The creation of a Surrey Sports Hall of Fame is gaining traction.
The subject was raised at a recent meeting of Surrey’s Parks, Recreation & Culture Committee, and city staff have been asked to report back on a potential model for the hall.
Other communities in Metro Vancouver have such halls to honour athletes, builders and organizers, and Councillor Doug Elford is among those who think it’s time Surrey does, too.
“I fully support it, and it’s something that should be done,” Elford, vice-chair of the committee, told the Now-Leader.
“We have a rich sports history in Surrey, and there’s generational activity happening in a lot of different sports. There are just tremendous people, athletes and organizers, who deserve recognition like this. We have some great, great history that needs to be recognized.”
“Different communities do it differently,” Elford said, “with some driven by the public and others more by the city. We’re going to look at what kind of hall of fame we can develop here in Surrey. I think there might be some space at the Museum of Surrey for some heirlooms and stuff, which I’d support, and of course they’re talking about an online version as well.”
The potential cost would be detailed in the staff report, Elford noted.
“We’ll have to look at what we want, and council will then decide how we’re going to go ahead with it,” he added.
“While we’re waiting for the next steps here, we want people to start thinking about names, the people who would be in this hall of fame.”
Surrey’s notable athletes include Olympic wrestler Daniel Igali, NHL hockey players Brenden Dillon, Colin Fraser and Scott Hannan, baseball player Adam Loewen, soccer’s Sydney Leroux, football player Geroy Simon, pro wrestler John Tenta and rugby standout Kelly McCallum, among others.
“Every organization has some great people and history,” Elford said, “including Chuck Bailey and Orest Springenatic in baseball, and we’ve got NHL hockey stars who’ve come up, you know, and all the softball players and people like Rocky Rockwell in Cloverdale, one of the original rodeo founders. The list is big, it’s daunting, and a lot of names will come up in all the different sports.”
In the fall, Delta Sports Hall of Fame hosts an annual gala to recognize its latest inductees. This year’s event, set for Oct. 26, will recognize NHL hockey general manager Brad Treliving, figure skater Vernon Hartt, gymnast Margot Northey, soccer player Tony Chursky, baseball coach Len Stroh and the 1998 Ladner Pioneers lacrosse team.
Carlene Lewall, a founder of the hall who still helps organize its events, said the Delta hall includes a website (deltasportshalloffame.ca) and also a display of names at Delta City Hall.
“We want to recognize these people, so that’s why we hold the gala, and we try to keep the cost down so people can attend,” Lewall said.
“It’s always nice to recognize the sports heroes, which is great,” she added, “but it’s nice to honour those in the background too, the people who work behind the scenes to help sports grow in a community.”
The Delta Sports Hall of Fame began as a Spirit of B.C. initiative in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler.
“We we have a nomination application on the website,” Lewall said, “and then a nomination committee that works nearly 12 months of the year on that, in several categories.”