Loyola (Lyle) Drake
Our newest member to be inducted into the St. Lawrence Soccer Hall of Fame started his soccer playing days on the meadows of the East Side of the harbour. He played on the high school team with other Hall of Famers like Keith Farrell and Hughie Tarrant. Upon completion of High School, he immediately embarked upon furthering his education in the electronics field. However, before doing so he did play Junior soccer with the Laurentians.
After spending most of his life living and working on the mainland, he decided in 1990 to return to Newfoundland to live and work. Immediately his love of soccer and the St. Lawrence Laurentians beckoned him to get involved. Unfortunately his playing days were well over and by living in St. John's it seemed impossible to seek a position on the Executive of the St. Lawrence Soccer Association.
Well, he certainly could not stand idly by and do nothing. He was very knowledgeable in computers so he decided to start a St. Lawrence Laurentians website. He did a fair amount of research and hence www.laurentianshomepage.com was born. This website is viewed not only by Laurentians home and abroad but by every Newfoundland soccer fan around the world. It almost seems impossible for a website concerning a soccer team from a small Newfoundland town to be highly viewed but up to this date more than three hundred thirty thousand visitors have been recorded. One of the most interesting areas of the site, of course, is the Fan Forum which is where anyone can write what they feel either for the Laurentians or against the Laurentians. Needless to say, editing of some of the comments has to be done on a daily basis by the moderator of the website.
The creation of a website, however, is not the only contribution of our newest inductee into the St. Lawrence Soccer Hall of Fame. He has been instrumental in quite a number of fundraisers in the 1990's and the 2000's. This past year for example, he was the key organizer for the fundraising out of the city of St. John's when it looked as if it was going to be impossible to raise enough money to send the 1st Division to Surrey, BC and the Masters to Charlottetown, PEI. His major contribution went a long way in reaching the financial goals of the St. Lawrence Soccer Association in sending away our two Laurentian teams. He has accompanied many of the 1st Division teams over the last number of years to National Competitions and certainly did his part in assisting the team in each of those Canadian cities. In 1999, in Chilliwack, BC he even did colour commentary on the games that were broadcasted on the local radio station CHCM. In 2006, he accompanied the St. Lawrence Laurentians Masters to PEI and certainly did his part in taking many pictures of the Laurentians Gold Medal weekend.
He has created a scholarship program that has benefited many of our first division players who are attending post-secondary institutions. He has taken pictures at all Provincial and National Championships that he has attended and at every banquet he makes a presentation of these pictures to the Association and also to individual players at no cost to anyone. He has also given pictures to some of our staunchest fans such as TJ Slaney, Pete Slaney and Dave Slaney.
In 2004 he helped co-ordinate the One Hundred Anniversary of soccer in St. Lawrence. He designed the new logo encompassing the old one with wings showing the dates 1904 to 2004. He designed merchandise and was responsible for ordering all of it and making sure it was on hand for the anniversary celebrations.
His greatest gift to the St. Lawrence Laurentians Soccer Association has been his loyalty to the players who wear the royal blue and white uniforms. You'll never find anyone else who will give so much of his time devoted to the technical side of his volunteerism and it should be well noted that most of his contributions to the St. Lawrence Laurentians has been done with the help and support of his very capable wife Dolores, who left no stone unturned in helping the Laurentian cause.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you our newest member of the St. Lawrence Laurentians Soccer Hall of Fame Mr. Loyola (Lyle) Drake.