It was a long overdue night in more ways than one as four individuals and one team were inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame.
Following a hiatus last year and a hybrid event the year before due to pandemic-related restrictions, the Kamloops Sports Council (KSC) handed out its annual athletics awards in conjunction with the hall of fame ceremony during an in-person gala on Saturday at Thompson Rivers University.
The Team Brown rink that won the women's national junior curling championship in 2013 entered the hall of fame, along with individuals Jack Isenor, the first elementary school teacher/coach to be inducted, multi-sport athlete Rob Kuroyama, longtime soccer coach Eric Schweizer and Sun Peaks skiing sensation Elli Terwiel.
Each hall of famer addressed the crowd of about 200 and received a standing ovation.
Isenor, inducted on the back of his work at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), where he toiled for 38 years and impacted generations of student-athletes, said he wanted to coach at the grassroots level, where he felt he could help students develop skills and passion for sports.
“It was my second home,” he said.
Kuroyama, known for his fastball and baseball prowess, along with his curling ability — he threw third rocks for the Barry McPhee rink that won provincial championships in 1981 and 1986 — noted the support of family and friends over the years.
“Gone are the competitive days, but I do appreciate sports has allowed me to meet and make more friends,” he said.
Schweizer has a stacked soccer coaching resume, leading community teams to four provincial titles and six Okanagan championships. He also coached two high school squads to B.C. championships and led college teams to three provincial titles and one national championship.
“It was exciting and it was nice to have the people, the players, the parents to help along to get me where I got to go,” he said.
Terwiel of the Sun Peaks Alpine Club represented the University of Vermont in the NCAA ranks and Canada in international skiing action, her career culminating in participation in slalom events at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The 33-year-old quipped she may be “20 years too early” to be inducted into the hall of fame and thanked her family and community of Kamloops for helping her to this point.
“I currently don’t live here, but it’s such an honour to come home and be able to do these events,” she said, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from growing up here it’s that community support, facility support and having great coaches is the thing that makes the difference to somebody being able to go to the Olympics.”
Skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Samantha Fisher and lead Sydney Fraser represented Canada at the 2013 world junior curling championships in Sochi, Russia. The team was coached by Ken Brown and Brian Fisher.
Fisher said she can't believe the championship win was nearly 10 years ago and noted she is grateful to have had that “amazing journey” over the 10-plus years they played together.
AWARDS HAT-TRICK FOR BLAZERS
The Kamloops Blazers took home three KSC athletics awards.
Blazers’ forward Logan Stankoven took home the PacificSport Interior B.C. International Excellence Award, head coach Shaun Clouston won the Stag’s Head Liquor Store Coach of the Year Award and the team itself won the Kamloops Blazers Sports Society Team of the Year award.
Jan Antons claimed the Nutech Fire Protection and Safety Services Sports Person of the Year Award for his work as the co-general manager for the under-15 Thompson Blazers and Kamloops Broncos, as well as his work with the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament.
The Kamloops Minor Baseball Association Male Athlete of the Year Award went to Greg Stewart, who won gold in shot put at the postponed 2020 Paralympic Summer Games last summer in Tokyo.
Kamloops mountain biker Catharine Pendrel, who placed 18th at the postponed Olympic Summer Games last summer in Tokyo, snared the LN Group Female Athlete of the Year Award and swimmer Sarah Koopmans won the TRU Athletics University Award.
The Award of Excellence went to Kamloops’ Matt Berger, who made history when he qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the Games’ first-ever skateboarding competition.
Meanwhile, the President’s Award went to Justin Bosher, a longtime fixture on the lacrosse scene and bus driver for the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers who died in a motorcycle accident last year.
Accepting the award on Bosher’s behalf was his wife, Joanne, and one of his son’s, Jeremy.
Joanne said her husband’s passion to grow the game was evident and while he often coached at A1 levels, he loved coaching tykes and peewees.
“He’d come home beaming from their excitement when they caught the ball for the very first time,” she said. “He could bring a team together and make them excel because he saw what every player had in them, even when that player didn’t see that yet.”