Finding out you’ll be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame is an honour that would make any athlete or sports lover burst with pride.
And for Red Deer’s Lauralyn Radford, who was recently announced as a 2023 inductee into the hall as a multisport builder, she was surprised but grateful to get the call.
“There are so many worthy candidates in our province that I was not expecting to be chosen that’s for sure… I tried to get in as an athlete but that didn’t pan out obviously, right,” Radford chuckled.
“Any type of recognition or honour is always to me humbling to think that other people think that I had an impact on our community. That’s definitely my goal is always to have an impact on the community but to be recognized and honoured I mean this will be in perpetuity. I’m just overwhelmed I think it’s an honour.”
There’s no question Radford has left her footprint on the community’s sports scene bringing in massive events to Red Deer such as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2004 and 2012. She’s also responsible for reeling in the 2006 Alberta Summer Games, the 2013 Tour of Alberta Cycling race, and the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Radford currently sits as a board member on the Canada Games Council and was also previously a member of the board for Speed Skating Canada.
What drove Radford to make a difference was a motto her parents passed down to her wherever you are or whatever you do leave your community in better shape than when you found it.
“I’ve been very lucky to have some amazing role models starting with my parents and other friends of my parents. Then you move into this community and you’ve got the Joan Donald’s, Hugh McPherson’s and even Allan Ferchuk,” she said.
“This is such a special time to be able to be inducted into the hall of fame that I can go in with my friend Al Ferchuk who I’ve been working with side-by-side for the last 25 years. Trying to make our sports community stronger and better and giving more opportunities to our athletes in our community so they don’t have to be driving up Highway 2 day after day.”
Radford has lived in Red Deer for 36 years and made an impact over the years after she saw a need for improvement in some of the organizations her children were involved in.
“It’s not that anybody was going anything necessarily wrong it’s just you needed to spend the time on it. I made it my priority to do some of this and it just snowballed,” she added.
Red Deer’s Allan Ferchuk was also one of the 11 inductees announced this week who will soon be immortalized into the hall of fame next year as a multisport builder.
Ferchuk has coached both men’s and women’s hockey and won three national titles in four years with the RDC Kings in 1977, ‘79, and ‘80. He served as president of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association as well as chair of Hockey Development Canada.
He has also volunteered to help in many community events including as director on the board of the 2019 Canada Winter Games and chairperson of the prime Games legacy, Central Sport.
His background is in the growth and development of children academically at the master of science level and studied the effective activity of sport on children. Ferchuk explained he was involved in sports within the community firstly because he enjoyed it but also because he wanted to make an impact.
He said his induction means a lot to him in the sense there are reasons why he got involved but never thought he’d do it for approximately 50 years.
“Time goes quickly and to receive this recognition and to be with other inductees that I’ve so much looked up to when I first moved to Alberta it’s quite amazing,” he said.
Ferchuk moved to Red Deer in 1973 from Saskatchewan and only planned to stay temporarily but has been here ever since. He remembers coaching hockey at the old Red Deer arena and on the wall lay a sportsman of the year plaque. He read about some of the athletes who have competed in the community and was inspired.
“I remember looking and said holy moly this town’s got lots going on,” he said.
What kept Ferchuk in Red Deer for nearly 50 years cannot be boiled down to one specific reason but he said a major factor was an attitude among the people that we can accomplish anything. Secondly, he found that there wasn’t a time when he volunteered that he didn’t get more back from the experience than he could have imagined.
“I chose to volunteer above my day-to-day work and I found I just grew so much,” he said.