For the past six years at about this time, Nanaimo has officially honoured some of its most noteworthy sports personalities.
That recognition has come by way of induction into the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall, located in the lobby of the Nanaimo Museum, was established in 2008. Since that time, some 37 individuals and teams have been honoured with a spot in the hall. The last entry ceremony was in the fall of 2013, when the inductees were former NHL hockey player Gene Carr, Olympic field hockey player Susan Reid (Schellinck), longtime boxing coach Les Varro and the Margaret Fuller championship women’s curling team.
This year, however, the Sports Hall of Fame committee made a decision to move back the event and to hold inductions every two years instead of annually. By having more time between ceremonies, it will give time for additional worthy nominations to be received.
The nomination process is easy. A one-page form is available from the Nanaimo Museum or its website and when completed is sent to the museum along with any supporting documents.
There are five categories for nominations: athlete, builder, pioneer, media and team. It must be pointed out, though, that standards for induction are high. Athletes to be considered must have attained a high level of excellence and recognition. The inductees to this point have mostly represented Nanaimo either at the Olympics or achieved fame in professional leagues. Examples are Olympic athletes Gerald Kazanowski, Brenda Taylor, Ray Telford, Allison Forsythe and Al Hill.
The builder category includes coaches, officials and sports administrators, but the nominee must have brought recognition to Nanaimo and made a significant contribution over a period of time. Past inductees have included Elwood Wylie, Harry Wipper, Jim Gold, Frank Crane and Bill English.
The pioneer category takes in candidates who brought significant honour to Nanaimo sport during a period of time longer than 50 years ago. An example is the 1914 Northfield Violets soccer team.
Larry Thomas and Michael Rhode are the only two inductees to this point in the media category – both having made a significant contribution to the enjoyment of sport in Nanaimo through their chosen medium.
Hall of Fame inductees in the team category, similar to the criteria for individual athletes, are those that have represented Nanaimo at Olympic, national, or international competitions. Notable examples so far are the 1956 Nanaimo Timbermen Mann Cup champion lacrosse team.
Looking ahead, the next set of inductees will be determined early in the new year and the ceremony will be held in the spring of 2015. The committee has a number of quality nominees to consider, but they want more. There must be many amateur sports historians or longtime fans who could come up with names of individuals or teams that might deserve entry into our Sports Hall of Fame.
For more information, check out the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame display at the Nanaimo Museum, visit www.nanaimomuseum.ca, or contact museum general manager Debbie Trueman at 250-753-1821.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.