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Team Brad Jacobs, seventh Ontario premier, Sir William Hearst, inducted to Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame

Team Brad Jacobs accepted a granite leaf on the Sault Ste Marie Walk of Fame on Thursday as the city also recognized the province's first premier to hail from the North.

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Team Brad Jacobs accepted a granite leaf on the Sault Ste Marie Walk of Fame on Thursday as the city also recognized the province's first premier to hail from the North.

“It's an honour to be on the walk of fame beside so many amazing people, not just sports people,” said Jacobs, whose team went on to a silver medal at the men's curling world championships last year after becoming the first Northern Ontario rink to win the Brier since 1985.

Jacobs said he recognizes that his team's accomplishments over the last year likely warrant a spot on the walk, though he said he was surprised to see it happen this year.

“I really didn't think it would be this early,” said the skip.

Jacobs and his teammates had their walk of fame leaf dedicated Thursday, along with one for the late Sir William Hearst, Ontario's seventh premier, who was a Sault MPP.

They join past inductees including Roberta Bondar, Tony and Phil Esposito, Ken Danby, Ted Nolan and Francis H. Clergue.

“You just have to go out there and look at the names (on the walk). The names are phenomenal,” said Jacobs.

Matthew Shoemaker, a local lawyer and history buff, nominated Hearst after doing some research on Ontario's seventh premier, a Sault Ste. Marie lawyer who also served as Minister of Forests and Mines.

“It interested me that I had never heard about him – and I'm interested in local history and in local politics,” said Shoemaker.

Hearst, whose name graces the Northern Ontario town of the same name, is noted not only for leading the province through the First World War, but for also presiding over the enfranchisement of women in Ontario.

Though the Sault MPP initially opposed giving women the vote, he later changed his position, overseeing the passing of the The Election Law Amendment Act of 1917.

“You learn about that, but you don't learn who enacted it,” said Shoemaker.

Hearst died in 1941.

An entry in Sault Ste. Marie City By the Rapids suggests that a 1917 comment by Hearst that granting women the vote was not an issue of compelling interest helped lead to his defeat in 1919, as did his support of war time temperance measures.

“You win some, you lose some,” Shoemaker said of Hearst's involvement in prohibition.

Shoemaker said his research revealed Hearst's imposition of a war time prohibition led to the formation of the LCBO, which was created when liquor laws were later relaxed.

Jacobs joked that Fry, a Winnipeg native who joined the team as third during the summer of 2012, squeaked by the walk of fame requirement that recipients must have lived in the Sault for at least 12 months.

“He barely made it in there,” laughed Jacobs.

Fry said Thursday's ceremony was a big honour for him.

“It's been great. All the people have been so friendly and Sault Ste. Marie has been really accommodating to me,” said Fry.

Jacobs and crew are looking to have another big season this year, having won two of their first three tournaments to be ranked first and Canada and second in the world as of this week.

This will be a big year for Jacobs, as he will be looking to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with Team Canada pre-trials set to start Nov. 5 in Kitchener, Ont. The Jacobs rink is among 12 qualified for pre-trials, with the top two moving on to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in December in Winnipeg.

Tom Coulterman, the team's coach, looked on during Thursday's ceremony. He said the team is in a good position, particularly when it comes to their potential, not just for this Winter Olympics, but the 2018 games as well.

“Just the fact that I'm part of a team that's got a chance to make it to the Olympics – I never thought that would happen,” said Coulterman. “It's a pretty amazing opportunity.”

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