BOW VALLEY – The time to celebrate the people who bring greatness to Bow Valley sports and mountaineering is right around the corner.
After two years of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eight athletes, sports builders and pioneers will be inducted into the Bow Valley Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Thursday (Sept. 15) at the Banff Park Lodge, which includes a dinner and silent auction.
The hall of fame-worthy cast of 2022 includes Barry Blanchard, Rosanna Crawford, Brendan Green, Alex Kaleta, Graham MacDonald, Glen Sather, Chic Scott, and Paul Stutz.
"This is one of those events where it's all about the people who made the sports what they are," said Bob Ellard, Bow Valley Sports Hall of Fame’s Committee chairman. "We have a lot of great athletes, present and past, and certainly in the future as well, and there needs to be an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments of the athletes and the builders of the sport."
Tickets are selling quickly for the ceremony, which sees its funds go toward up to eight bursaries and a maximum of $1,000 into the Athlete and Coach Assistance Program, which anyone in Bow Valley can apply to.
Athletes being inducted this year are Olympic biathletes Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green, hockey player Alex Kaleta, famously known for his involvement in creating the "hat trick" phrase, for whenever one player scores three goals, and world cup alpine skier Paul Stutz.
"I'm so grateful to be recognized among the current inductees, but also to be recognized as one of those local athletes who have represented their community so proudly over the years," said Stutz.
The slalom specialist, who used to carve down Norquay as a Bow Valley Quikkie and Banff Alpine Racer, had his best result on the top circuit at the famed Kitzbühel run in Austria where he finished seventh in combined.
"Part of the reason I think we have such a fantastic group of athletes in the Bow Valley is the natural surroundings we have, and access to amenities," said Stutz. "I still feel the Bow Valley offers something nowhere else in the world can in terms of tremendous conditions, tremendous variety, but also a culture that really breeds excellence in sport and enjoyment for families."
For helping to build sports in the valley, Glen Sather and Graham MacDonald are being recognized for growing hockey in the Bow Valley and breaking down barriers, such as MacDonald did when creating the first female team in Banff.
Being in the unique and mountainous Bow Valley, the hall of fame is open to athletes and mountaineers who have grown sport and community such as legendary mountaineers, Chic Scott and Barry Blanchard, who are being inducted as sports pioneers for their role in mountain pursuits.