Former Niagara Falls Flyer inducted into Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

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Published February 13, 2023 at 12:18 pm

Steve Ludzik, centre, during his time as a Niagara Falls Flyer.

When the 2023 inductees to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame were announced, one very familiar name to Niagara Falls was on the call-sheet.

Steve Ludzik, a former NHLer who spent his junior career as a Niagara Falls Flyer, was selected as the winner of the Sandy Hawley Community Service Award, which is handed out each year to an individual who best exemplifies a dedication to the community.

Although he was born in Etobicoke, Ludzik made quite a name for himself as a Niagara Falls Flyer from 1978 to 1981, scoring 125 goals and adding 233 assists for 358 points in 193 games.

This broke the career point total record for the Flyers, which still stands today. He was subsequently named to the Flyers’ All-Time Five Man All-Star Team.

After playing the majority of his professional NHL career with the Blackhawks, except for 11 games with the Buffalo Sabres in 1989-90, Ludzik went onto coaching in the IHL with the Muskegon Fury and then the Detroit Vipers, where he won the 1996-97 Turner Cup with General Manager Rick Dudley.

He then spent two years as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but was let go after the 2000–01 season. He subsequently went to the OHL as head coach of the Mississauga IceDogs (the predecessors of the Niagara IceDogs in St. Catharines), and then to the AHL, where he ended his coaching career in 2004–05 with the San Antonio Rampage.

He was inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame in 2017 for his accomplishments in hockey.

Ludzik has battled Parkinson’s disease for years, prompting him to establish the Steve Ludzik Parkinson’s Rehab Centre at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catharines. He has suffered other ailments, including Crohn’s disease and most recently, liver disease.

Last October, he had the press box at the Gale Centre named in his honour.

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