It has been a challenging year for the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame, but the adversity that the board has faced over the last 12 months has set the stage for a renewal in 2020.
The CSHOF staged two tremendously successful Chilliwack Sports Dinner events in 2016 and 2018. Harvey Smyl (hockey), Lara Mussell-Savage (ultimate frisbee), Gord McConnell (badminton), Don Martineau (hockey) and the 1963 Fraser Vale Chiefs (hockey) were inducted and our generous supporters were treated to amazing presentations — in 2016 a round-table discussion featuring Stan Smyl, Wally Buono and Bobby Lenarduzzi and in 2018 the emotional and impactful story of ex-National Hockey Leaguer Theoren Fleury.
Fresh off that success, the CSHOF board followed a similar path into 2019, intending to hold the third annual Chilliwack Sports Dinner in October.
This time the task was too tall.
The dedicated but small CSHOF board formulated an ambitious plan in the spring, but after sputtering through the summer and into the early fall, they had to face reality.
“Ticket sales weren’t anywhere near where they needed to be a month before the event, and as one of our board members said so well, we simply ‘lacked the bandwidth to pull it off again,’” said former CSHOF president Eric Welsh. “The toughest part was telling our Class of 2019 — swimmer Jennifer Heagy, curling builder Bruce Renwick and the 1999 Chilliwack United Soccer club — that the event was being postponed, but we wanted to give them the most memorable Hall of Fame induction possible, and that wasn’t going to happen.”
The CSHOF board has done a lot of reflecting since October.
The biggest reason for the stumble in 2019 was the lack of people power, and to that end the CSHOF is adding several motivated newcomers to the board. The CSHOF is also seeking new members who may not want to serve on the board, but do want to see Chilliwack’s sports stories told and are willing to donate their time when needed.
“Our overall vision hasn’t changed, and we strongly believe it’s worth supporting,” Welsh said. “We’re committed to shining the spotlight on Chilliwack’s sporting history and recognizing people who have achieved great things. The discussion now is how do we accomplish that and I have no doubt a re-energized board will get the CSHOF back on track in 2020.”
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