BC Sports Hall of Fame Names 2023 Eric Whitehead Inspired Service WinnersSeptember 7, 2023
Among the highlights of the upcoming Greater Victoria 2023 Annual Summit of the BC Sports Hall of Fame will be the presentation of the Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Awards named after the former sports editor of The Province newspaper and founder and first curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1966.
Tim Ryan will serve as the keynote speaker for the event. The retired broadcaster is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and was just inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum in the Observer category.
This marks the sixth year of the Whitehead awards, designed as special awards to honour long-standing contributors to the sporting community in British Columbia, including those who have directly or indirectly helped create many of the inspirational stories that are synonymous with the BC athlete and sport development system. The Whitehead awards have also paid special homage to those who have achieved what they have in the face of adversity, or were otherwise notable in their innovation, leadership, and service to the BC sport system.
“This event provides an exciting opportunity to gather, share stories and celebrate the power of sport,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “The individuals who are being honoured for longstanding contributions to B.C.’s sport community are inspiring, admirable and deserving of this recognition. They are role models for B.C.’s next generation of athletes, coaches and sport builders, whose actions are not only felt by the sport sector, but their entire community as well.”
The 2023 Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Awards go to:
• Mike Harling of Vancouver – Leader in sports publication retail in Vancouver for over 10 years.
• Hugh Macdonald of Victoria– The first Executive Director of “SportHost”, now the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission
• Lois Smith of Victoria – 27 years in gymnastics and 12 years on the Board at Gymnastics BC, earning Member of Distinction in 2004 and Life Member status in 2010
• Roger Skillings of Victoria – Served as President & CEO of the BC Games Society, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (then Canadian Sport Centre Victoria and Pacific Sport)
• Joanna Fox of Victoria – Multiple leadership roles in media and public relations provincially and nationally, including for the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (then Canadian Sport Centre Victoria)
“Each of this year’s winners of the Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Awards have done literally that; inspired growth, success and contributed long-standing leadership as part of the BC sport community,” said Michelle Kitchen, Chief Executive Officer of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. “Their best efforts over the years have directly and indirectly helped create many of the success stories that are at the very heart of BC sport history, heritage, and culture here in British Columbia. They are clearly cut from the same cloth of Eric Whitehead, our founder and first curator back in the day in 1966.”
Harling has been a leader in sports publication retail in Vancouver for over 10 years, advocating for literacy and sport in literacy. He has written multiple sports-related children’s books and training manuals, all the while courageously battling Parkinson’s Disease.
As an Honoured Member of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2018), MacDonald has been a leader in the promotion of sport tourism. He served as the first Executive Director of “SportHost”, (now the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission) was a founding member of the International Sport and Cultural Exchange Association. MacDonald has held multiple sport leadership roles, including Director of Marketing & Sponsor Services for the XV Commonwealth Games in 1994, and Director of Sponsorships for Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (then Canadian Sport Centre Victoria and PacificSport).
Smith is a long-time advocate of sport history, heritage, and culture in her role with the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, including more than 10 years on the Board of Directors and almost a decade as Chair of the Induction Nominations Committee. She was the Director of Sport Administration and a member of the senior leadership team with the XV Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994 and has held multiple sport leadership roles in British Columbia, including 12 years on the Board of Directors of Gymnastics BC, earning Member of Distinction in 2004 and a Life Member in 2010.
Named to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2021, Skillings has held key sport system leadership roles, including President & CEO of the BC Games Society, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (then Canadian Sport Centre Victoria and Pacific Sport) and Sport BC and Tennis BC. He also helped champion the development and launch of the PISE (now the Pacific Institute for Sport Education).
As a long-time storyteller and communications professional heavily invested in sport at the international, national, provincial, and local levels, Fox has more than 25 years at the national not-for-profit sector and over 10 years with the British Columbia provincial government where she was focused on active living, healthy communities, and age-friendly communities. She has held leadership roles in media and public relations for the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (then PacificSport Canadian Sport Centre Victoria and before that the Commonwealth Centre for Sport Development) and PacificSport National Cycling Centre, among others.
Tickets to the upcoming Greater Victoria 2023 Annual Summit of the BC Sports Hall of Fame can be purchased online at www.bcsportshall.com/summit.