After being introduced in 2011, the Heritage Sports Wall of Fame is now open to nominations for this year’s set of inductees.
An athlete himself, Mayor Ross Forrest is excited for this year’s set of Wall of Fame nominations. Forrest was one of the first athletes with a prosthetic leg to play hockey in the area.
“We have the nomination package now where people can nominate someone,” said Forrest.
A committee will then go over the nominations and select one or two athletes to be inducted. These will be announced during Heritage Days. The mayor also indicated that the Wall of Fame is also looking to expand outside sports into more community-oriented feats or those who have gone on to see success on the national and international stage. As an example, Forrest cited Bill Saywell, who served as Simon Fraser University’s president as a potential candidate.
“There’s lots of people who have done quite well nationally and internationally that have come from Lake Cowichan so maybe they would be on that award,” said Forrest.
Town Councillor Tim McGonigle was also in agreement that the Wall of Fame program is a valuable initiative.
“It’s an opportunity to recognize our sports heroes in some way and the Wall of Fame is the appropriate spot to do it. It’s situated in a beautiful facility, in an awesome building. It’s a great way to pay homage to some great people,” said McGonigle.
Local golfer Dawn Coe-Jones made a name for herself on the national golf circuit and now a wooden sign commemorating her impressive career graces the entrance to Lake Cowichan. She was honoured to be one of the first Wall of Fame Inductees.
“I’m very honoured having grown up there and having the support of the town ever since I began my golf career. It was very cool and really nice. Everytime when I was announced on the tee when I was on tour I was from Lake Cowichan, British Columbia and for them to acknowledge me that’s cool,” said Coe-Jones.
Coe-Jones was inducted alongside Brad Palmer, a former National Hockey League superstar, Gord Tuck, a world champion snow and water skier and Charlie Stroulger, local baseball fanatic. It was emotional for Coe-Jones to be inducted alongside such momentous athletes, many of whom she grew up around.
“No one could call a strike like Charlie Stroulger and Brad used to shoot pucks at me as a kid so I have a real connection to all of these inductees,” added Coe-Jones.
She thinks the Wall of Fame initiative gives youth athletes in the area an added incentive to perform and succeed in athletics.
“Kids growing up need role models and those of us that are on that wall can provide some inspiration for them. Hopefully it serves as inspiration for some young kids to realize just because you come from a small town doesn’t mean you can’t achieve goals and set your goals high.” Coe Jones explained.
Coe-Jones was especially struck by the will power, ambition and drive in Tuck, citing him as an inspiration to herself. Tuck lost one of his legs at the age of 18 after suffering a logging accident.
“When you look at what he overcame and, he said no, this isn’t going to be me and he rose himself to a world class athlete that should be an inspiration to any kid that anything is possible. He’s an inspiration to me,” she added.
Nomination packages can be picked up at Town Hall and submissions will be accepted until February.