In pioneer days, there were no organized sports, as farmers and their families had little time to devote to leisure activities.  But when they finally could take a break, on field days such as the annual picnics organized by the parishes, they would hold ball games, races and various other competitions.  Fishing in the valley's many lakes and streams as well as hunting in the fall helped feed the family while providing pleasant moments of relaxation.

In 1947, there were baseball teams in Blezard Valley, Hanmer, Azilda and Chelmsford, making up the Senior Valley League.

In Hanmer Township, it was not until 1949, when the municipal council considered building a municipal hall that would be used for athletics that talk began about establishing an athletic association.  At the time, a joint committee from Capreol and Hanmer already looked after an outdoor skating rink and playing field.

In the 1960s, merchants opened three bowling alleys in Hanmer, Capreol and Val Caron.

As soon as arenas opened in Hanmer and Val Caron, hockey teams were organized either for the pleasure of the sport or for competition.  Starting in 1971, the Valley East Figure Skating Club took on other local clubs in an Interclub competition.

Since 1981, Club Richelieu de la Vallée has been organizing an annual family hockey tournament.

A Hall of Fame was established in Valley East in 1998.  Its first athletic members were Frank St. Marseille and Ron Duguay (both hockey veterans), Lucien Chevrier (a bodybuilding veteran), and Rolly Barriault (a wrestling veteran).  Some professional athletes are also in the Hall of Fame including figure skater Amanda Maurice, and hockey players Andrew Brunette, Darryl Lafrance and Shannon Hope.  Among the names of the amateur athletes who received this honour were Melissa Junkala and Mike Comeau in hockey, Kelly-Ann Thompson-Guillet in swimming and Nathalie Menard in the Para-Olympics.


Material compiled from Valley-East 1850-2002 and Hanmer.

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