Cup Champions the New Jersey Devils.

He played five seasons in the American Hockey League.

In 2002, his career brought him to international hockey and playing throughout Europe and Asia that included the Italian Series A Finalist in 2006, winning the Japanese National Championship in 2008 and 2009, the Asian League Finalist in 2008 and the Deutsch Elite League Finalist in 2010. In 2011, Rochefort retired and returned home to East Ferris where he continues to be actively involved in coaching hockey that has included the Nipissing University Lakers and the U-16 Team N.O.H.A.

At the same time. Municipality a Sports Award in the Builder Category goes to Francine Devost.

“Francine has had a positive and lasting impact in the community,” said Richard Champagne, Chair of the Municipality’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee. “She is an icon and highly respected figure who has been coordinating and coaching broomball for over 33 years.”  

Devost has also led the Giroux Broomball Team to win the East Ferris Carnival Championship for over 25 years. At the age of 68, she continues to play alongside the athletes she coaches. Her positive outlook and great sense of humour has earned her the beloved nickname “Gramma Fran”.

The East Ferris Sports Hall of Fame provides a permanent and public display of sports achievements by athletes, teams, and builders promoting East Ferris sporting history. A permanent tribute to the inductees is displayed in the Rene Boudreau Hall located at the East Ferris Community Centre.