For the first time since 1971, the North Shore Sports Hall of Fame has inducted a new class.
Four athletes, one builder and one team entered the Hall of Fame last night in a ceremony held in conjunction with the annual North Shore Sport Awards at West Vancouver Community Centre.
The super class included athletes Karen Magnussen, Paul Kariya, Maëlle Ricker and Kirsten Barnes; coach/builder Xwechtáal Andrew Paull; and Linda Moore’s world-championship-winning curling team. All of the honourees in attendance spoke of their connections to the North Shore’s sports system and the people who helped launch their hall of fame careers.
Figure skating legend Magnussen wowed the standing-room-only crowd with her description of how deep her roots go on the North Shore.
“I grew up, practically right from the beginning, at the North Shore Winter Club, skating,” she said. “My father and a bunch of other first members of the North Shore Winter Club actually brought the gravel in wheelbarrows from Lynn Creek to lay the ground floor, the bedrock of the foundation of the North Shore Winter Club.”
Maëlle Ricker talked about following her older brother up into the North Shore mountains where she learned snowboarding skills that earned her a famous medal on home soil in 2010.
“Growing up on the North Shore was a huge, huge part of my journey to success on my snowboard,” she said.
Double Olympic gold medal winner Kirsten Barnes told a fun story about taking her children up to Cypress Mountain to see Ricker win gold in snowboard cross, one hall of famer cheering on another legend in the making. Barnes was joined by her old coach Brian Lynch – who boldly decided to start a rowing program from scratch at West Vancouver’s Hillside Secondary in the 1980s – as well as many of her fellow rowers from the team, who went on to win a high school national title.
Hockey legend Paul Kariya was represented at the event by his brother Steve – himself a former NHL player with the Vancouver Canucks – who spoke of Paul’s youth playing nearly every sport offered, including hockey with the North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association and North Shore Winter Club.
Xwechtáal Dennis Joseph made a powerful speech on behalf of his grandfather Xwechtáal Andrew Paull, a legendary Squamish Nation activist and lacrosse and baseball coach who died in 1959. Joseph spoke of how proud he was to carry his grandfather’s ancestral name.
“We are taught to never ever carry your name through the mud,” he said. “Standing for hours to listen to teachings from elders like Andrew. Papa. Passed on. … He spent his life building bridges between people through sport.”
Last to be called up to the stage was Linda Moore’s world-beating curling team, including third Lindsay Sparkes, second Debbie Jones, lead Laurie Carney and coach Rae Moir.
“We were always very proud to represent North Vancouver,” said Moore, who guided the team to gold at the 1985 world championships as well as the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, where curling was a demonstration sport.
Moore expressed her gratitude at having her team included alongside the other legends who will hold a special place as the first class inducted since the North Shore Sports Hall of Fame, created in 1968, went dormant just three years later. It was revived this year by a committee associated with the North Shore Sport Awards and led by sport historian and hall of fame chairman Len Corben.
“Nobody plays for recognition, you play for the passion, the love of the game,” said Moore. “But this is a great honour.”