Attention prominent sports figures in Lethbridge — teams, athletes and builders — the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame is looking for you.
And whether those athletic accomplishments have taken place in the past, Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame treasurer Knud Petersen said there’s no time like the present to get those nominations in for the 27th Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame induction slated for May 5.
“We have some worthy nominations left over from last year,” said Petersen, adding that the deadline for nominations is Jan. 31. “But we’re certainly looking for more. As always, we’re having to rattle the chains to get things done, but we’re hoping we’ll get some more good nominations in before the deadline. We certainly need a few more to do a proper process.”
While many athletes, teams and groups adorn the 27-year-old wall, Petersen believes there are still local athletes that haven’t gotten their due.
“I think there are probably people that should be in the Hall of Fame that have never been nominated,” he said. “It’s basically up to individuals and sports organizations to think about who might be worthy of a nomination. I think the Sports Hall of Fame committee in the past few years have been a little bit proactive in urging people to nominate certain people that we think should be in there. Ideally, it should come from individuals in sports organizations. It shouldn’t be up to us to urge people on to do it.”
The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame took shape back in 1985 as the city looked back on 100 years of history celebrating the centennial of the community that was once known as Coalbanks.
Since the launch of the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, it has inducted more than 220 individuals — athletes, builders and others — along with more than 30 teams and organizations.
In that centennial year, a foundation was laid on which to build the Hall of Fame. A dozen notable athletes and 20 renowned sports builders, along with six teams, formed the inaugural class of inductees.
The founding group included athletes Glen Anderson (multi-sport), Robert Armitt (soccer, track and field), Harry Blacker (basketball), Jim Furlong (football), Earl Ingarfield (hockey), Enid (Dowdie) Pepper (multi-sport), Marie Popson (archery), Tom Sindlinger (basketball), Vic Stasiuk (hockey), Logan Tait (basketball, racquetball), Katie Wilson (multi-sport) and Kai Yip (boxing).
In the builders category were Tony Bogusky (boxing), Ed Bruchet (multi-sport), Stan Carmichael (multi-sport), Peggy Currie (figure skating), A.G. Donaldson (soccer, hockey), Jack Emery (boxing, track and field), George Gemer (track and field), Dick Gray (hockey), Syd Hall (hockey), Harold Harris (multi-sport), Yvonne (Currie) Jacobson (figure skating), George McKillop (multi-sport), Frank Miles (boxing), Hector Negrello (baseball, hockey), Steve Pedersen (multi-sport), William Rea (curling), Yoshio Senda (judo), Stan Siwik (swimming), Carl Trentini (hockey) and Henry Viney (multi-sport).
The teams included the Cliff Forry and Myrna McQuarrie rinks in curling, the 1958-59 Lethbridge Broders Chinooks (basketball), the 1936 and 1937 Lethbridge Galt Miners Senior Men (baseball), the 1950-1951 Lethbridge Maple Leafs (hockey), and the 1932 Supina’s soccer team.
Since 1996, the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame banquet has also served to highlight the annual Kinsmen Sports Persons of the Year, paying further tribute to outstanding performers in the city’s sports community.
The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame isn‘t actually a hall, but a portable display board that was revamped recently and carries the city’s sports history out into the community.
The display is currently set up at city hall and will be moved to the seniors centre during the last two weeks of January leading up to the nomination deadline.
“We’ll have some nomination forms there, but they can also log onto the Lethbridge Sports Hall Of Fame website, www.lethbridgesportshalloffame.ca. They can download the nomination forms off the website. At city hall they’ll have nomination forms there,” said Petersen, adding people with nominations can also reach him at 403-380-4751.
Nominations for the 2012 Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame don’t necessarily have to be individuals with accomplishments from recent years, said Petersen.
“It doesn’t have to be from the immediate past. Certainly some people from the last 30 or 40 years should be nominated who are not in there. People from the past who people are not necessarily aware of, those are the people we would really like to get into the Hall Of Fame.”
The official induction will take place May 5 at the Lethbridge Coast Hotel.
This year’s theme is “50 Years of Canadian Interuniversity Sports” with University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon as this year’s guest speaker.
“Mike has played football at the University of Manitoba in his early university days and he went on to become a dean at the University of Alberta in the physical education department,” said Petersen. “Now he’s the president of the University of Lethbridge. So that’s quite a success in terms of the CIS. We’re pretty excited about having him. I’m sure he’ll be great.”
The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame inducted 11 people on its 25th anniversary in 2010, but typically six new names make the wall each year.
“That’s kind of the average over the years. Sometime they’ve done less, but since I’ve been involved in the last six years we’ve averaged about six people per year,” said Petersen. “We like to induct one team out of those six and maybe two athletes and two builders or one or two special awards people.”
Petersen knows first hand about the honour of being selected to the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1997 as part of the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s soccer team that won nationals in 1994.
“It’s definitely a big honour to be in there,” said Petersen. “Having been on the board for six years, I’ve seen a lot of inductees and it means more to them than they initially think it does.”
A prime example is one of last year’s inductions, basketball player Phil Tollestrup from Raymond, who has played both locally and nationally.
“(He’s) long overdue to be in there,” said Petersen. “Initially he didn’t seem too excited about it, but as we got closer he was pretty happy to be up there. It was really neat. He’s had higher-profile honours bestowed upon him over the years, but to still see him appreciate getting into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame (is great).”