From the fifth floor of the provincial building, to people’s basements and into their new facility some 17 years ago, it has been quite the journey for the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Next Friday when they induct their 2017 class on May 26, it will mark the 17th year in their new building just off Hwy 2, but also the 60th anniversary of the Hall of Fame.
“We anticipate between 500 and 600 people that will be in attendance. That is to celebrate and honour the accomplishments of athletes, builders, teams and media that we do every year,” said managing director Donna Hateley.
“The process starts in January and they select down to 10 normally, this year we have selected 11 individuals and one team… it’s a celebration of what they’ve done, brings together all the families as well and sports people. We usually have a large contingency of alumni, hall of famers that come back every year.”
To celebrate the occasion, the museum also has a number of special exhibits including 100 years of the NHL, 50 years of the Canada Winter Games and a small tribute to their own 60 years of history.
“2017 has a lot of very important milestones in sport, in Canda and Alberta specifically,” said Breanna Suk, collection and exhibit coordinator.
“For our 60th we have the history of the Alberta Hall of Fame society and museum, where we came from and how we got to where we are… in the Hall of Fame gallery you can see our very first inductees. Some of the people inducted way before we remember and see some of the accomplishments dating all the way back to 1957.”
Two new additions also include adding the plaques of the original inductees to the Hall of Fame room, along with an exhibit outlining the recovery of athletes from devastating injuries. It even has pictures of x-rays of the athlete’s injuries and in some cases, like Kyle Shewfelt’s pins from his broken tibia.
“Injuries do not define us exhibit highlights Alberta athletes in their sporting life to some career changing injuries and their journey back into sports,” Suk said.
”Exciting to get a little bit more of a science-based exhibit. Get to see their x-rays, some of the sports injuries that are quite common to athletes. Then how you can overcome those injuries to maintain an active career again.”
Along with all the new and shiny exhibits, the 2017 induction class features some fascinating figures in sport.
For one, Alberta hockey hero Ryan Smith will inducted, the long-time Edmonton Oilers forward nicknamed “Captain Canada” for all his success representing our country.
“Great opportunity for people to come out and meet these people and to talk to them. One of the people from this area that people can identify with is Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Smyth,” Hateley said.
Another interesting figure in attendance will be Betty Carveth Dunn, a spry 92-year-old who enters in the pioneer category, as she was a member of the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girls Professional (baseball) League. She posted a combined 4-11 record and a 2.28 earned run average in 21 games for the Rockford Peaches and the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1945.
“She has some amazing stories. Very alert and very with it so she’ll be exciting to talk to and get those treasured memories,” Hateley said.
The Peaches were famously featured in the iconic baseball film “A League of Their Own”.
Other inductees include Rick Duff (boxing), Keltie Duggan (swimming), Doug Jones (baseball), John Kucera (alpine skiing), Hans Maciej (tennis builder), Herbert McLachlin (basketball builder), Marilyn Palmer O’Connor (golf), Sharon Trenaman (squash builder), Jeff Hansen (sports writer). the 1984-85 NAIT Oooks hockey team will also enter the hall.
The induction ceremony and banquet goes May 26 at the Sheraton Red Deer.