Frank Theakston- 1941

A graduate of Acadia in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics and subsequently a Nova Scotia Tech graduate with Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Engineering, Frank Theakston was an outstanding athlete, starring in both rugby and hockey. On the grid iron this former Colchester Academy performer saw action with the ’38 rugby squad that battled St. Mary’s in semi-final playoff action. Following an opening game 6-all tie, the Axemen dropped a 13-8 encounter to the Haligonians as he, Abe Cohen and Gordon Troke shone in a contest dominated by well known provincial hockey stars, Jeny Mulcahy and Lany O’Donnell.

The following fall Theakston shared accolades with Johnny Wilson and Everett Cameron as the Axemen on Raymond Field defeated Halifax Wanderers, 26-6. In a subsequent contest with the Provincial Intercollegiate crown at stake, he registered Acadia’s lone try in an 11-3 loss to St. F.X. As members of the Halifax City League in 1940, the Axemen with such experienced performers as he, Wilf Anderson, Archie Street, Wilson and Cameron in uniform competed in several exhibition tilts against strong senior clubs. In a 13-3 victory over his hometown Truro Bearcats, Theakston, Anderson and Cameron were the standouts. In a subsequent 10-0 triumph over the Aldershot Army Squad, this trio and Archie Street were particularly effective. In a 14-5 win over the Halifax Navy club, a game report of that time noted that “big Wilf Anderson” and “the diminutive Frank Theakston” were the stars of the contest.

On November 8, 1940 the Axemen blasted the same Navy squad to win the City League Rugby crown. In subsequent play against the legendary Caledonia team for the McCurdy Cup, Theakston and teammates fell to the famed Cape Breton aggregation as multi-sport luminary Jimmy O’Dell drew special praise.

In the ice game, Frank Theakston enjoyed considerable success as the Fred Kelly-directed pucksters competed for intercollegiate honors. The ’39-’40 hockey season, in particular was a banner one for the Axemen as they emerged as Maritime Intercollegiate champs. Playing on a squad that featured such performers as high scoring Jimmy Gmy and netminding sensation Neil Price, Theakston, too, was a major contributor, scoring several key goals and playing outstanding two-way hockey.

In the opening contest of a two-game total-goal series for the Valley League title, Theakston and Gmy were the goal scorers as the collegians battled the Wolfville Cohorts to a tie. In the concluding tilt, the clubs battled to a 2-all draw in regulation playas Carl Bruce and Theakston were the Axemen scorers. In overtime the Kellymen emerged victorious as Bruce Parlee netted the winner on a fine setup by Jimmy Gray. Drawing special praise from the press was Frank Theakston whose “sweeping pokechecks stopped manya Wolfville attack”. By virtue of 4-3 and 3-0 victories over St. F .X. and St. Dunstan’ s respectively, the Axemen became the proud possessors of Provincial and Tri-Province titles.

In the Maritime championship contest, Theakston, who played a heady game all evening and who on several occasions was denied a goal by the sparkling net minding of Len Connolly, shared plaudits with offensive standouts Wilf Anderson, Jack Murdock, and Gray and defensive stalwarts Justin Jordan and Doug Smith and goalkeeper Price.

In his senior year as a hockey Axeman, Frank Theakston finished in third place in scoring in Valley League play, being edged out in total points by Bert Jordan and Monroe MacDonald, a couple of the Valley League’s premier marksmen. As a fitting tribute to an outstanding hockey season, Frank Theakston, who earlier that academic year had captained the varsity rugby team, was awarded the prestigious Orlay Bligh Trophy.

He joined the Canadian Armyas an Engineer Officer in 1942, serving with distinction until the end of the war in both England and the European Theatre. Following this global conflict, he completed his studies. Eventually he joined the Faculty of Ontario Agricultural College (later Guelph University) where he experienced an outstanding career as professor and researcher. His remarkable work, for example, in snow and wind studies is known worldwide.

It is indeed an honor to induct to Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame, Mr. Frank Theakston, an outstanding athlete, scholar and researcher.