One team and one individual will go in this year, with the induction ceremony taking place Oct. 25.
Judy Fitzsimmons’s dream of a Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame is finally taking shape.
More than three years ago, Fitzsimmons was in Delta when she came across that city’s local sports hall.
“I thought, hmm. It was a little light bulb,” she said.
Since that fateful trip, Fitzsimmons has received support from local politicians and built a formidable team of volunteers to work towards her goal of a Chilliwack hall.
The sticking point, however, was where to put it.
“It really was a conundrum for us,” Fitzsimmons told the Times.
But that’s no longer the case. The Chilliwack Chiefs have offered up a portion of the Prospera Centre concourse to the hall, solving the long-running location problem and giving the idea a firm shove towards becoming reality.
“Without them, we wouldn’t have known what our next step would have been,” said Fitzsimmons.
Gord Pederson, the city’s director of parks, recreation and culture, said the idea is for a multimedia display that will honour athletes, coaches and builders for excellence at a high level of sports.
“We’d be looking at a setup that would have TV screens and a static display,” he said. The display would allow the presentation of physical objects, while the TV screens would allow the hall to expand as it recognizes more inductees. “We wanted to find a really appropriate way to honour the legacy of these winners.”
He also said organizers have focused on making sure the hall doesn’t overlap with the successful Sport Heroes program, which honours long-time volunteers with Chilliwack sport.
The goal is for the hall to preserve the legacy of presentday athletes, while reminding residents of the heroes of yesteryear. To dig back into Chilliwack’s history, organizers are working with the Chilliwack Museum and Archives.
“I think what we’re also doing is waking up the community to the level of skill and talent we’ve had in the community-both have and had,” said Pederson.
The hope is to have the hall complete and open to the public by December. But that will mean not just hammering out the details of what the display will look like, but deciding what athletes deserve a spot in the hall.
“We’ll be running hard to get it done, but I think we can do it,” said Fitzsimmons. “There’s a huge diverse [sports community] and I think we can tap into that.”
Anyone who wants to volunteer can call her at 604-847-3765
Dave Archibald headlines the inaugural class that will enter the brand-new Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame in late October.
The induction ceremony will be held at Prospera Centre Oct. 26 during the intermission of a Chilliwack Chiefs game.
Archibald will be inducted in the player category.
Longtime basketball coach Joe Ogmundson goes in as a builder and the Turbo junior baseball team from the mid-1990s becomes the first team inducted.
The Turbo team went to five straight national championship tournaments, starting in 1993. They finally broke through in 1997, winning it all in Oshawa, Ontario.
The team was loaded with Chilliwack talent — including Bob Armstrong, Noel Sharmam, Chris Fitzsimmons, Clayton Beck — with many of those players still living locally. They remain the only Chilliwack team to have ever captured that national title.
Ogmundson has a diverse coaching resume dating back to the 1970s, but he is best known for his work as the girls basketball coach at Chilliwack secondary school. Ogmundson has fashioned the program into a consistent winner, one that has produced countless collegiate players.
Last year’s roster for the national contender University of the Fraser Valley Cascades included four CSS grads — Courtney Bartel, Alexa McCarthy and Nicole and Sarah Wierks. The Wierks sisters and Bartel are back for another run at a CIS title this year, forming the core of the UFV team.
Archibald is the best hockey player Chilliwack has ever produced.
He came up through Chilliwack Minor Hockey, played as a 14-year-old in the Western Hockey League and ended up getting drafted by the National Hockey League’s Minnesota North Stars.
Archibald logged 323 games with the North Stars, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders, finishing his playing career in 1999-00 with a 21 game stint in Sweden.
He also played nationally for Canada, winning silver at the 1991 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the 1992 Winter Olympics.
“All of these inductees are extremely worthy and we are excited that they will be the first class to enter the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame,” said Judy Fitzsimmons, CSHOF president. “We hope Chilliwack will help us to honour them at the Oct. 26 induction ceremony.”
A CSHOF website will be launched soon. Keep checking the Progress sports section over the next two weeks for updates and full features on each inductee.
By Eric Welsh – Chilliwack Progress