Reaching out across the province


British Columbia is such a great hotbed for sports, with a sport history that spans communities throughout the province. As our largest city, it is not surprising that Vancouver is home to our major professional sports franchises and that it has hosted everything from the 1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships to the Rugby World Sevens in recent years. Who can forget Vancouver 2010? And who can’t imagine Vancouver 2030 as potentially the first Indigenous-led Olympic Games in IOC history?

Yet sport franchises, sport events and sport tourism — along with sport, athlete and community development — transcend Vancouver and give us such a robust infrastructure for amateur, junior, professional and masters sport throughout BC.

Victoria hosted the XV Commonwealth Games in 1994 and is an anchor point for the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (along with Vancouver and Whistler).  It has hosted world curling championships and is one of the cradles of lacrosse in BC.

The Fraser Valley has been a “boom town”, so to speak, in recent years, with Abbotsford now hosting the Canucks AHL affiliate, Langley making the LEC one of the busiest arenas in the province — and home to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, the Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League and the Langley Thunder of the Western Lacrosse Association — and Surrey becoming home to some of the largest and most inclusive youth sports associations in western Canada.

Kamloops is the Tournament Capital of Canada — hosting more than 100 tournaments each and every year — and serves as home to the WHL Blazers, one of the most storied franchises in Canadian major junior hockey. Cranbrook in particular and the Kootenays in general have plenty of skiing history to be proud of.  Prince George knows how to roll out the welcome mat for sport, as it did again earlier this year for the world women’s curling championships and just last month for the BC Summer Games.

From Richmond to Prince Rupert, Burnaby to Dawson Creek, New Westminster to Whistler, North Vancouver to Tofino, New Hazelton to Revelstoke and First Nations across what is now British Columbia, there is sport history in every corner of the province.

That is true, of course, of the Okanagan, which hosts the BC Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton, the Vernon Sports Hall of Fame and of course the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. It includes the history of the Kelowna Rockets (2004 Memorial Cup champions) and the historic Penticton Vees (new school and old school).

The Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame will be hosting the 2022 BC Sports Hall of Fame Annual Summit, September 23-24, at the Prestige Beach House Kelowna Hotel and Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts (see this edition of Inspirations for registration information).

It will mark the first time in the 56-year history of the BC Sports Hall of Fame that we’ve held our Annual General Meeting outside of Greater Vancouver. It is all part of our commitment to be the best BC Sports Hall of Fame that we can be by reaching out throughout the province, and thereby optimizing the promotion of BC sport history, heritage and culture in every region of the province.

This year will be co-hosted by the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. Next year, another local, regional or sport-specific Hall of Fame, Museum, Gallery or Exhibit will bring the BC Sports Hall of Fame Annual Summit to their part of the province. And so it will go, in a rotation designed to represent and reflect the eight zones of the BC Games Society; the eight zones for sport development in British Columbia.

Add in our Hero in You educational and community outreach program and the emerging BC Sports Hall Network, our goal is to truly inspire ALL of BC in whatever way we can, whenever we can. When combined with the Council of Chairs (our “Senate” of former Chairs of our society), our dynamic relationship with the BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation and meaningful partnerships with other PSOs and MSOs in the BC sport system, we believe these initiatives will give us the capacity to build the best possible platform for sport history, heritage and culture in Canada and one of the best community networks in the world. All dedicated to honouring the past and inspiring the future.

On behalf of the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fane, we hope to see you at Kelowna 2022, this year’s BC Sports Hall of Fame Annual Summit!

Tom Mayenknecht, Chair

BC Sports Hall of Fame