Hall of Famers for Life: The Honoured Members Hosting Program of the BC Sports Hall of Fame

Message from the Chair


It’s front and centre in our Inspiration 2026 Strategic Plan: Celebrating our Honoured Members is the first of our three main strategic pillars. That priority was also central to our previous strategic plan that was produced under the leadership of past Chair Jim Lightbody in 2016-2017.

Our entire Induction cycle is designed to ensure that we can, each year, select for induction the best possible candidates from among the leading athletes, coaches, builders, pioneers, media and teams in British Columbia. We accept nominations up to June 30th of each year – Nomination Day — for the following year’s induction class. Our curatorial staff led by BC Sports Hall of Fame curator Jason Beck gets to work on this over the summer months, compiling the information that our Selection Committee pours through on Selection Day in the fall (typically late September to early October), all with a view to selecting the very best of the best and the most deserving of candidates in any one selection year. We then move on to Announcement Day in late October and, of course, the culminating Induction Week in late May or early June of each year.

That process sets in place the new class of inductees each year and creates the special experience that is associated with each new inductee being celebrated, first with the plaque raising ceremony that is synonymous with the Honoured Members Reception (this year presented once again by the BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation and coming up on Wednesday, May 31st, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the Hall of Champions at the BC Sports Hall at BC Place) and the video and remarks that fuel the Induction Gala the next night (this Thursday, June 1st, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver).

There is no doubt that the first induction experience is hard to replicate. There is nothing like seeing your name and likeness installed in the Hall of Champions, for the first time, beside some of the biggest and brightest stars in British Columbia sport history. And there is certainly nothing like being presented with your certificate of induction in front of between 600-1,000 of your closest friends, associates and fellow sport icons. We get all of that and that’s why we’re so committed to producing the best possible experience for our inductees, and their families, friends and associates. We get just one chance to induct you – we do everything we can to get it right.

Yet as we’ve built out the Inspiration 2026 strategic plan, even during the difficult constraints and limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020, 2021, 2022 and into 2023, we’re more aware than ever before that Induction Week is only the beginning of the story. It is only the first chapter of recognition for our inductees to the BC Sports Hall of Fame. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and management team – and our BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation Board of Directors and our Council of Chairs – we’re aspiring to work even harder to recognize, celebrate and promote our Honoured Members for the rest of their lives.

Our new and emerging mantra in this regard is that of “Honoured Members for Life” and “Honoured Members Forever”.

And that is part of what is making this year’s Class of 2023 Induction Gala Thursday night particularly meaningful. Through something that we’re calling our Honoured Members Hosting Program, we are hosting as many Honoured Members as we can on the strength of donations from some of our biggest supporters. We expect well more than 70 Honoured Members from previous year’s classes – and their guests — in attendance Thursday. That means that about one of every seven people in the room will either be previously-inducted Hall of Famers or new inductees from the Class of 2023. Almost half of the room will be connected – directly or indirectly – to a standing Honoured Member or the new class inductee being celebrated at the Gala.

Given how much more expensive fundraising events have become to stage – by some estimates costs have increased by close to 40% since before the pandemic – we have needed to follow in the footsteps of many other organizations that have had to increase their banquet dinner ticket prices. We did that reluctantly, but we did it with purpose: To build the upside of our Induction Gala as our biggest fundraiser of the year, especially in a year in which we had a limited capacity at our ballroom of choice.

The Honoured Members Hosting Program allows us to ensure that as many of our Hall of Famers as possible are present at the Induction Gala, while retaining the integrity and discipline of the Induction Gala as a fundraiser.

We couldn’t have done it without those who stepped up with donations designed to support the attendance of our valued Honoured Members. Many were former Chairs of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Some were Honoured Members themselves! Former Chairs Ron Jones (Honoured Member), Dann Konkin, Gerald McGavin, Doug Mason, Tom English, Marty Zlotnik and Anna Nyarady, former Chief Executives/Executive Directors Peter W. Webster (Honoured Member) and Nicholas Cartmell, Honoured Members Howard Kelsey and Lui Passaglia, Trustees Jared Harman and Joanie McMaster and Foundation Board Director Ken Hallat (I was also compelled to contribute and am gratified to be part of this group of donors).

In future years, we will expand our year-round solicitation of like-minded donors, corporate sponsors and other community partners, so as to make this initiative a permanent fixture at the Induction Gala.

In addition, we will begin another tradition this week. In the spirit of keeping alive the names of our Honoured Members for perpetuity, we are designating the first seven of our In Memorium Tribute Tables Thursday night. The first seven are: Terry Fox Table, Harry Jerome Table, Norm Fieldgate Table, Audrey Williams Table, Pat Quinn Table, Jim Taylor Table and the Tony Waiters Table.

In the years to come, we expect to make every single table an In Memorium tribute table, complete with the appropriate identification as such on the table and on the chairs themselves and on the big screens in the hosting ballroom.

It’s yet another way that we can – with integrity and passion – tell the stories of those who have made the BC sport system and our larger BC community such an important hotbed for athlete development, sport development and active living.

So job #1 will continue to be making that first induction experience the best it can possibly be for our new inductees. Job #2 is making sure that we can make our Induction Gala as close to an annual reunion of Honoured Members each and every year. And job #3 is to continue to recognize those who have passed, ensuring that while they may be gone, they will never be forgotten.

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.