Saranac Lake, NY – July 19, 2017
“Beef” Bevilacqua, Leo Demong, Jay Annis to be Saranac Lake Mountaineer Rugby Club Hall’s newest members.
Three long-time members of the Saranac Lake Mountaineers Rugby Football Club will receive Black Jacket awards, symbolic of induction into the club’s Hall of Fame.
On the night of July 28, in conjunction with the opening of the 44th annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament, Mike “Beef” Bevilacqua, Leo Demong, and Jay Annis will don their Black Jackets in a ceremony slated for 7pm at The Waterhole on Main Street in Saranac Lake, NY. The evening will start with a 6pm Black Jacket Happy Hour at the Downhill Grill, also located on Main Street.
Mike “Beef” Bevilacqua
Mike Bevilacqua played prop and solidified Saranac Lake’s front row for over a decade and covered the position for more consecutive matches than anyone in club history. Beef’s dedication to the club also transferred into a tireless attitude working for the Can-Am Tournament. He could be seen mowing the pitches and lining them, installing the goal posts, and removing trash.
It was not unusual to see Mike cooking beef for the patrons and moments later, taking his prop position on the field. And then, when darkness descended on the action, Bevilacqua was the social chairman.
A long-time early scrum half for the Mountaineers and tireless worker on early Can-Am Tournaments, Leo Demong’s son, Bill won Olympic gold and silver medals in Nordic Combined (cross country and ski jumping) at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, marking the first medals for the U.S. in this discipline.
Leo came to the Tri-Lakes region from Cornell University, where he took a position with the Department of Environmental Conservation. He has arguably played more games at scrum half than anyone in the history of the Mountaineers.
Demong, physically smaller in stature than many opponents, developed a reputation of perhaps being the toughest athlete, pound for pound to ever put on a Saranac Lake uniform.
Annis has been the director of the annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament since 2003. He’s a past coach and player, whose athletic participation ended with a neck injury in 2012. However, the family connection to the game continues as his daughter, Baylee is a capped member of the U.S. Eagles and is currently in the national team’s player pool.
The devotion of Annis to the club and the game is emphasized in the donation of his field and clubhouse for use by the Mountaineers, as well as high school and college players.
He was instrumental in securing non-profit status for the Can-Am Tournament, which as grown to over 100 teams each summer and provides significant stimulus to Saranac Lake’s economy.
Past Black Jacket Hall of Fame Inductees
- Jan Plumadore
- Kerry Kelly
- Gerry Gillmett
- John F. Morgan
- Tom Sciacca
- John Muldowney
- Bill Dolittle
- Sean Morgan
- Bob Brehl
- Ian Orme
- Peter Frenette
- Stacey Annis
- Tammy Morgan
- Kyle Munn
- Dean Naegele
Induction into the Black Jacket Hall of Fame, which started in the mid-1990s is predicated on at least 10 years of service to the club; longevity of participation as a Mountaineer that earns respect on the basis of being a positive influence on and off the field; demonstrate a clearly unselfish dedication to the sport and specifically, the Mountaineer program by enhancing its development; has served as both a player and volunteer.
About the Black Jacket Hall of Fame
The mission of the Black Jacket Hall of Fame is to celebrate and honor the individuals who have had a distinctive, positive influence on the Mountaineer Rugby Football program. Members are selected on their level of performance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the Mountaineers. They have inspired and helped develop the game into the character-building sport that it is today.