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Deirdra Dionne one of 14 to be inducted to Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Introduces 2020 Inductees

Red Deer claims Deidra Dionne as their own, and so they should.  Her skiing career took off – literally – when she moved with her family to the city in 1982 and joined the Red Deer Freestyle Club at Canyon Ski Resort. It wasn’t long before she began excelling on a provincial, national, and eventually, international stage.

“We are proud to welcome these new Honoured Members into the Hall,” said Kinsella. “Their contributions to sport in our province are incredible and humbling. They have truly earned the right to have their names added to our Hall.” – Tracey Kinsella, Executive Director, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. On May 29th, an induction banquet and ceremony will be held at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel and Conference Centre where this group will officially be welcomed into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Included are five athletes, four builders and five award winners.

The newest athletes joining the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame are:

Deidra Dionne (Athlete, Skiing); Bronze medalist in women’s aerials at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Chris Phillips (Athlete, Hockey): A stay-at-home defenceman and the longest-serving player in Ottawa Senators franchise history.

Kelly Sutherland (Athlete, Chuckwagon Racing): Twelve-time Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby Championships, and seven Calgary Stampede Aggregate titles.

Michael Robertson (Athlete, Snowboardcross): Silver medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. This year’s builders include:

Jan Ullmark (Builder, Figure Skating): Jan is an elite coach whose skills have made an indelible mark on the sport of figure skating in Canada.

Terry Morris (Builder, Curling): Terry has been active in the promotion and development of the sport of curling in Alberta and across the nation for the better part of four decades.

Ken Babey (Builder, Hockey): In his nearly three decades behind the bench of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans men’s hockey team, Ken Babey guided the team to unparalleled success.

Derek Douglas (Builder, Soccer): The first soccer referee from Alberta to attain the position of FIFA International Referee in 1986, Derek has also been instrumental in growing the game in Sherwood Park, Edmonton and throughout the province.

This year’s Award winners are:

Nancy Southern & Ian Allison (Bell Memorial Award): As the team who pioneered equestrian sport broadcasting in Alberta, they are the first duo to be awarded the Bell Memorial Award.

John Currie (Achievement Award): As president of the 1983 Western Canada Summer Games, John led the development and funding of the game’s flagship facility – the Repsol Sport Centre.

Stan Wakelyn (Pioneer Award, Soccer): In 1922, Calgary Hillhurst FC won the Dominion of Canada Football Championship, with Stan, a centre forward, as team captain.

Dennis Kadatz (Legacy Award): At 22, Dennis guided the Edmonton Huskies Junior Football Team to three consecutive Canadian Championships in 1962, 1963 and 1964. In 1964, Dennis became head coach of the University of Calgary’s fledgling football program.

For more information, please contact Tracey Kinsella, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director, at (403) 341-8614 or via email at [email protected].

Detailed bios of each athlete:

Deidra Dionne –Skiing Athlete

Deidra Dionne was a trailblazer for today’s athletes competing in the sport of freestyle skiing in Canada. Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Deidra’s skiing career took off – literally – when she moved with her family to Red Deer in 1982 and joined the Red Deer Freestyle Club at Canyon Ski Resort. It wasn’t long before she began excelling on a provincial, national, and eventually, international stage. Her accomplishments are exceptional: silver at the 2008 Canadian Freestyle Championships, 2000 World Cup Freestyle Rookie of the Year, bronze medals at both the 2001 and 2003 World Championships, and a bronze medal in women’s aerials at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Despite breaking her neck in a training accident in September 2005, Deidra battled back to compete at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Chris Phillips – Hockey Athlete

Calgary’s Chris Phillips began his junior hockey career at the age of 15 with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), before joining the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Prince Albert Raiders in time for the 1995-96 season. In 61 games with the Raiders, Chris scored 10 goals and added 30 assists on his way to winning Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Midway through the 1996-97 season, the Raiders traded Chris to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, where he helped lead the Hurricanes to the Memorial Cup Final, which they lost to the Hull Olympique. Chris won two gold medals as a member of Canada’s World Junior Hockey Team in both 1996 and 1997. Chris was drafted first overall by the Ottawa Senators at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, and would spend his entire NHL career with the team. Chris began his career during the 1997–98 season and retired following the 2015–16 season, after spending the entire season on the injured list. A stay- at-home defenceman, Chris played 1,179 games with Ottawa in the regular season and playoffs, making him the longest-serving player in Senators franchise history. During his NHL career, Chris scored 71 goals to go along with 217 assists.

Kelly Sutherland – Chuckwagon Racing Athlete

You have to look no further that Kelly Sutherland’s nickname to understand the impact he had on his chosen sport of chuckwagon racing: “The King.” He was racing at the age of 14, driving by the age of 16, and winning at the age of 22. With a career that spanned five decades, Kelly remains one of the most important influences in the sport’s history. He won an astounding 12 world championships – his first in 1974 and his final one in 2011 at the age of 60. Kelly is perhaps best known for his success at the Calgary Stampede. Over the course of his career, he won 12 Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby Championships, and seven Calgary Stampede Aggregate titles. He also won nine Ponoka Stampede titles and one in his hometown of Grande Prairie. In 2010, Kelly was the first torchbearer of day eight of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games torch relay and in 2011 he shared the sport with Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit to the Calgary Stampede. Kelly retired from racing in 2017. In his 48 seasons behind the reins, he placed in the top 10 overall 41 times.

Michael Robertson – Snowboardcross Athlete

Michael Robertson was always a gifted athlete – he played hockey and soccer from the
age of five before transitioning to competitive snowboarding at the age of 13. A member of a small team from Rabbit Hill Snow Resort, just south of Edmonton, Mike became provincial champion in his age group at the age of 14. Two years later, he transitioned to the sport of snowboardcross, where his competitive nature and dedication to his chosen craft, allowed him to quickly excel at the sport. Michael joined the National Development Team at 17 before progressing to the National Team, where he would remain until his career was cut short by injuries at the age of 27. During his career on the World Cup tour, Michael was often in the top 10, earning two silver and one bronze medal along the way. Heading into the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Michael was ranked fifth on the tour. In his semi-final, Michael avoided an early collision involving the other three competitors to run away with the race. In the final, Michael got out to the early lead and held it until Seth Wescott caught him at the second last turn to deny him the gold. Since his retirement, Michael has coached a number of Alberta snowboardcross teams, the National Para Olympic team, and acts as an ambassador to Kidsport.

Jan Ullmark – Figure Skating Builder

Since arriving in Alberta in 1973, Jan Ullmark and his elite coaching skills have made an indelible mark on the sport of figure skating in Canada. As the Director of Skating at Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club, Jan elevated the club to prominence as one of the country’s top training centres. Under his tutiledge, the club began to consistently produce national and international competitors. Among the athletes who benefited from his guidance were Michael Slipchuk, who won the 1992 Canadian Championship; Jane Gray; as well as the team of Jaime Sale and David Pelletier, who went on to win gold in pairs figure skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. With his induction into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Jan joins his former proteges Slipchuk, Sale and Pelletier as an honoured member. For the past 20 years, Jan and his wife, Cynthia, have hosted a skating camp in Canmore which welcomes skaters from across the province to train under their guidance.

Terry Morris – Curling Builder

Terry has been active in the promotion and development of the sport of curling in Alberta and across the nation for the better part of four decades. During that time, most of Terry’s exploits have flown under the radar, including his efforts to unite the sport’s governance structure which led to the establishment of the Alberta Curling Federation, as well as the Northern Alberta Curling Association. His incredible administrative and organizational skills allowed Terry to play an integral role on the organizing committees of every major curling event held in Edmonton since 1987, including the 1987 Brier, the 1999 Brier, and the 2005 Brier – the largest and most successful Brier in its history. He has also played an important role in the success of the 2007 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, and the 2009 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials. Today, Terry continues to work with as an event manager with Curling Canada.

Ken Babey – Hockey Builder

In his nearly three decades behind the bench of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans men’s hockey team, Ken Babey guided the team to unparalleled success on and off the ice while becoming the most successful coach in Canadian post-secondary hockey history. From 1987-2014, Ken picked up a total of 534 regulation and playoff wins, nine Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championships, seven ACAC Coach of the Year awards, one Canadian College Athletic Association (CCAA) title (2000), and two CCAA silver medals (1992 and 1997). He also set over 15 ACAC career coaching records.

In June 2014, Ken announced he was stepping down as the Trojans coach, walking away with a career winning percentage of .681. Following a brief retirement, Ken was recruited to step behind the bench of the national men’s para ice hockey (previously known as sledge hockey) team. It didn’t take long for him to make his mark – the team took back-to-back silver medals at the world championships in 2015 and 2016 before winning gold at the 2017 championships in South Korea. At the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang,

Ken led Team Canada to the gold medal game, where they lost 2-1 to the United States in overtime. Ken was previously inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Derek Douglas – Soccer Builder

Derek Douglas was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1942 with a love of football – a love he brought with him when he immigrated to Canada with his family in 1957. In his family’s adopted hometown of Vancouver, BC, Derek would hone his goaltending skills playing on teams alongside his brothers. In 1973, Derek was relocated to Edmonton for work, settling in Sherwood Park with his young family. As soccer was so new in the growing community, Derek and his wife found roles as coaches with their children’s teams. Derek also began officiating soccer that same year, and would serve two terms as president of the Sherwood Park District Soccer Association between 1975 – 1979. In 1981, Derek’s hard work and dedication to the sport were recognized when he was promoted to the position of National Soccer Referee. By 1982, Derek was officiating professional soccer games in the North American Soccer League, while also maintaining his commitments to soccer in his home community. In 1986, Canada Soccer promoted Derek to the top position a soccer official can become: a FIFA International Referee, the first one from Alberta. In an officiating career that lasted from 1981-2000 at the national and international level, Derek officiated games across North and Central America. Following the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, Derek shifted his focus to the development of female soccer officials locally, nationally, and internationally. At the age of 75, he continues to grow the sport locally as a part-time referee coordinator in Sherwood Park.

Nancy Southern & Ian Allison – Bell Memorial Award

As the team who pioneered equestrian sport broadcasting in Alberta, Nancy Southern
and Ian Allison are the first duo to be awarded the Bell Memorial Award. Since opening in southwest Calgary in 1975, Spruce Meadows has raised the profile of show jumping on a provincial, national and global level. Nancy and Ian helped develop the first digital TV studio in 1990, which was quite progressive at the time. Before opening the studio, Nancy and Ian spent as much time as they could learning from the experts. During the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the duo had the opportunity to shadow a number of ABC Television producers. The next year, Nancy attended the Electronic Festival in Cannes as a guest of ABC. She used her time to learn about the necessities to build a top-flight studio. In the studio’s early years it attracted the attention of CTV’s Wide World of Sports, which televised Spruce Meadows’ Grand Prix. This led to the “Spruce Meadows Today” series, which aired on the network for 25 years. Ian, “the Voice of Spruce Meadows,” lends his talents to the CBC broadcast team covering the Spruce Meadows events, and was the colour commentator for the show jumping events at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was also the co-announcer at the 2017 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Today, Spruce Meadows Television Production Unit produces over 130 hours of programming for distribution in over 110 countries worldwide.

John Currie – Achievement Award

John Currie’s vision and dedication to Alberta amateur sport is unquestioned. John was a pivitol figure as president of the 1983 Western Canada Summer Games in Calgary, helping in the development and funding of the game’s flagship facility – the Repsol Sport Centre (previously known as Lindsay Park Sports Centre and then Talisman Centre). At the time it was constructed, the RSC was the largest multi-sport complex of its kind in Canada. During the games, over 2,500 athletes from the four western provinces and the Northwest Territories competed in 23 summer Olympic sports. Since then, the centre has been the training ground for countless amateur athletes, as well as numerous Olympic and Paralympic athletes. John commitment to amateur sport in Calgary and throughout Alberta allowed him to lend his expertise to countless boards and foundations, including the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The John Currie Amateur Sports Legacy Fund, a lasting legacy of the games, has awarded bursaries to over 100 amateur athletes since 2013.

Stan Wakelyn – Pioneer Award

If you are a successful soccer player in Alberta, you can trace some of that success back to Stan Wakelyn. Born in Sunderland, England, Stan moved to Calgary at the age of 15 and remained there until his death in 1976. Throughout the 1910’s and 1920’s, Stan, three of his brothers, and his father were members of the storied Calgary Hillhurst FC Soccer Club. Stan’s time with the club was interrupted during World War I, where he served alongside five of his brothers. In 1922, Calgary Hillhurst FC won the Dominion of Canada Football Championship, with Stan, a centre forward, as team captain. It was the only time in the championship’s first 60 years that it was won by a team hailing from Alberta. From 1922-24, Stan guided Hillhurst to three straight Bennett Shield provincial titles. He also played on a Calgary all-star team that faced off against a number of international teams from England and Scotland that were touring Canada. Stan worked for Canada Post for 38 years and was also a member
of the Royal Canadian Legion No. 1 Branch. In 1950, Stan was a finalist for the Canadian Press Best in 50 Years Footballers; in 2012, as part of the Canadian Soccer Association’s Centennial, Stan was honoured as one of the country’s top 100 Men’s Footballers; and in 2018 he was elected to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.

Dennis Kadatz – Legacy Award

Raised on his family’s farm southeast of Edmonton, Dennis played football at the University of Alberta while pursuing his Bachelor’s of Physical Education. At 22, Dennis became the head coach on the Edmonton Huskies Junior Football Teams, guiding them to three consecutive Canadian Championships in 1962, 1963 and 1964. At the 1965 Canadian championship, the Huskies narrowly missed a fourth national title, losing 2-1. In 1964, Dennis’ legacy on the gridiron would be cemented when he was hired as head coach by the University of Calgary to help launch their fledgling football program, a role he would hold until 1968. Dennis was appointed as U of C’s first Athletic Director in 1966 and would remain in that position until 1985. He would also add the title of Associate Dean in the Faculty of Eduction in 1980, where he oversaw the design of both Jack Simpson Gym and the Olympic Oval. In 1985, Dennis was recruited to oversee another group in its infancy – the Calgary Olympic Development Association. First as general manager (1985-1992) and then as president (1992-1999), Dennis grew CODA into the most-successful post-Olympic organization in the world. Dennis was previously inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the 1962-1964 Edmonton Huskies and in 2010 with the 1983-85 University of Calgary Dinos.

Click for stories and videos of some of the recent inductees into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

For more information about the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, click here.

 

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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Alberta announces combined $187 million in addictions and homelessness funding

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By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Alberta government has announced more than $124 million over two years for addiction and mental health services in Edmonton and Calgary, with another $63 million aimed at reducing homelessness in the province over the same period.

The funding for Edmonton and Calgary will go toward increasing treatment spaces while expanding addiction services, with $70 million earmarked for capital spending and $54 million to assist operations.

A 75-bed, co-ed long-term treatment facility is planned to be operational in Edmonton by the end of 2023, while a similar facility is to be built in Calgary by early 2024.

The $63 million is to support steps outlined in the government’s action plan on homelessness.

Premier Jason Kenney stressed his government’s recovery-based approach to the addictions issue when he announced the funding Saturday, calling British Columbia’s recent move to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs in January “reckless.”

“In the area of addressing addictions, there are many that believe recovery is a false hope. It’s not possible, and instead what we should do is actually to facilitate dangerous addictions rather than to offer an off-ramp to freedom from addiction,” Kenney said during the announcement at Edmonton’s Herb Jamieson Centre.

“The whole point is to give people a fighting chance to escape from the grips of addiction so they have the opportunity to build a new, safe fulfilling life.

“Recovery works. It’s not a new concept or an untested Utopian theory,” he said.

Under the Alberta plan, the number of winter shelter spaces will be expanded in communities like Edmonton, Wetaskiwin and Lethbridge, and in rural communities where there is an urgent and unmet need.

All provincially funded shelters will also provide round-the-clock access seven days a week, while funding will be equalized between community-based organizations in Edmonton and Calgary.

The funding will include $5 million to create up to 450 additional shelter spots in Edmonton, bringing the number of emergency spaces in the city to over 1,000.

The plan also includes $2.5 million in 2022-2023 to test the so-called service hub model in two pilot programs in Calgary and Edmonton. These six-month long programs will connect people directly with support and services such as addictions recovery, housing and emergency financial support, beginning this fall.

Meanwhile, the addictions funding will be used to increase the ability of direct outreach teams through Edmonton police and Alberta Health Services to provide support and overdose prevention services. The same expansion of services will also be carried out in Calgary.

Edmonton police chief Dale McFee lauded the fact that housing options include support for mental health and addictions as he personally thanked Kenney for the new funding.

“This is the biggest single investment that I’ve ever seen over the course of my career in actually addressing the system versus putting more money into silos that are actually generating a lot of the problem,” McFee said at the announcement.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the funding would tackle the root causes of homelessness, and also praised the fact the province was delivering on a request to provide enhanced plans when prisoners are discharged from corrections facilities.

In July, the city requested a hub where social workers, firefighters and peace officers could work together to reduce crime and address a spike in violence downtown, in nearby Chinatown and and on the transit system.

“These investments show our collaborative approach is working, and together we are making life better for struggling Edmontonians,” Sohi said at the announcement.

But NDP Critic for Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson said in a news release that Kenney’s government has cut funding for housing, noting buildings that could have opened months ago are sitting empty because the government hasn’t provided operational funding.

“The money announced today does not even begin to address the deeper need for permanent supportive housing, social housing and affordable housing in this province,” she said.

According to the province, over 6,400 Albertans were experiencing homelessness— including nearly 4,000 using emergency shelters or on the streets — as of Jan. 31.

Alberta saw more than 1,600 opioid-related deaths in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.

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Five years later: Waterton Lakes National Park plan considers fire recovery

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Waterton – Like the land itself, a new management plan for Waterton Lakes National Park is marked by a powerful wildfire that tore through the southern Alberta park five years ago.

The 2022 plan, tabled in Parliament this summer, sets the park’s direction for the next decade. It includes dealing with climate change and invasive species and considers ways to strengthen Indigenous relationships and connect with Canadians.

The Kenow Wildfire, however, led to a major change from the previous plan. The fire burned more than 19,000 hectares — approximately 39 per cent — of the mountainous park in September 2017 and damaged many popular picnic areas, campgrounds and hiking trails.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” Parks Canada’s Locke Marshall, who’s the superintendent in Waterton, said in a recent interview. “We’ve had a lot of support from the federal government.”

Marshall said some of the damaged infrastructure was already being replaced before the fire, but other areas required a complete rebuild.

“There’s been a lot of work that has been done,” he said. “Initially, when the fire went through, our parkways were not available, so we had to work on them to get them ready to go.

“We lost our visitor centre, but we were already in plans to build a new one. Many of our picnic areas got damaged. We’ve done a lot of work on our trails.”

Some areas, such as roads and bridges around Red Rock Canyon, are still being rebuilt and the Crandell Mountain campground is still under construction, he said.

Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at Thompson Rivers University in B.C. and Canada Wildfire’s scientific director, said the fire also affected a lot of the park’s natural landscape.

“It burned a good chunk of the park with high-intensity severity,” he said. “The effect on the vegetation and the soil was severe because it was hot and dry.”

Flannigan said he’s interested to learn more about how the ecosystem has recovered in the park in the five years since the fire.

“I’m hoping Waterton uses this as an educational opportunity to inform the public about fires and regeneration and biodiversity and wildlife,” he said, noting there can be positive changes.

Marshall said Parks Canada has learned a lot and will continue to learn from the wildfire through various research projects.

“This has probably been an opportunity that we really haven’t seen in the past — and that’s just to see what the effects of a widespread fire, a fairly intense fire, has on a landscape and how the landscape itself recovers from it,” he said. “And also how that recovery may be affected by changes to the climate that we’ve seen in the last several decades.

“So, it’s a really good opportunity for science.”

The research, he said, could take decades to complete. He noted there’s already some visible changes in the forests.

“There has been a bit of a transformation,” he said. “A lot of the forests were predominantly conifers — pine, spruce, Douglas fir. In some places … we’re seeing more aspen trees, shrubs and in some places … because of a drier, warmer climate, we may see areas that were once forested will be open meadows now.

“There’s definitely a change in the landscape.”

The plan notes the fire also revealed more than 70 new archeological sites and expanded 170 known sites in the area that burned.

“It was a really good opportunity for some of that archeological work to be done,” Marshall said.

“We’ve been able to involve our nearby Indigenous communities, in particular members of the Blackfoot Confederacy — the Kainai and Piikani — in looking at that landscape and seeing it in the context of their traditional knowledge of the use of the place.”

Marshall said they continue to work with the communities to document the sites, which the plan suggests will be complete by 2025.

Overall, he said, the new management plan shows the agency’s ongoing commitment to protecting the park.

“It deals with the fire,” said Marshall, “but it also deals with our day-to-day operations related to visitation and how we manage the ecological and cultural integrity of the place.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary. Follow @cderworiz on Twitter.

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