Financial hurdles hurting Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame soon may no longer be able to share decades of the province’s sport history.

To date, ASHOF executive director Tracey Kinsella said the organization has only received 25 per cent of its operating budget for the year, making it tough to keep the museum and the history accessible to the public.

It has been slower than a typical summer due to COVID-19 concerns, since the museum reopened in July, Kinsella explained.

Even if it was a busy summer, without funds from the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturism and Status of Women, Kinsella is concerned that they simply won’t be able to preserve the history. The ASHOF used to get its funding from the Alberta Sports Connection, which was dissolved in November.

“The important message to get out is sports and the museum, why we’re here doesn’t change. We need to capture and share those stories,” she said.

“What these athletes and sport builders and teams have accomplished, those stories need to be shared and captured for life. If we let that go… you just can’t let heritage like that go… it’s really hard to bring back.”

She said they’ve written to the government about the need for funding, but have been told the department that typically provides it, is undergoing an internal review.

Letters from the ASHOF to the government, along with letters of support from honoured members like Kurt Browning, Jamie Sale and Beckie Scott have mostly gone unanswered. Kinsella did note that they have a meeting with Red Deer’s two MLAs Adriana LaGrange and Jason Stephan at the start of September.

“We’re pushing hard. We’re just reminding the ministry of the importance of sport and we’re reminding them that we have a history, since 1957. We’re not a fly by night company here,” she said.

“We’ve got almost 65 years of celebrating and recognizing sport. I think that’s really important.”

During the shutdown, Kinsella said they had a chance to do a lot of work on the building. They added a few new exhibits, built a team party room and constructed a new mural honouring famous sports figures in Alberta.

They’ve also started an online 50/50 cash raffle, with a $10,000 prize for the winner. The draw is Sept. 14 and tickets can be purchased at www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/ash.

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