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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame announces 2024 Inductees


16 minute read

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024


Shelley Vettese-Baert – Taekwondo Athlete
Born and raised in Edmonton, Shelley has left an indelible mark on the world of Taekwondo, boasting a remarkable 30-year career that has set her apart as a true pioneer in her sport. Her exceptional achievements include a World Cup bronze in Spain (1990), silver in Yugoslavia (1991), Olympic bronze in Spain (1992), gold at the Moscow and US Open in 1993, a bronze at the World Poomsae Championships in Russia (2011), and a bronze in Bali, Indonesia (2013). Recognized with the Governor General’s Jubilee Medal, she stands as Alberta’s only female athlete to reach such heights in Taekwondo. Beyond her achievements, Shelley is appreciated for her community impact, serving as a provincial and international coach and advocate in health and fitness. Retiring from Taekwondo sparring in 1999, she continues to participate in the “pattern” side of Taekwondo called Poomsae. To have reached the highest levels in both areas of Taekwondo (sparring and Poomsae) is a feat that few others have achieved. Shelley is also the first Taekwondo athlete to ever be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Chris McGregor – Horse Racing Athlete

Chris is a legendary figure in the world of horse racing. From 1979 to 2006 he participated in nearly 14,000 races and won 2,248 of them. A career high point came in 2000 when he won the Canadian Derby aboard Scotman, boasting an impressive 46% winning rate. McGregor’s excellence was recognized with nominations for the Sovereign Award in 1990 and 1992, along with notable wins such as Jockey of the Year in Saskatchewan in 1987 and Outstanding Jockey of the Year in 1988. He continued to be recognized for his winning talents by earning the Lou Davis Memorial Trophy for the top jockey in Alberta with 229 wins in 1990, as well as receiving the Joe Perlove Award for the most wins.

Darwin Davidiuk – Curling Builder

Darwin, a passionate advocate for curling, has been an integral part of the Alberta Curling community. He represented Northern Alberta’s interests at both provincial and national levels and coached successful Junior Men’s and Women’s teams in the 1960s-1970s. A competitive curler until 1990, Darwin won numerous zone berths and was a respected competitor known by many influential curlers. He founded the World Open, the first televised bonspiel on CBC, and is a founding member and current Vice President of the Northern Alberta Curling Championship Society. Notable achievements include serving as Vice Chair for various editions of the Labatt Brier and Tim Hortons Brier, promoting the Ford Men’s World Curling Championship in 2007, and leading initiatives for the 2013 Brier to honour curling legends and championship athletes in Edmonton.

Darwin spearheaded a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Northern Alberta Curling Association (NACA), which ceased to exist due to the amalgamation of regional curling associations in Alberta. Serving as Vice President of the NACCS, Darwin collaborated with Terry Jones over 18 months to create a book celebrating NACA’s history.

Julius Fodor – Handball Builder

Julius Fodor played a pivotal role in advancing team handball in Alberta from 1963 onwards. Initially coaching at several Edmonton high schools, he founded the “Edmonton Canucks,” which significantly contributed to the sport’s future success in the province. Over the following years, Fodor played a vital role in introducing handball to prominent events such as the Alberta Winter Games and the Western Canada Games, and in developing the Canadian Team Handball Federation. Starting in 1968, he both played and coached teams at the international level, actively participating in organizing the 1978 North American Championships. Fodor’s extensive involvement in handball, spanning local, provincial, national, and international levels from the 1960s to the early 2000s, defines his lasting legacy in the sport. Anyone who has played handball in western Canada owes a debt of gratitude to Julius, acknowledging him as a pioneering force in introducing and fostering the sport in the region.

Ken Hitchcock – Hockey Builder

Ken Hitchcock was born with a connection to the rink, spending a significant portion of his life in Alberta and the rest wherever he was needed as a coach and ambassador of the game of hockey. With over 50 years dedicated to shaping the sport, Hitchcock’s impact extends far beyond coaching excellence. His legacy is one of tireless commitment to building the game of hockey and uplifting those involved at every level. Hitchcock has contributed to hockey development in Alberta, Canada, and around the world. His journey includes not just coaching but also helping hockey grow in Indigenous communities in our province and organizing coaching clinics in countries like France, Norway, and Germany. His dedication to hockey’s growth and empowering those involved shines through in his remarkable career.

Patrick Jarvis – Paralympic Builder

Patrick Jarvis has dedicated his life to empowering people with disabilities and encouraging them to seek their full potential through sports. As an athlete and builder, he has provided leadership to the Canadian Paralympic community for several decades. He competed at the 1990 World Track and Field Championships, as well as in the 1992 Summer Paralympic Games. Following his retirement from competition, he turned his attention to team management. He volunteered his time to the Alberta and Canadian Amputee Sport Associations, as well as the Canadian and International Paralympic Committees. Through these and other roles, he has guided hundreds of Canadian para-athletes and transformed multiple sports organizations.

Clayton “Darrell” MacLachlan – Alpine Skiing Builder

Darrell MacLachlan swiftly gained recognition within the Alpine Skiing community for his exceptional knowledge, unwavering passion, and remarkable skills, particularly in his commitment to supporting athletes navigating the challenges of a highly competitive environment. His global impact became evident as he consistently advocated for athlete safety and strived to establish a fair and level playing field for all participants. Embracing an important role within the Federation of International Skiing (FIS), Darrell took on critical responsibilities within various Committees and Sub-Committees of the FIS, making invaluable contributions to the Canadian Snowsports Association (CSA), FIS, and the broader International Ski Community. Above all, Darrell exemplifies a readiness to listen, adapt, and learn, ensuring the transfer of knowledge to others in the pursuit of excellence in alpine skiing.

Theresa Maxwell – Volleyball Builder

Theresa stands as one of the foremost builders of volleyball in the Volleyball Canada community, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. A dominant female student-athlete at the University of Calgary in the 1960s, Theresa’s sports journey began as she earned the title of University Female Athlete of the Year in 1964 and 1966. She then went on to coach children and youth at all levels, from developmental to highly competitive.  She seamlessly transitioned to the administrative side of sports, dedicating over a decade to the Board and Presidency of the Alberta Volleyball Association. Her focus was to provide participation opportunities for all by developing programs and support at whatever age and level they chose to compete.  From 1990 to 1994, Theresa assumed the role of President with Volleyball Canada, making history as the first woman appointed to the World League Volleyball jury in 1995. Her leadership extended internationally as the Head of Delegation for various prestigious events, including the Women’s World Championship in 1993. Theresa’s enduring commitment and devotion to volleyball have been instrumental in fostering the sport’s growth at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Ozzie Sawicki – Paralympic Builder

Ozzie Sawicki’s enduring career in the realm of sports spans over three decades, marked by a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and the belief that sport should be accessible to individuals of all abilities. From 2000 to 2004, Ozzie served as the head coach for the Canadian Para-Alpine Race team, achieving remarkable success at the Salt Lake City Paralympic Games in 2002. As the head coach of the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team, Ozzie played an important role in securing 12 out of the total 15 medals earned by Team Canada at those Games. His leadership extended to the position of Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, where Canada surpassed performance goals, securing seven gold, two silver, and seven bronze medals. Beyond his notable contributions on the international stage, including his role as head coach with the Canadian Para-Athletics Team (2009 to 2011) and as performance advisor to the Paralympic and Olympic Equestrian Teams (2009 to 2016), Ozzie is deeply involved in his community, earning recognition for his tireless efforts to enhance the world of adaptive sports and advocate for inclusivity and positive change.

Ron Thompson – Athletics Builder

For over four decades, Ron’s unwavering dedication to coaching has left a mark on the athletic landscape. His influence stretches beyond regional borders, encompassing the Edmonton community and various track clubs, where he has adeptly recruited and coached athletes. Among his notable successes is Marco Arop, the first Canadian male to win world gold in the 800m. Ron’s coaching legacy goes beyond individual achievements, as he has mentored several athletes to become esteemed coaches at national and international levels. Serving as a “team coach” at the University of Alberta and representing Team Alberta and Team Canada at national and international games, Ron consistently demonstrates a commitment to excellence. His impact isn’t confined to track and field; he has also made substantial contributions as a specialized sport performance trainer for athletes in football, rugby, soccer, basketball, and hockey, with nine players in the NHL. Throughout his extensive coaching career, Ron Thompson has been a beacon for the transformative power of sports in the lives of his proteges, shaping the Alberta sports community and leaving a positive impact that extends well beyond the world of athletics.

Tom Three Persons – Rodeo Pioneer

Tom Three Persons, a member of the Kainai Nation and a revered Siksikaitsitapi rodeo athlete and rancher, secured his legacy by winning the saddle bronc competition title at the inaugural Calgary Stampede in 1912. This victory, recognized as a world championship at the time, marked him as the only Canadian victor among the top rodeo athletes of that era. As an Indigenous athlete, Three Persons left a lasting mark on the history of the Calgary Stampede. Beyond his excellence in the arena, he played an important role as a builder in the sports of rodeo and horse racing in southern Alberta during the first half of the twentieth century. It is this lasting impact that positions Tom Three Persons as a Rodeo Pioneer in Alberta, a testament to his enduring contributions to the rich heritage of rodeo and horse racing in the region.

John Frederick Utendale – Hockey Pioneer

John Utendale, a pioneering force in hockey, cemented his legacy as one of the first Black players to sign an NHL contract when he joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1955. His impact extended beyond the rink as he became the first athletic director and hockey coach at NAIT in 1966. Utendale’s dedication to the sport reached new heights in 1980 when he earned an Olympic gold medal as the assistant training coach for the USA Men’s Hockey team. In 2023, he was recognized for his remarkable contributions by being honoured as a member of the induction class for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. Utendale’s lifetime of barrier-breaking achievements was commemorated in 2022 through a House Bill by the Washington State Legislature, acknowledging his role as an athlete, educator, and civil rights trailblazer. Further accolades followed in 2022, as he was inducted into the Western Washington University Athletic Hall of Fame and received Black History Month recognition from both the Edmonton Oilers and the Seattle Kraken in 2023. Utendale’s multifaceted impact on the world of hockey and his unwavering commitment to breaking barriers continue to resonate across generations.Top of Form

Join us for our Induction Ceremony on May 24. More details to follow.

For more information, please contact Tracey Kinsella, Executive Director at 403-341-8614 or via email at [email protected]

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame provides a family-friendly, interactive experience. You will be surprised by what you discover inside! Have fun, laugh, play and discover Alberta sports heroes together. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta's sporting history. Our over 7,000 square feet of exhibit space includes a multisport area with virtual baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer; an adaptive sports area, including a 200 meter wheelchair challenge; a Treadwall climbing wall; the Orest Korbutt Theatre; the Hall of Fame Gallery; an art gallery displaying works by provincial artists, and much more. Our venue boasts a collection of over 17,000 artefacts of Alberta sports history and showcases many of these items in a number of displays. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame also offers an education program, group activities, and a unique environment to rent for your birthday party, special event, corporate reception or meetings.

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Coutts Three verdict: A warning to protestors who act as liaison with police

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Ray McGinnis

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

Twelve jurors have found the Coutts Three guilty of mischief over $5,000 at a courthouse in Lethbridge, Alberta. Marco Van Huigenbois, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen will appear again in court on July 22 for sentencing.

Van Huigenbois, Van Herk and Janzen were each protesting at the Coutts Blockade in 2022. A blockade of Alberta Highway 4 began on January 29, 2022, blocking traffic, on and off, on Alberta Highway 4 near the Coutts-Sweetgrass Canada-USA border crossing. The protests were in support of the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa.

Protests began due to the vaccine mandates for truckers entering Canada, and lockdowns that bankrupted 120,000 small businesses. Government edicts were purportedly for “public health” to stop the spread of the C-19 virus. Yet the CDC’s Dr. Rachel Wallensky admitted on CNN in August 2021 the vaccine did not prevent infection or stop transmission.

By February 2022, a US court forced Pfizer to release its “Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports” revealing the company knew by the end of February, 2021, that 1,223 people  had a “case outcome” of “fatal” as a result of taking the companies’ vaccine.

On the day of February 14, 2022, the three men spoke to Coutts protesters after a cache of weapons had been displayed by the RCMP. These were in connection with the arrest of the Coutts Four. Van Huigenbos and others persuaded the protesters to leave Coutts, which they did by February 15, 2022.

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

RCMP officer Greg Tulloch testified that there were a number of “factions” within the larger protest group. These factions had strong disagreements about how to proceed with the protest. The Crown contended the Coutts Three were the leaders of the protest.

During his testimony, Tulloch recalled how Van Huigenbos and Janzen assisted him in getting past the “vehicle blockade to enter Coutts at a time during the protest when access to Coutts from the north via the AB-4 highway was blocked.” Tulloch also testified that Janzen and Van Huigenbos helped with handling RCMP negotiations with the protesters. Tulloch gave credit to these two “being able to help move vehicles at times to open lanes on the AB-4 highway to facilitate the flow of traffic in both directions.”

During cross examination by George Janzen’s lawyer, Alan Honner, Tulloch stated that he noticed two of the defendants assisting RCMP with reopening the highway in both directions. Honner said in summary, “[Marco Van Huigenbos and George Janzen] didn’t close the road, they opened it.”

Mark Wielgosz, an RCMP officer for over twenty years, worked as a liaison between law enforcement and protesters at the Coutts blockade. Taking the stand, he concurred that there was sharp disagreement among the Coutts protesters and the path forward with their demonstration. Rebel News video clips “submitted by both the Crown and defence teams captured these disagreements as demonstrators congregated in the Smuggler’s Saloon, a location where many of the protesters met to discuss and debate their demonstration.” Wielgosz made several attempts to name the leaders of the protest in his role as a RCMP liaison with the protesters, but was unsuccessful.”

However, the Crown maintained that the protest unlawfully obstructed people’s access to property on Highway 4.

Canada’s Criminal Code defines mischief as follows in Section 430:

Every one commits mischief who willfully

(a)  destroys or damages property;

(b)  renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

(c)   obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

(d)  obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Robert Kraychik reported that “RCMP Superintendent Gordon Corbett…cried (no comment on the sincerity of this emoting) while testifying about a female RCMP officer that was startled by the movement of a tractor with a large blade during the Coutts blockade/protest.” This was the climax of the trial. A tractor moving some distance away from an officer in rural Alberta, with blades. The shock of it all.

No evidence was presented in the trial that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen destroyed or damaged property. Officers testified they couldn’t identify who the protest leaders were. They testified the defendants assisted with opening traffic lanes, and winding down the protest.

By volunteering to liaise with the RCMP, the Crown depicted the Coutts Three as the protest leaders. Who will choose to volunteer at any future peaceful, non-violent, protest to act as a liaison with the policing authorities? Knowing of the verdict handed down on April 16, 2024, in Lethbridge?

Ray McGinnis is a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. His forthcoming book is Unjustified: The Emergencies Act and the Inquiry that Got It Wrong.

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Maxime Bernier says it’s ‘astounding’ Alberta is ‘pushing’ COVID boosters, tells Danielle Smith to stop it

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The People’s Party of Canada leader tells the Alberta government: ‘It’s over! Get over it!’

People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith should tell provincial health bureaucrats to “back off” and stop “pushing” the mRNA COVID boosters on “anyone,” considering a recent announcement from health officials recommending yet more COVID shots.

“I find it astounding that Alberta public health bureaucrats are still pushing the mRNA boosters on anyone, and especially on children who have never been at risk, almost two years after almost all other pandemic measures have been ended,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“Danielle Smith’s government should tell its bureaucrats to back off and stop stupidly feeding a needless sense of fear surrounding the virus that lingers among certain groups of society. It’s over! Get over it!”

Earlier this week, officials from Alberta Health Services (AHS), whose chief medical officer throughout the COVID crisis, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, was fired by Smith in 2022, updated its COVID booster recommendations to every “three months” starting at babies only six months old.

“Starting April 15, 2024, select groups of Albertans at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 will be eligible for an additional dose,” the AHS noted on its website.

AHS health officials still assert that all “vaccines are safe, effective and save lives,” and that one can get a COVID shot at the same time as a flu vaccine.

On April 16, Bernier commented on the AHS’s new COVID jab guideline changes on X, in which he asked, “What’s going on in Alberta with their “conservative” government?

Bernier, who was a firm opponent of both the COVID shots and mandates, told LifeSiteNews that AHS’s recommendations are puzzling, given “more and more scientific evidence is emerging of dangerous side effects when injecting from these experimental substances.”

“Even though these are only recommendations, and nothing is mandated, this ‘guidance’ by government agencies influences people’s decisions,” Bernier said.

Those under 18 still need written or verbal consent from their parents to get the shot.

AHS is recommending booster jabs for seniors, healthcare workers as well as those with underlying medical conditions. They also recommend that First Nations people and “members of racialized and other equity-denied communities,” as well as pregnant women get the shots as well.

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government as well as all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under former Premier Jason Kenney being no exception.

The mRNA shots themselves have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

Danielle Smith took over from Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on October 11, 2022, after winning the leadership. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down as well as enacting a vaccine passport. Smith was opposed to COVID jab mandates.

Bernier: It’s ‘deplorable’ some provinces still mandate COVID shot for Heathcare workers

While Alberta does not mandate the COVID shots for healthcare workers anymore, British Columbia still does as well as some health regions in Ontario, a fact that Bernier called “deplorable.”

“I find it deplorable that nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in B.C. and Ontario still have to be vaccinated to work in hospitals and that thousands of them have not been reintegrated,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“The authoritarian covid measures adopted by all governments have been traumatic enough for millions of Canadians. All of them should be lifted.”

Last year, LifeSiteNews reported on how the details of the Canadian federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine contract with Pfizer for millions of doses of the mRNA-based experimental shots were recently disclosed after being hidden for over three years.

The contract with Pfizer shows the government agreed to accept the unknown long-term safety and efficacy of the shots. The details of the Pfizer contract do not disclose how much the government spent on the jabs.

A bill introduced by Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre that would have given Canadians back their “bodily autonomy” by banning future jab mandates was voted down last year after Trudeau’s Liberals and other parties rejected it.

Adverse effects from the first round of COVID shots have resulted in a growing number of Canadians filing for financial compensation over injuries from the jabs via the federal Vaccine Injury Program (VISP).

VISP has already paid well over $11 million to those injured by COVID injections.

Earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported on how officials from Health Canada have admitted that there is “residual plasmid DNA” in the COVID shots after a Conservative MP asked the agency through an official information request if the DNA fragments were in the shots.

As for Bernier, earlier this month he called out Poilievre for dodging a question regarding Canada’s participation in the United Nations’ pro-abortion Paris Climate Agreement.

Throughout most of the COVID crisis, Canadians from coast to coast were faced with COVID mandates, including jab dictates, put in place by both the provincial and federal governments.

After much pushback, thanks to the Freedom Convoy, most provincial mandates were eliminated by the summer of 2022.

There are currently multiple ongoing class-action lawsuits filed by Canadians adversely affected by COVID mandates.

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