Building From the Ground Floor

March 1st, 2020

They say the best organizations in professional sport have the best farm systems. That’s particularly true in a sport like baseball, where there are multiple levels of minor league teams developing players that will one day play for the big league club.

That’s also the model used by the National Hockey League, with the American Hockey League the primary feeder system developing drafted players.

When it comes to football and basketball, the real feeder system is NCAA college football and basketball, although in recent years the NBA has been building out its G-League (developmental league).

Yet in each of these applications, one thing is true: The stronger the farm team(s), the brighter the future of the major league team.

That’s the way the BC Sports Hall of Fame feels about local, regional and sport-specific Halls of Fame, Museums and Galleries. The stronger those Sports Halls are at the grassroots level – at the ground floor of community – the stronger the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

That belief is not a complicated one. It’s not rocket science.

The more local Hall of Famers that are identified, inducted and honoured from Burnaby to Greater Victoria, the deeper and wider the pool of legitimate nominations will be made to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

The more information there is on the credentials, accomplishments and achievements of local nominees and inductees – gathered by people in the communities where those athletes, coaches, administrators, teams, pioneers and media work and play – the more there will be for the BC Sports Hall of Fame selection committee to consider at Selection Day each year.

The more photographs, video and artifacts collected from the ground floor – and properly archived at local Sports Halls – the more there will be to share with the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

And the more local recognition given to honourees in their communities – by local and regional government, media and community stakeholders – the more the BC Sports Hall of Fame will be able to build upon when those local stars and personalities are recommended for nomination in the pantheon of British Columbia sport located at BC Place in Vancouver.

Add up all of these advantages inherent in a strong “farm system” and it’s little wonder that the BC Sports Hall of Fame is an ardent advocate, supporter and promoter of the BC Council of Sports Halls.

Piloted last fall, the Council of Halls is the network of more than 40 local, regional and sport-specific halls, museums and galleries operating in various communities throughout BC. We are working with the dedicated local stewards to bring the Council of Halls to life this year and we’re so gratified by the response and the genuine excitement that surrounds the opportunity for all of us to share information, collaborate and join forces in the promotion of sport history, heritage and culture.

There will be plenty more to say about the Council of Halls in the coming weeks, months and years. We’re giddy about the ideas that will be borne out of genuine teamwork across and up and down the sport system in BC, from local clubs and districts to regional and provincial associations. That’s true of myself as Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame as it is of Scott Ackles, our designate as Co-Chair of the BC Council of Sports Halls.

If you are a local chair, executive director or designated custodian of the sports hall of fame, wall of fame, museum, gallery, exhibit or display in your community and Scott hasn’t reached out to you in real time yet, he is and he will. If you are planning to launch a Sports Hall in your community and you’d like some help – from friendly encouragement to well-worn best practices, let Scott or our team at the BC Sports Hall of Fame know and we will do our best to guide you on your way.

If we play our cards right, our collaboration will allow organizations such as the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame grow. It should enable relaunched groups such as the North Shore Sports Hall of Fame to be sustainable this time around. And it should inspire communities from throughout BC that do not currently have Sports Halls – such as Surrey – to come out of the gates strong (and that’s exactly what Tara Roberts and the City of Surrey are doing as they seek to launch their own Hall in the near future).

The possibilities are endless. Yet one thing is for sure, the BC Council of Sports Halls will only confirm that we are “stronger together” and it will make us exactly that.

Tom Mayenknecht is the Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. A principal at Emblematica Brand Builders in Vancouver and a nationally-recognized sport business commentator and host of The Sport Market on TSN Radio, he is a strong advocate for KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder and the Chair of the Paul Carson Broadcast & Media Awards.