Building Communities Through “The BC Sports Hall Network”


December 1st, 2021

The phrase “stronger together” is not a new one. Yet it could serve quite nicely as one of the mantras that help us usher in the New Year. It certainly applies to the essential notion behind the emerging BC Council of Sports Halls. The notion is simple: That we will increase our capacity to be the best BC Sports Hall of Fame that we can be by doing our part to increase the capacity of local, regional and sport-specific sports halls, galleries, exhibits and displays in communities throughout the province of British Columbia.

We all know that operating in individual silos will rarely allow any of us to reach our full potential. Collaborating and working together on issues of shared concern is no panacea but we’re convinced it increases the odds for success. The bottom line is that we’re “stronger together” when we share information, communicate and pool our resources whenever appropriate.

I would suggest that “stronger together” is simple mathematics. The bigger and better the infrastructure dedicated in one form or another to the promotion of BC sports history, heritage and culture, the greater the awareness of sports halls at all levels. And with greater awareness and recognition come more opportunities for fund-raising and capacity-building for all of us dedicated to “honouring the past and inspiring the future”.

We go into 2022 with 40 local sports halls operating in one form or another. Imagine the 40 of us having the chance to learn more from each other by meeting in a forum that brings us together several times per year to collaboratively problem solve. Imagine where we’d be in 10 years if all 40 halls currently operating in B.C. grew their capacity by 10 per cent each year? Imagine if the 40 of us became 100 within three years to five years?

Check it out: There are 162 municipalities in B.C. Approximately 37 of them are represented by 19 local sports halls. That’s about 25% of the cities and towns in the province. Imagine if we could double that to half of all municipalities in B.C. having a local or regional sports hall in their community?

Similarly, there are more than 80 provincial sports organizations in B.C. and many more local sports organizations. Fourteen PSOs/LSOs currently operate sport-specific halls of fame. Imagine if that grew to 50% of PSOs and produced at least another 26 sport-specific halls of fame in this province.

Imagine if half of all LSOs (clubs and districts) launched their own sports halls or sports walls? Imagine if half of all colleges and universities followed suit? Or if every major junior hockey franchise in the province joined with the professional sports teams in BC’s major centres and put their communications resources behind their own sports halls or jersey retirement platforms?  Imagine if every high school playing sports started their own galleries? Imagine if First Nations throughout the province celebrated the story-telling of sport with indigenous sports halls, galleries, exhibits or displays representing their communities?

Call it a soft target, but growing from 40 to 100 local, regional and sport-specific halls in British Columbia can be done. And with your support, it will get done.

As a result, this “feeder system” of sports halls could produce a series of outcomes that far transcend what the BC Sports Hall or any one of us could do alone. Consider, for example:

    • More nominations of leading athletes, coaches, leaders, pioneers, media and teams from all corners of the province – because a local hall in a community of 100 inducted someone whose story eventually became “province—wide”;
    • Better nominations because of increased knowledge and skill sets at the local level;
    • Inclusive nominations – of girls and women, Canadians of all ethnicities, current generation immigrants and indigenous athletes, coaches and sports leaders – made so because of the sharing of best practices;
    • Economies of scale delivered through collective sponsorships or licensing deals;
    • Higher profile and greater access because of “linked” websites in a portal celebrating BC sport history, heritage and culture more comprehensively than ever before;
    • Aligned social media strategies linking the BC Sports Hall of Fame with, for example, the Trail Historical Society Sports Hall of Memories and thereby extending the reach of “On This Day in Sports History” even further;
    • Shared professional development and optimized access to the resources of CASH, the Canadian Association for Sports Heritage.


With the right amount of commitment, focus and follow up, the BC Council of Sports Halls will truly become a network of BC Sports Halls, perhaps even the BC Sports Hall Network. And that could represent a major tipping point in the promotion and development of sport history – and sport itself – in B.C.

Tom Mayenknecht, Chair

BC Sports Hall of Fame

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 founder and host of The Sport Market sport business radio show, 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 Chair of the Paul Carson Sports Broadcast & Media Awards.