A Tribute to Bill Maclagan for a lifetime of service to the BC Sports Hall of Fame


Message from the Chair


It didn’t take me long to realize that Bill Maclagan had a heart the size of a paint bucket, especially when it came to his country, his province, his community and his causes. From the Vancouver Opera to the BC Sports Hall of Fame and many organizations in between, he was a force that made things happen.

His passion for sport as a powerful shaper of people and communities was evident the very first time I met him in 2012 in my own debut on the Selection Committee of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. With every next category of selection, his eyes grew big, lighting up as he entertained the possibilities, the difficult choices and the opportunities that presented themselves to select the most deserving candidates for induction into the BC Sports Hall.

He was a kid in a candy store at those Selection Committee meetings, often sharing what various nominees meant to him growing up and then during his significant professional career as a corporate lawyer at Blakes, one of the premier legal firms in British Columbia and Canada. Bill didn’t just vote his conscience on each ballot. He literally championed nominees with his principle-centered perspectives and when it merited as much, willed them to the requisite super majority they needed to be selected for induction.

Serving as a selector – including as Chair of the Selection Committee in the late 2010s – is only one example of the ways in which Bill has made a positive contribution to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

This is certainly no one-trick pony. Bill – who loves the Vancouver Canadians and the Toronto Blue Jays – epitomizes the so-called five-tool player in baseball.

  1. He has the wisdom and the experience to be a solid Trustee, which he was when he joined the Board of the BC Sports Hall in 2004.
  2. He has the vision, leadership and acumen to serve as a Chair, which he has done for the Sports Hall, the Selection Committee and for the last six years as Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.
  3. He is a financial contributor and in more than one way. He has regularly purchased tables to support the BC Sports Hall of Fame Induction Gala. He has fundraised, leading the “First 50” campaign seven years ago and compelling 50 of us to each donate $5,000 for a total of $250,000; one of the biggest campaigns in BC Sports Hall history.
  4. Note that he has been so good at fundraising because he is also a donor himself. He has consistently put his money where his mouth is. And he’s done that for the Sports Hall for almost 20 years.
  5. The fifth tool takes us full-circle and that is his passion. It’s what truly defines game changers and that is Bill, synonymous as he is with a strong belief in the BC Sports Hall of Fame being a passionate storyteller, a force that can inspire the future, the next generation of British Columbians and Canadians.

Bill first joined the Board of Trustees in 2004. He served 11 years on the Board, including two years (2008 and 2009) as Chair. When he stepped off the Board of Trustees in 2014, he couldn’t step away entirely. That’s when he took over as Chair of the Selection Committee. Most recently, he has served as Chair of the Sports Hall Foundation, completing the rare one-two punch of leading both the Hall itself and its Foundation.

In that role, Bill has built on the previous leadership of Doug Mason, working to optimize the essential relationship between the Sports Hall and the Foundation. The two societies are truly working together in lockstep – and are arguably more aligned than ever — and much of that has to do with Bill’s leadership; his no-nonsense, no-BS approach to inspiring teamwork — in this case between a Society and its charitable Foundation.

Anyone who cares about the BC Sports Hall of Fame knows how much Bill cares. Anyone who knows the Sports Hall knows what he has meant to the promotion of sport history, heritage and culture in British Columbia. That’s why he won an Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Award in 2021 (named after the founder of the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1966).

It’s also why we were moved to nominate Bill again this year as our President’s Award winner, as he was feted last Thursday at the Sport BC Athlete-of-the-Year Awards. It marked the second time he has won a Sport BC President’s Award.

Very few sport leaders have accomplished that tandem. And even fewer have deserved it more. Thanks to Bill Maclagan, Jana Maclagan and the Maclagan family for what you’ve done to elevate the promotion of sport history, heritage and culture – and INSPIRATION – here in British Columbia.

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.