A ceremony loaded with sentiment and pride marked the 2019 North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame inductions Saturday.
A famous curling couple, young rugby player, decade-long hockey program and two men posthumously were the inductees. In addition, a special Outstanding Community Achievement was made to recognize all the tremendous volunteers and boards of directors from the major Games hosted in the Cowichan Valley: the 1991 BC Winter Games, 2005 BC Seniors Games, 2008 North American Indigenous Games and 2018 BC Summer Games.
“What a great group of inductees being inducted here tonight,” said MC Norm Jackson, who also happens to be the long-time pro at Cowichan Golf and Country Club in Duncan where the ceremony was held as well as being a member of the committee responsible for making the selections.
Roselyn and Wes Craig were first up, sporting a long resume of curling success at the World, National, Provincial and Local levels through the Duncan and Kerry Park Curling Clubs.
“Thanks to all our many teammates and even our opponents for making the sport something we’ve enjoyed all our lives,” said Wes Craig.
The Craigs have a combined 99 years of curling experience between them.
Patrick Kay was honoured for his contributions in rugby and as a phenomenal sevens player who emerged right out of Cowichan Secondary School as one to watch for the future. He’s living his dream, having travelled the world to represent his country.
“Definitely a lot of emotions,” said Kay of the award.
“Personally, I’ve been preparing for the Olympics for the last 8-9 years.”
The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are on the horizon for him.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve ever worked with and the most coachable,” said Robin MacDowell, a mentor of Kay’s.
“The thing I love about Patrick, he’s still the humble kid who was sitting on the couch when I met him.”
“I just want to thank my family,” said Kay. “They’ve been through a lot and all the sacrifice for me.”
Brian McKinlay was honoured posthumously for his outstanding fastball prowess in Duncan, with his wife Denise there to accept the award from another Valley fastball legend, Earl Morris. Brian McKinlay died on Oct. 31, 2016.
“He was the absolute leader of the team,” said Garry Bruce. “He led by example. He would inspire you and he meant it.
“He was an amazing pitcher. He was fast, he was accurate and also an amazing hitter.”
Ted Webb was also honoured posthumously for his longstanding efforts as a coach and builder in volleyball and basketball. He was known as Magnum P.E. for many years at Cowichan Secondary School for his similar looks to Magnum P.I.’s Tom Selleck.
“From the day I met Ted, his passion from Day One came through loud and clear,” said former colleague Tim Cox.
“Ted Webb was a huge influence in my coaching role at Cowichan Secondary School,” praised Sandeep Heer.
“Ted, if you cut him open, he would bleed white, grey and burgundy – very passionate guy,” added Cox.
Antoinette Webb, Ted’s wife, was honoured to accept the award. It was mentioned that he did know about the pending award when he died on Dec. 21, 2018.
“My husband was passionate and committed and really believed in what he was doing,” said Antoinette.
“It was about creating honour and dignity and respect in the players. It wasn’t just a game.”
The Fuller Lake Flyers Junior B hockey program was honoured in the team category not only for its accomplishments, but the role models who emerged during a decade of operation from the 1970-71 season to 1979-80 and the excitement generated within the community for hockey fans.
In a short time, the Flyers went from expansion franchise with many players of limited hockey experience to league contenders in the South Island.
“We probably won as many games as we lost,” said player and coach Rick Adams of those early years. “It was a huge step forward.”
The team’s presence inspired young players like Doug Bodger, who eventually went on to the National Hockey League.
“We all went there, wanting to be a Junior B hockey player,” said Bodger.
Mike Armstrong spearheaded the drive for the Flyers’ induction and did a lot of research in putting the bid together.
People from so many walks of life came together to make the four Games in the Valley such a success, with a cross-section of them attending the ceremony.
“Our community is welcoming, shares its pride and shows its diversity,” said Jackson.
It’s been a long time since 1991, but “my memory is still fresh and vibrant about that time,” noted Paul Douville. “All the Cowichan Valley got behind us. Everybody was happy about it. It was exciting.”
The 2005 BC Seniors Games were headed by the incomparable Gerry Giles.
“We have something very special here,” she noted. “Everyone who has worked in a Games has always thought of bringing a part of Cowichan to the Games.”
“It was a fun time, a growing experience for me,” said volunteer Bruce Ovans.
Memories of the 2008 NAIG event are still prominent in the minds of so many in the entire Cowichan Valley.
“The grand entry of the athletes and that roar of the crowd made my hair stand up,” said Cowichan Tribes chief William Seymour.
“Thank you for recognizing the work that goes into these Games,” said Jen Woike, who headed the 2018 BC Summer Games. “It is immense.
“These Games don’t happen without the work underneath us.”
Thus ended another incredible induction ceremony, with more plaques to be added to the display in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre lobby.
“Thirty years in this community, you still amaze me every day,” Jackson told the crowd.
As the main organizer of the event since inception, North Cowichan’s Ernie Mansueti has done a yeoman’s service in making the event rival any of its type you would find in a much larger centre with all the details covered beyond the call of duty to make it a special celebration.