- Updated: April 14, 2017
The 61st Annual Banquet of Champions for the BC Sports Hall of Fame was held at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center with an impressive 760 on hand to both honor and pay tribute to the 2017 class of Inductees to the hall.
The event is the largest event held annually by the BC Sports Hall of Fame and this year see’s the induction of 11 new members, which brings the enrollment to an impressive 385 individual and 60 teams to the Hall.
A gala reception was held prior the formalities with Global Sports Anchor Squire Barnes and Chris Gailus as the evenings Masters of Ceremonies while the role of the auctioneer was played by BC Lions wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi.
As sticking with tradition for the Hall, a parade of past Inductees were honored with John Ashbridge doing the introduction as a the introduction of a new sponsor Vanguard Mortgage Chairman Raymond Wong speaking on behalf of the firm as well as words from Rich Coleman who was representing the 35th Premier of British Columbia – Christy Clark.
As with most events of this nature a silent auction was held which featured numerous exceptional packages courtesy of the following:
- In addition to other exceptional packages plus the ever popular 50/50 draw
The inductions began with Chang Keun Choi (Taekwon-Do) who emigrated from Korea and opened the first Taekwon-Do school in Vancouver and Western Canada in 1970 was introduced in the Pioneer category.
The next inductees were George and Dianne Tidball (Equestrian) owners of the 85-acre Thunderbird Show Park who were represented by their children who accepted the award in memory of their Parents.
Jim Lightbody chair of the board of the trustees for the Hall of Fame spoke about the importance of the Hall and what it stands for in recognize of the Athletes and what they have done for sports in BC and their legacy.
Coache of the year categories saw three this year as Bruce Kamstra (Judo), Peter Lawless (Wheelchair) and Wes Hammer as well with awards from the BC Sports Hall of Fame, followed by the introduction of the 1969-70 UBC Thunderettes Women’s Basketball team.
Roland Green (Cycling) who resides in Fernie has an impressive portfolio and one that stands out is his four-time Canadian National mountain biking championship (1996, 1998, 2001, 2003) was introduced in the Athlete Category followed by long overdue UBC’s Frank Smith with the T-Birds (Football) followed on the podium by Port Alberni’s Tim Frick for Wheelchair Basketball.
Winnipeg’s Michelle Stilwell currently resides in Parksville and a Member of the Legislative Assembly was recognized as a Seven-time Paralympic medalist (6 Gold) representing Canada in Wheelchair Athletics.
Kamloops born and three-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Recchi spanning 22 NHL seasons was followed by the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award (2006) Geroy Simon (Football), with New Westminster born and the first athlete of Indian descent to (reportedly) play professional football David Sidoo receiving the 2017 W.A.C. Bennett Award.
The last and by no means final induction of the evening was presented to Rugby’s Mark Wyatt (Rugby) with his Mark’s introduction by Gareth Rees, who drew the lowest cheer of the evening as the year’s ceremonies came to a close.
As the evening was coming to a close both Squire and Chris (Masters of Ceremonies) introduced Executive Director Allison Mailer thanked everyone on making the 2017 BC Sports Hall of Fame one of the biggest in the history of the Hall.
Special thanks to the Sports Hall of Fame media relations department Eddie Tabakman also Allison Mailer Executive Director and Curator Jason Beck Curator for making Sportswave feel welcome.