Today the BC Sports Hall of Fame inducts a new roster of talented individuals and teams who have made our province proud through excellence in the realm of athletics. The Banquet of Champions will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre and will honor the following:
Gary Gait, Lacrosse
Widely considered the greatest lacrosse player of all time, Victoria’s Gary Gait revolutionized the way the modern game is played. A winner of every possible major lacrosse team championship, Gait won the NLL MVP award a record six times and remains the NLL’s all-time leader in goals and points.
Paul Gait, Lacrosse
Like his twin brother, Victoria’s Paul Gait also enters the discussion of greatest lacrosse player of all-time. Over his career Gait won twelve major championships, led the NLL in goal scoring four times, earned eight First-Team All Pro selections, and won the league’s MVP award in 2002.
Trevor Linden, Hockey
Perhaps the most universally respected athlete in Vancouver sports history, Trevor Linden recorded six 30-goal seasons and led the Canucks to within a goalpost of winning the 1994 Stanley Cup. After his 2008 retirement, Linden became only the second player to have his number retired by the club.
Maëlle Ricker, Snowboarding
West Vancouver’s Maëlle Ricker took on the world’s best in her own backyard in 2010 and emerged Olympic champion in women’s snowboard cross, the first Canadian woman to win gold on home snow. A month later Ricker locked up the World Cup Overall title. In 106 career starts she collected 14 victories and 32 podium finishes
Lauren Woolstencroft, Para Alpine Skiing
The ‘Golden Girl’ of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, North Vancouver’s Lauren Woolstencroft became the first Winter Paralympian in history to win five gold medals at a single Paralympic Games. Earlier she represented Canada at the 2002 and 2006 Paralympics winning another three gold medals, one silver, and one bronze.
The excitable, straight-shooting Canucks radio colour commentator for most of the past 33 years, Tom Larscheid’s energized enthusiasm resonated through the airwaves working beside the legendary Jim Robson and later Jim Hughson and John Shorthouse. Larscheid also worked as the BC Lions’ colour commentator on CKNW from 1975 until 2000.
Mike Jones, Wrestling
For over thirty years, Mike Jones’ Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club has been a dynasty churning out eighteen Olympians, twenty-eight national championship teams, thirteen world and Olympic medals, eight NAIA team titles, and produced more individual champions than any other comparable program in North America.
Audrey Williams, Figure Skating
Involved for over fifty years, Vancouver’s Audrey Williams is one of the all-time great figure skating officials from BC. Appointed an International Judge by the ISU in 1967, she judged the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, six World Championships, and four World Junior Championships. Williams remains the only female native British Columbian to serve as an Olympic judge.
W.A.C. Bennett Award
His remarkable drive, vision, and organizational ability have significantly shaped BC sport for decades. Through the Thunderbird Golf Society, the UBC Thunderbird Council, and the Millenium Scholarship Breakfast Zlotnik has raised millions of dollars for BC athletes. Zlotnik has served as president of the Kids Up Front Foundation, chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner.
Members of the 2010 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team
Roberto Luongo, Scott Neidermayer, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber
1933 Chinese Students Soccer Team
Gordon Chang, George Lam (Secretary), Jackson Louie, Lem On, Jack Soon, Shupon Wong (Goalkeeper & Team President), Dock Yip, Horne Yip, Gam Jung, Charles Louie (Playing Manager), William Lore (Vice-President & Treasurer), Buck Sing, Frank Wong, Art Yip, Gibb Yip, Quene Yip
“In an era when the Chinese population in BC was made to feel like second-class citizens, the Chinese Students Soccer Team stood as a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope, the only Chinese-Canadian soccer team in Canada and thought to be the only such team outside of China.” Read more in this Vancouver Sun article.
The BC Sports Hall of Fame, which was located in BC Place, will soon be moving back into its space at the newly renovated stadium. Many of the inductees have also donated items to the Hall of Fame’s new Olympic Celebration Gallery. Follow @BCSportsHall on Twitter or Facebook for updates and information about the grand re-opening.
Proceeds from the Banquet of Champions support the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s HERO IN YOU Educational Program, working to inspire every child in British Columbia to find their own hero within.
Miss604.com is a proud sponsor of tonight’s Banquet of Champions event and I will be providing the liveblog throughout the evening (accompanied by photos from John). Follow the tag #2011BOC on Twitter starting around 5:00pm for live updates.
Check out full inductee biographies in this document (although many need no introduction).
Update 6:30pm: John and I arrived at the Vancouver Convention Centre in time for the VIP Reception. Several inductees were present and there was a special ceremony for young honourees.
There were two recipients of the Jack Farley Youth Sports Achievement Award: Kathleen Leahy of Victoria and Brian Malfesi of Maple Ridge.
Karen Magnussen presented awards to promising young BC athletes and they had the chance to get their photos taken with Roberto Luongo, Trevor Linden, Mike Jones, and Tom Larscheid.
Update 6:36pm: Everyone has been asked to take their seats (prying themselves away from the amazing silent auction prizes and the stunning north shore view) and soon Jill Krop and Steve Darling of GlobalBC will take to the stage to emcee the evening.
Update 6:45pm: We’re just heading into the dinner portion of the evening but I’ll pick things up in about one hour’s time. The laptop will go away but I’ll be tweeting @Miss604.
Update 7:00pm: Members of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, along with tonight’s inductees, were just piped into the room as we all stood and applauded the honourees.
Update 7:15pm: Colin Brown, Hall of Fame & Museum Chair welcomed everyone to the banquet this evening. Sue Griffin, President & CEO of the BC Sports Hall of Fame just talked about their year “on the road” since they haven’t had a home since BC Place has been under construction. They brought their collection to communities across the province, from Trail to Prince George. They’re looking forward to the new Hall of Fame facility that will open in November, 2011.
It’s 6,000 square feet and will host the largest Vancouver 2010 collection in the world thanks to many donations from athletes. Everyone in the room (about 1,000 attendees here tonight) just received a ticket to the grand opening.
Update 8:30pm: Bob Lenarduzzi and Ian Paton (of Paton Auctions) have taken to the stage following dessert to conduct a live auction. The first item up for bids is a winter storm getaway at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino. It sold for $2,300 and the next item is a stay at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and it sold for $650.
The next item is “Golf with Trevor and Tom” and the value is listed as “priceless”. It’s a day of golf with inductees Trevor Linden and Tom Larscheid at Capilano Golf Club followed by drinks and dinner. The item just sold for $2,400. Following the golf package is a full page ad in the Vancouver Sun, valued at $25,000. Bob interrupted Ian at certain price levels to announce that the Sun would offer an additional ad should the bidding get up to a certain amount. The result is that three individuals had winning bids of $12,000 on three separate ads. That auction just generated $36,000.
All proceeds help the BC Sports Hall of Fame which is a non-profit organization that celebrates sport in BC.
Update 9:15pm: Tonight’s first inductee is Maëlle Ricker. Steve Darling and Jill Krop sit down to interview her on stage. Steve asks what she’s thinking right now. “I’m nervous,” Maëlle replied. There was an early photo of her on one of the big screens where she’s on skis so she was asked about how she got into snowboarding. The hosts then moved on to talk about her Olympic performance.
“I was trying I got all the lyrics right so none of my friends would bug me,” said Maëlle about the national anthem playing during her medal ceremony.
Jill also asked about how she’s a role model for young women. “I heard Karen Magnussen say earlier tonight that you want to be gracious when you win and you want to be gracious when you don’t. That’s something you want to pass on.”
Maëlle will be donating her freestyle snowboard from the Torino Games to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Update 9:20pm: The next inductees are BC members of the 2010 Olympic gold medal hockey team including Roberto Luongo, Scott Neidermayer, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Shea Weber. Scott Neidermayer and Roberto Luongo are in attendance tonight. Steve Darling asks the two men about the gold-winning game and in particular the overtime period.
“Obviously it was exciting and it was nerve racking. But, at the end of the day it’s all for moments like that,” said Roberto. “The guys did a great job of keeping their focus and that stayed with them into overtime,” added Scott. “I think what we tried to do was get settled down. It was pretty disappointing to get scored on when we were that close to a gold medal… …I didn’t know when it would end, I was just working toward getting it to end in our favour.”
Jill asked Roberto how he feels about being inducted with the team. “I wasn’t born in BC but having the chance to play in Vancouver, and play in the Olympics, it’s something I will cherish.” He added that he’ll make a point of visiting the BC Sports Hall of Fame as often as he can.
Roberto Luongo will be donating his goalie mask from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Update 9:35pm: Gary Gait’s introduction video said he’s the greatest lacrosse player of all time, “although his brother might have something to say about that.” His twin brother Paul is also being inducted tonight. “I just keep playing and enjoying the game and good things just keep happening,” said Gary. “Any time you play on a team sport it’s like a fraternity, you’re lifelong friends.”
“Just like anything in life, you put the work behind it and success will come,” added Gary. “That’s what I try to teach my kids and that’s what it’s all about for me.”
Update 9:45pm: Marty Zlotnik will be receiving the W.A.C. Bennett award next. This award is not handed out annually and this is only the 14th time it has been handed out.
Update 9:55pm: Lauren Woolstencroft, our golden girl (with 5 gold medals in a single Paralympic Games) is the next inductee. An astonishing athlete who has been decorated with countless medals for her achievements worldwide, she takes the stage with Jill and Steve. “It’s a huge honor and it’s an amazing class to be a part of,” said Lauren.
Regarding Vancouver 2010, Lauren said it was an awesome experience. “We had so much media coverage which was great for the Paralympic Games.”
Update 10:00pm: Mike Jones is the next inductee (he coached our wrestling gold medal winners Daniel Igali and Carol Huynh, among others) and has a proud SFU following in the house tonight.
Update 10:08pm: The next inductee tonight is Paul Gait, the other half of the dominating Gait brothers of lacrosse fame. He grew up a fan of rugby but lacrosse was where he found a home. Steve asked about playing alongside his brother. “It’s been said that he’s a little bit more pizazz, a little bit more flare and I have a little more power. But in my eyes it’s just the opposite.” He added, “We were competitive every day of our lives and having that extra challenge on an hourly basis or so just drives you.”
Paul said getting inducted is a great honour. “It’s an even better honour knowing that it’s a sports hall of fame and not just a lacrosse hall of fame.”
Update 10:15pm: The Hall inducts the 1933 Chinese Students Soccer Team. Members of their families are present to accept honors on the players’ behalf. They gathered on the stage for a photo below the big screen that was displaying an old black and white image of the championship team. “They were all born here,” said Mr Yip (apologies I didn’t catch his first name) who is the son of a team member. “They were Canadians, although they weren’t treated as Canadians.”
“If you look at the image behind us, five of them are Yips, which is why there’s so many of us on the stage today.” Words of inspiration for Chinese Canadian athletes of tomorrow who see this team in the BC Sports Hall of Fame: “Future generations will come to the realization that it is possible if you work hard and train hard, that it is possible to win a championship and excel at your sport.”
Steve Darling was just told by Mr Yip’s widow that she was wearing her original wedding dress on stage tonight. I think my heart just melted.
Update 10:25pm: Audrey Williams is inducted next in the “builder” category as she helped grow figure skating programs in BC. She spoke about the evolution of figure skating, judging, and the sport today. She added that Patrick Chan’s recent performance at the world championships was the best she’s ever seen.
Update 10:32: In the “media” category is our second to last inductee of the night, Tom Larscheid. “I won’t apologize, I wanted our teams to win every game,” said Tommy. “I never had any training. I didn’t go to journalism school or broadcasting school but the thing I learned very quickly in this business is ‘be yourself’. That’s what I’ve tried to do all these years. Show your personality. I love connecting with the listener or the viewer.”
“In our business we take ourselves too seriously. We should always remember it’s a game. It’s an obligation to tell the story as we see it through our eyes.”
Update 10:45pm: The final inductee tonight is Trevor Linden who gets a standing ovation. “I’m inspired and I love hearing their stories,” said Trevor about all the other members of this year’s inductee class as he sat on stage.
Trevor said that in his early years with the team Burke and Quinn told the players: “We expect a lot of you on the ice but we expect a lot of you off the ice.” Those words stuck with him and inspired his volunteerism and activity in the community.
His brother also told him: “You can make a difference to a child just by showing up and not many people can do that… …You have to use that gift as much as you can.”
“I was rooting so hard for the guys to get the job done,” he added about this year’s playoff run for the Canucks. “I think game 6 at the coliseum was one of the greatest games played in history,” he said about his own run in 1994.
“I think every athlete can say that the support from their family and their friends is what gets them to where they are.” In terms of coaches, Trevor gives a shout out to Pat Quinn. “Not only did he draft me, he drafted me out of high school.”
“I think that certainly I wasn’t the most talented player around. I think I applied myself and worked really hard. You have to figure out what you have to do to be successful… …There’s one way to have success and that’s to work extremely hard.”
Update 10:55pm: That’s all for the live blog tonight. All photos in this post were taken by John Bollwitt and you can see the rest in his Flickr set.