Athletic hall of fame under consideration

Okotoks: Councillors inspired by Edmonton facility

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012 06:00 am

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An idea worthy of the hall of fame considersation came as result of two Okotoks town councillors visiting Edmonton city hall.

“(Coun.) Stephen Clark and I were in the Edmonton city hall and they have an Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame where they have pictures of athletes and a small explanation of how they were involved in sports,” said Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson. “Stephen and I both thought it would be a great idea for Okotoks. We have a lot of athletes who have come from here or live here.”

Clark brought up the topic at its Oct. 9 council meeting.

“It occurred to me we should have one in Okotoks and bring back the sports theme for Okotoks Sports Day,” Clark said. “It’s my hope that come next June we can have our inaugural inductees from Okotoks and district.”

The Okotoks Parade in mid-June used to officially be known as the Okotoks Sports Day parade. Many Okotokians, including Robertson, who has coached thousands of children as a phys ed teacher, still call it Okotoks Sports Day. However, over the years the parade has become known as the Spirit of Okotoks Parade.

Clark said if a hall of fame is made, there wouldn’t be a lack of candidates.

“We have had some great athletes who have come out of our area, whether they are CFL players, NHL players, Olympians,” Clark said. “In rodeo, there are Cody Snyder and Deb Renger. When you go to the Calgary Stampede it’s, ‘Deb Renger from Okotoks.’”

At this point, he said he doesn’t know how the inductees would be selected.

“I don’t know what the criteria would be,” Clark said. “There are so many deserving athletes, but what a inspiration to show what great athletes we have had come from this town.”

He said possibilities of where to establish a hall of fame would include the Okotoks Recreation Centre or possibly the new fieldhouse near Aldersyde when it is completed in the fall 2013.

Robertson said although the topic was brought up briefly in council, he has already had a number of residents tell him a hall of fame would be a great idea.

“I think the first thing we would like to do is start a committee,” Robertson said. However, he endorsed Clark’s idea with reviving the Sports Day theme by announcing the inductees on parade day.

“Anything is possible,” Robertson said when asked if the first inductees could be named at the parade in June of 2013.

Robertson gave a list of possible inductees, including Cowboy Bill Flett, who won a Stanley Cup in 1974 with the Broad Street Bullies, Philadelphia Flyers and Olympic curling bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink.

He also recommended some prominent families who have promoted sports in the community, including the Lomendas and the Wedderburns.

“There are a lot of possibilities,” he said.

Council wouldn’t have to look too far for a future inductee. However, one of them may have to refuse to vote due to conflict of interest.

Councillor Ray Watrin is a two-time Grey Cup champion with the Montreal Alouettes.


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