Making “goodbye” more like “see you later”


The BC Sports Hall of Fame is all about the remarkable stories that make up and highlight the history, heritage and culture of sport in British Columbia. Yet at its roots, it is really all about people.

People who are among the very best at what they do…people who believe in the power of sport…people who are energized and excited by any effort to honour the past and inspire the future…people who are committed to investing in the kind of community-building that only great athletes, coaches, builders, pioneers, teams and media can do…people who take that belief forward into whatever they wind up doing with their lives, personally and professionally.

We like to think that all those who become part of the BC Sports Hall family will always stay part of that family. Their role within the family may change, but it will be there, nonetheless, for perpetuity.

We feel that way about our former Chairs, current and former Trustees, current and former staff, current and former members of our Selection Committee and all those who serve BC sport history, heritage and culture by volunteering or working at one of the more than 40 local, regional and sport-specific halls, museums, galleries, exhibits and displays that are coming together province-wide as part of the BC Sports Hall Network.

It applies to all the Curators in the history of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, from the irrepressible, the late Eric Whitehead, the founder of the BC Sports Hall and the first to play the role of curator while he was serving as Sports Editor of The Province newspaper in the 1960s, to the present Curator, the sport encyclopedia and sport historian par excellence that is Jason Beck, plus those who made huge contributions in between: former Curators Lundy Dale, Bob Graham and Pat (Farrow) Armstrong.

It also applies to those leaders who have served as our Executive Directors, Presidents and Chief Executive Officers over the course of our history as the BC Sports Hall of Fame, including Honoured Member Peter W. Webster, who served as Executive Director, General Manager & Curator from 1972-1983 and to this day is actively engaged and supportive of the BC Sports Hall of Fame as an Honourary Trustee and as one of our leading annual donors (above and beyond his well-deserved place as a Multi-Sport Builder in the Class of 2007).

That important list of former Chief Executives also includes passionate advocates for BC sport history such as Marshall Smith, Bob Graham (doubling up as Curator), Sue Lewis, Don Taylor, Michael Findlay, Dawn Donahue, Sylvia Zylla, Sue Griffin — who remains close to the BC sport system and will be one of this year’s In Her Footsteps honourees at the Sport BC Athlete-of-the-Year Awards March 9th — and Allison Mailer, who passionately worked for the Sports Hall for an all-time record 25 years of service, first as youth program coordinator and ultimately as Executive Director.

In terms of being forever part of the BC Sports Hall of Fame family, we certainly feel that way about our outgoing Chief Executive, Nicholas Cartmell.

After almost four years of service as the Chief Executive of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Nicholas will be leaving our Society to pursue a senior leadership role outside the organization. He officially begins his new duties effective March 1st, 2023.

Nicholas has been part of the BC Sports Hall of Fame family since April 15th, 2019, when he came on board as CEO after a 14-year stint at TELUS.

Little did we know at the time that his tenure would be so challenged by the constraints, limitations and lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, one which hit us 11 months after he joined the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Yet that is what makes his four-year tenure so important for all of us who care deeply about the BC Sports Hall of Fame. We will always appreciate the calm day-to-day leadership and problem-solving that Nicholas brought to his duties, even during the depths of the pandemic. Thanks largely to Nicholas and our dedicated management team, we survived the financial crisis created by the pandemic — with only two Induction event fundraisers in four years, and to make matters more challenging, no admissions, no tours and no special events for much of that time.

Nicholas and our staff were front and centre in our best efforts to survive and revive in recent months, and he’s helped us set the stage for the third phase of our COVID-19 response: To thrive, especially now as we come out of the pandemic, having the opportunity to normalize our operations — and enhance them — in the months and years to come.

We set a fiscal record for fundraising and community grants in Fiscal 2021. Nicholas positively impacted both areas, working with Lara Mussell Savage, Tewanee Joseph, Marvin Storrow and others in fundraising — including our 100 Ravens campaign — and with Wendy Pattenden on community grants. He also ensured that we optimized special and vital federal and provincial government support during the pandemic.

Nicholas also helped transform our technological capacity in a number of areas, including meetings, digital sales/online donations and electronic voting, surveys and feedback channels.

In sum, he has elevated the Sports Hall in several key areas and for that, we not only congratulate him, we thank him.

Our Board of Trustees will work with Nicholas and our team to ensure a smooth transition in the coming weeks and months. We are immediately turning attention to the Induction Event June 1st and table and ticket sales — along with auction items to help drive our fundraising. On behalf of co-chairs Jared Harman and Jana MacLagan, along with Joanie McMaster, watch for more details on that front in the coming days.

We will also attend to our key priorities, including the digitalization project for the Indigenous Sport Gallery, our lease renewal at BC Place and the emergence of the BC Sports Hall Network, not to mention a series of exciting projects that are expected to come online in Fiscal 2024, 2025 and 2026. Later this year, we also aim to finish strong with the Greater Victoria 2023 Annual Summit co-hosted by the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame September 14-16. More on all of this in the coming weeks as we begin planning for the Greater Victoria 2023 Annual Summit for the BC Sports Hall of Fame, with Aziz Rajwani, Joanie, Alison Noble and Gareth Rees working with Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Chair Doug Jennings, Murray Smith, Bob Hope and all of our friends at the GVSHOF.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Nicholas for his kind service to the BC Sports Hall of Fame for these past 46 months. We wish him the best of luck at his new organization and look forward to having him stay “in the BC Sports Hall family” for years to come. He will be most welcome.

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 host of The Sport Market on BNN Bloomberg Radio and TSN Radio, he is a strong advocate for the KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder.