V.I. Raiders player Lucas Desmet, middle, hoists the Armadale Cup with teammates Tremaine Apperley, left, Matt Ready and Nick Woznesensky following the team’s 51-14 victory over the Edmonton Wildcats in the Canadian Bowl junior football championship at Caledonia Park. (News Bulletin file)

Next class of Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame inductees announced

Steve Smith, Aaron Guiel, Richie Nichol and the 2009 V.I. Raiders will be added in 2017

The next class of Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame inductees will bring back some memories.

The Nanaimo Museum announced Wednesday the next four inductees into the hall – mountain bike champion Steve Smith, baseball player Aaron Guiel, basketball player Richie Nichol and the 2009 V.I. Raiders junior football team.

Smith, from Cassidy, was a world cup champion in downhill mountain bike racing and is considered Canada’s best ever in the sport. He died a year ago after crashing his dirt bike in Nanaimo and the Stevie Smith Memorial Bike Park is currently under construction at Beban Park.

The 2009 Raiders, according to the Nanaimo Museum press release, are “considered to be the best junior football team ever assembled.” The squad went a perfect 13-0 and finished the season with a 51-14 victory over the Edmonton Wildcats in the Canadian Bowl at Nanaimo’s Caledonia Park.

Guiel, who played minor baseball in Nanaimo, made it all the way to the major leagues, playing with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. He represented Canada at the inaugural World Baseball Classic tournament in 2006 and also played five seasons in Japan.

Nichol played for the Vancouver Hornets, UBC Thunderbirds and even the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1930s and ’40s.

“We are proud to honour outstanding athletes from our community,” said Debbie Trueman, Nanaimo Museum general manager, in a press release. “They represent local achievement in all levels of sport and many are strong contributors to community athletics in Nanaimo.”

The induction ceremony is by invitation only and will be held at the museum in mid-June.

For more information about the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame, please visit www.nanaimomuseum.ca.