Two Central Albertans were inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on Monday.
Broadcaster Dianne Finstad received the Bell Memorial Award for her outstanding rodeo coverage, and former University of Calgary basketball player Leighann Doan Reimer, who competed at the 2003 Pan Am Games and the FIBA Americas (zone) Olympic qualification tournament, was also recognized.
Twelve Albertan’s were selected for the prestigious sports honour. They include winners of Olympic medals and World Championships, as well as sports builders and pioneers who have dedicated endless hours.
Doan Reimer played for the University of Calgary Dinos from 1997 to 2001 and was named CIS Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year her inaugural year. She finished five years on the team as the all-time leading scorer with 1,958 points and averaged 20.8 points a game. Her awards include being named the 2000 and 2001 CIS Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
Doan Reimer, who played high school basketball in Stettler, said she was involved in sports from a young age.
“In small towns if you don’t find something to keep you busy, there’s trouble to be found there,” said Doan Reimer at the inductee ceremony at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer Monday morning.
“Get the kids involved in sport from a young age. Whether they excel at it or continue to do it later in life, I still think it’s important that they learn some basics. They get active.”
“I feel very comfortable playing a lot of sports now as an adult because I did it at a young age. It keeps me active.”
She said right now there’s a lot of pressure to specialize in a sport at an early age and play it year round, but sports have to be fun.
“When we put so much pressure on it, it’s not fun anymore and they’re not going to continue to do it,” Doan Reimer said.
Finstad said she’s grateful to all the rodeo competitors who have allowed her to tell their stories through media over the years.
“The change in technology has been amazing but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the stories. That’s what I like the most. Cowboys are great story tellers,” Finstad said.
She said another change has been that rodeo competitors now recognize themselves as athletes.
“In the early days they always had true grit and cowboy try and dedication to their craft. But now to be competitive they need to be working out and they’ve got people that help them like the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team. They help them look after their injuries and they train.”
Other inductees were:
- Doug Barkley, hockey athletes and builder
- Keely Brown, ringette athlete
- Theoren Fleury, hockey athlete
- Cindy Klassen, speedskater
- Phil Allen, basketball builder (inducted posthumously)
- Dave King, hockey builder
- Dr. Lorne Sawula, volleyball builder
- Calgary Colts (1989 and 1990) Junior Football teams
- Stuart Erskine, mountaineer and Achievement Award recipient
- Rod Davies, basketball builder and Pioneer Award recipient