Hall of Fame back in action
It’s been 20 years since the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame has inducted any athletes or builders.
The revamped shrine, now under the guidance of Greater Vernon Museum director/curator Ron Candy, plans a November luncheon to add one team, one builder and five athletes to the mix.
Candy agreed to take over the society a few months ago.
“It was a gradual process,” he said. “A few directors moved or retired and it became a struggle. This way, there are paid staff, we’re established and we can keep things running. It’s more efficient.”
New director Chad Soon, an elementary school teacher, is spearheading the shrine’s fundraiser. The new epic CBC documentary film Lost Years, featuring Larry Kwong, will receive its world theatrical premiere at the Vernon Towne Cinema on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
There will be two screenings – 5:45 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $7, with all profits going to the new Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and the Vernon & District Heritage Fair. Ticket outlets, starting Sept. 7, will be the museum, Towne Theatre and the Bean Scene.
“Larry will be in attendance and hopefully we can have a Q&A and autograph session after the film,” said Soon. “Larry’s story is 11 minutes.”
The film chronicles the struggle for justice by Chinese Canadians, based on 12 years of research by co-producers Kenda Gee and Tom Radford.
Kwong, who was born on June 17, 1923, in Vernon, was the first Chinese Canadian to play in the NHL. He was also the first NHL player from Vernon and the Okanagan region.
Soon, who had his Grade 5 class at Silver Star School do a project on Kwong last year, donated to the Hall of Fame a rare 1951-52 hockey card depicting Kwong when he played for the Valleyfield Braves of the Quebec Senior Hockey League.
The original Hall of Fame was founded by Nick Alexis in 1982, opening at Jubilee (Cenotaph) Park. Vandalism to the shrine in 1997 forced former chairman Chris Nelson to pack up the contents and search for a safer site.
Directors Dennis Bristow and Kevin Mitchell, with the help of their family members, and graphic artist Nancy Wilde, held nightly work bees for months and put up 15 attractive display cases at the Multiplex (now Wesbild Centre) in 2002.
Candy and staff will be updating the displays on an ongoing basis. The committee will ask new inductees to donate memorabilia.
Also new to the shrine committee, which also includes retired sports fan Stu Robertson, is Roger Knox of The Morning Star, a former Vernon radio sportscaster with a love of local sports history.