Hockey family produces thrower
The Dallman name in Niagara Falls is synonymous with hockey.
Marty Dallman played six games for Maple Leafs, had a long pro career in North America and Europe and played for Austria at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Kevin Dallman suited up for three teams in the NHL and just retired from a long and successful career in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Tommy Dallman, a 15-year-old Niagara Falls native who is Marty’s nephew and Kevin’s cousin, also plays hockey but the Grade 10 student at Saint Michael Catholic High School is making a name for himself in the sport of track and field.
Competing in his first full season with the Thorold Elite Track Club, Dallman is the top-ranked thrower for his age group in the province in discus and hammer throw.
At this past weekend’s Ontario Minor Track Association Track and Field Championships in Brampton, Dallman captured gold in intermediate boys discus.
He got his start in track and field in August 2020 when good friend Carson Gauthier suggested to him that he would be good at throwing.
“We were at a friend’s house throwing a sledge hammer to see who could throw it the farthest and I kept throwing it farther than him.”
Dallman joined Thorold Elite shortly afterwards and became an immediate convert to the sport.
“From the very first practice, I loved it,” he said. “It’s being able to throw and being able to meet new friends and have new opportunities.”
He admits to being surprised with how well he has performed this season. He credits his success to two things.
“It is training a lot every week and being determined.”
Dallman trains three to four times a week at Thorold Elite Track Club and works with a team of coaches that includes former provincial high school champion John Ahlstedt and Kelly Saldutto.
“It great to be out there training with everyone and to know that one day you will be able to throw really far,” he said.
Dallman enjoys the rivalry he has with Gauthier in the discus.
“We support each other when we throw and we train together but we also have a big rivalry,” he said.
Thorold Elite coach Steven Fife feels Dallman is a perfect fit for the sport.
“He was meant to be a thrower,” he said. “Not only does he have the size and the strength that you look for, but he was also pretty natural at it and has one of the best whips in discus that we have ever seen.”
Dallman threw almost 40 metres, a national standard, in discus within his first few months of trying the event. This season, he hit a personal best throw in discus at the NXT CHAMP Invitational in Toronto (48.7 metres) and a personal best in hammer throw in Hamilton in July 11 (44.06 metres). He won gold in hammer at the U16 Athletics Ontario Provincial Championships and gold in discus at NXT CHAMP.
“In the future, my goal is to throw for Canada in the Olympics in discus and hammer,” he said.
Dallman’s performance at the Ontario Minor Track Association Track and Field Championships was one of many strong showings by Thorold Elite members. The club took home 12 gold, seven silver and 15 bronze medals.
“The medals are great but the highlight of the weekend was seeing the team spirit and the camaraderie the way that athletes were cheering each other on during their races, hanging out at the track between events like we used to do before COVID and how they would light up when they achieved a personal best,” Fife said. “At this age we like to keep it fun and it’s more about the experience and the learning and promoting a positive introduction to competition. As long as they did their best and had fun, we are happy with them and that type of outlook actually lends itself well to successful results.”
Out of 64 event entries by the club, more than two-thirds resulted in personal bests and more than half produced podium performances.
Boys earning medals for the club included: Kaleb Kennedy, gold in intermediate boys javelin; Dallman, gold in intermediate boys discus; Chad Thorpe, gold in intermediate boys 400 metres; William Gibson, gold in senior boys discus and bronze in shot put; Gavin Stone, silver in intermediate boys 800 metres; Kaidyn Fournier-Phillips, silver in atom boys discus and bronze in shot put; Tyrese Gibson, bronze in intermediate boys long jump; and Evan Blake, bronze in atom boys 400 metres.
Girls with podium performances were: Coco Van Nynattan, gold in senior girls discus and shot put, silver in javelin, and bronze in high jump; Olivia Froemchen, gold in tyke girls shot put and bronze in discus; Charlotte Ciceran, gold in atom girls shot put and silver in discus; Leah Orr, gold in senior girls javelin and silver in shot put; Aaliyah Henry, gold in atom girls 400 metres; Cassie Orr, gold in senior girls javelin and silver in high jump; Ayla Laing, gold in senior girls 800 metres racewalk; Lacey Stone, bronze in atom girls javelin and 200-metre hurdles; Anna Harmsworth, bronze in senior girls javelin and high jump; Layla Gallant, bronze in senior girls 200 metre-hurdles; Tola Adewumi, bronze in atom girls 100 metres; Jordyn Kilty, bronze in intermediate girls shot put; Kyjiah Slowley, bronze in senior girls long jump; atom girls 4×100-metre relay (Leah Orr, Lacey Stone, Henry, Adewumi) , silver; and senior girls sprint medley (Madison Eaton, Morgan Shaw, Gallant, Laing), bronze.
“When I look back, we have athletes who at the beginning of the summer had never even held a discus or a shot, and now they are a provincial medalist in the event so we can only be proud of everyone for a really successful season and for how much we were able to accomplish this summer,” Fife said.