North Delta-raised Jeff Francis pitches for Colorado Rockies during a MLB game in 2012. (submitted photo: BC Sports Hall of Fame)

North Delta-raised Jeff Francis pitches for Colorado Rockies during a MLB game in 2012. (submitted photo: BC Sports Hall of Fame)

Pitcher Francis, goalie McLean among BC Sports Hall of Fame’s 2020 inductees

Alex Stieda and Sonja Gaudet among other inductees

North Delta-raised baseball player Jeff Francis, former Canucks goalie Kirk McLean and champion cyclist Alex Stieda are among the 2020 BC Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

The five athletes, three builder-coaches, a team, one pioneer, one media member and a W.A.C. Bennett Award winner were named Tuesday (Oct. 29) during a media event at the hall, located at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

The other two inductees in the 2020 athletes class are Sonja Gaudet (wheelchair curling) and Brent Johnson (football).

In the builders/coaches category, Harry White (golf), Bill Mitchell (wrestling) and Valerie Johnson (trampoline gymnastics) were announced as inductees.

As a team, the 1979-80 University of Victoria Viking’s men’s basketball squad will become hall members.

Duncan-born hockey pro Robin Bawa will be inducted as a pioneer (as the first Punjabi-Canadian NHL player), Cleve Dheensaw as a media member and Kathy Newman as winner of the W.A.C. Bennett Award.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ BIOS FOR ALL 2020 INDUCTEES

• RELATED STORY, from May 2019: South Surrey rugby player ‘extremely honoured’ to be inducted into BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Tom Mayenknecht, Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, called the hall’s class of 2020 “a terrific cross-section of the personalities and teams that make the history, heritage and culture of sport in British Columbia so notable and inspiring for the next generation of young people in B.C.,” he said in a media release.

“On behalf of our Board of Trustees and management team led by Chief Executive Nicholas Cartmell, along with our Selection Committee and Foundation Board, we’re looking forward to celebrating their achievements provincially, nationally and globally at the BC Sports Hall of Fame Induction Gala on June 4, 2020.”

That night, the gala will be held at Vancouver Convention Centre. A limited number of early-bird tickets are available now on the BC Sports Hall of Fame website (bcsportshall.com), starting at $3,000 for a table of 10 and $300 for single seats.

The BC Sports Hall of Fame celebrates “extraordinary achievement in B.C. sport history and inspires future generations to make their dreams come true.”

Since 1966, 406 individuals and 63 teams have been inducted into the hall, which attracts an estimated 35,000 visitors annually with its collection of 27,000 artifacts and 100,000 archival documents.

CLICK HERE to see the hall’s searchable list of honoured members.

The following are bios for all 2020 inductees, as submitted by BC Sports Hall of Fame.

ATHLETE

Sonja Gaudet – Wheelchair Curling

“In 2006 she was selected to be a member of Team Canada for the Paralympic Games, where she is currently the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler. Sonja helped Canada win three Paralympic gold medals (2006 Torino, 2010 Vancouver, 2014 Sochi) and served as a Canadian Paralympic opening ceremonies flag bearer during the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. Sonja lead Canada to their first World Wheelchair Curling Championship (2009) and won a total of three during her career (2011, 2013). She became the first curler to innovatively use a balance post attached to her wheelchair, which allowed her to sit up straight and have greater accuracy (2009). Sonja was also the first wheelchair athlete inducted into the Curling Canada Hall of Fame (2013).”

Alex Stieda – Cycling

“Alex became the first North American to wear the yellow race leader jersey at the Tour de France for one stage in 1986 – a jersey awarded to the leader in each various stage of the race. He is still one of only two Canadians to date to accomplish this feat. He also captured four other classification jerseys on Day 2 of the 1986 Tour de France, ultimately finishing 120th overall out of 200 starters. He is a two-time Canadian Olympian, finishing 10th in the men’s points race and the top-16 in the men’s individual pursuit at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Jeff Francis – Baseball

“Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, Jeff went on to become one of the best Canadian pitchers to ever play in the Major Leagues. During an eleven-season major league career, perhaps Jeff’s best was 2007, when as a member of the Colorado Rockies, he compiled a 19-9 win-loss record, 165 strikeouts in 34 starts, and helped the team advance to the World Series. In doing so, Jeff became only the second Canadian to pitch in a World Series game and the first Canadian starting pitcher to win a postseason game. Jeff retired from Major League Baseball in 2015, after playing in 254 regular season games, compiling a 72-82 win-loss record with a 4.97 earned run average and 869 strikeouts.”

Brent Johnson – Football

“Regarded as one of the CFL’s greatest Canadian defensive players of all time, he played his entire 11-year career (2001-11) on the defensive line with the BC Lions. During 185 regular season games he compiled 225 tackles and 89 sacks (holding the record for sacks with the BC Lions). He played 184 consecutive regular season games – missing only one for the birth of his son – showcasing his exceptional durability as a defensive player. Brent helped the BC Lions win two Grey Cup Championships (2006, 2011), was a two-time winner of the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award (2005, 2006), and is the only Canadian to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award (2006).”

Kirk McLean – Ice Hockey

“Kirk McLean is one of the greatest goaltenders in Vancouver Canucks history, with over 11 NHL seasons with the team (1987-98). At the time of his departure in 1998, he ranked as the Canucks’ all-time leader in all major goaltender statistical categories: games played, wins, and shutouts. In the 516 regular season games Kirk was with Vancouver they won 211 games, recorded 20 shutouts and had an 3.28 goals against average. He helped lead the Canucks to Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. He’s remembered best for his remarkable sliding save in overtime of Game 7 during Vancouver’s first-round series.”

BUILDER/COACH

Harry White – Golf

“Born in Vancouver, Harry White was an influential figure in the BC golf community for over sixty years as a player, coach, instructor, administrator, organizer, and volunteer. His dedicated work at the grassroots level of the game helped develop some of Canada’s top amateur and professional players. This includes Richard Zokol, Jennifer Wyatt, James Lepp, and Rick Gibson, as well as many BC Junior and Canadian Junior Champions.”

Bill Mitchell – Wrestling

“Bill Mitchell devoted nearly 30 years to BC and Canadian wrestling as a coach, manager, and administrator at the provincial, national, and international levels. He also had a nine-season career in the CFL as an offensive lineman and kicker – winning the accolade of CFL All-Star in both 1961 and 1962. Bill was the Canadian wrestling team coach and manager at the 1988 Olympics, 1986 Commonwealth Games, and 1985/1986 World Wrestling Championships. He founded the BC-Japan cultural exchange, which allowed Canadian and Japanese wresters to learn wrestling and culture in a new country. He was also the Chairman of the Junior World Wrestling Championships hosted in Vancouver (1981).”

Valerie Johnson

“Born and raised in New Westminster, Valerie is considered among Canada’s best trampoline coaches with a career spanning over 45-years. Her career has also included periods as an outstanding international athlete and an International Trampoline Federation judge. Valerie twice represented Canada as an athlete at the Trampoline World Championships (1972, 1974) and became Canada’s first-ever national champion in the sport (1971).”

TEAM

1979-80 UVic Vikings Mens Basketball Team

“The 1979-80 UVic’s Vikings Men’s Basketball team won UVic’s first Canadian national university basketball championship, defeating number-one ranked Brandon University in the final 73-65. This began a remarkable run of seven consecutive CIAU national basketball championships for the UVic’s men’s basketball team from 1980-86, at the time it was a CIAU record. They were the first team in Canada West history to go undefeated (20-0) during regular season play. Team Members: Ted Anderson, Bill Chapman (manager), Reni Dolcetti, Jim Duddridge (assistant coach), Kelly Dukeshire, Bruce Hamilton, Chris Hebb, Craig Higgins, Ian Hyde-Lay, Gerald Kazanowski, Gregg Kazanowski, Tom Narbeshuber, Eli Pasquale, Ken Shields (head coach), Billy Turney-Loos, Norm Vickery (assistant coach), Mickey Welder.”

PIONEER

Robin Bawa – Ice Hockey

“Robin Bawa was the first athlete of South Asian descent to play and score a goal in the NHL, suiting up for the Washington Capitals on October 6, 1989. He inspired a generation of South Asian Canadians to play and pursue hockey. He had a twelve-year professional hockey career, briefly playing for the Vancouver Canucks (1987-1999). In 61 HNL regular season games, he scored six goals and one assist for a total of seven points. Including minor league he played 851 games, scored 195 goals, and had 240 assists for 425 total points.”

MEDIA

Cleve Dheensaw

“With nearly forty years experience reporting and writing for the Times Colonist in Victoria, Cleve Dheensaw is considered the foremost authority on Vancouver Island sport. Particularly amateur sport, earning a reputation as one of BC and Western Canada’s most respected sportswriters.”

W.A.C. BENNETT AWARD

Kathy Newman

“Kathy Newman served as Executive Director of BC Wheelchair Sports Association for 25 years, helping it become world-renowned for providing opportunities for people with disabilities to lead active lives and pursue athletic dreams internationally. She worked to increase participation rates in wheelchair sports, creating national and provincial programs to increase awareness for the Wheelchair Loan program and Bridging the Gap program.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

A Northern Health vaccination clinic is set for the Wells Community Hall on Tuesday, April 20. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 vaccination clinic coming to Wells

Vaccine to be available for anyone 18+

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

Most Read