Title ||Les Potapczyk|
||Inducted into the City of Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame January 2012 ; Builder - Basketball 1971 - 1990 Era ; |
||Les Potapczyk became involved with basketball at a very young age. He grew up playing basketball at St. Patrick’s Hall, before spending five years (1964 -1969) as a member of the Niagara Falls Collegiate Vocational Institute (NFCVI) basketball team. In 1970, Les played summer basketball at Brock University, and that winter began playing recreational basketball in the Niagara Falls Muny League, and continued to do so until 1989.|
In 1970, Les began coaching and organizing boys and girls basketball at St. Patrick’s Church. The girls’ teams played in an all girls Church League. There was no league for the boys’ teams, so Les took them, as well as some others, to Niagara Falls, New York to play at the Boys and Girls Club, in the Biddy League. He did this for four continuous seasons and then Les, along with Bruce Stiefelmeyer and Brian Mulligan, organized the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Minor Basketball League for boys in 1984. As well as refereeing, Les oversaw procedures and operations of this new league until 2002, at which time it became part of the Niagara Falls Red Raiders Minor Basketball Association.
||In 1976, Les initiated and organized the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championships for the City of Niagara Falls, an activity for boys and girls 9 to 14 years of age. He co-coordinated this event for 25 consecutive years, and it is still held annually.|
Les has won many awards for his contributions in basketball. They include the Niagara Falls Basketball Hillesheim Award(1976), the Doug Austin Sportsperson of the Year Award (1989), the Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Award (1996), and the George MacPhail Award from the City of Niagara Falls for outstanding service in recreation (2006).
Les has also been an inspiration to many athletes through his involvement with the Niagara Falls Big Brothers, the MS Bike Tour, Track Niagara, Niagara Falls International Marathon, and Niagara Falls Terry Fox Run.
The many sports contributions of the modest, friendly natured Les Potapczyk have earned him a well deserved spot on the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame.