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UNBC T-Wolves hope Wall of Honour’s official enshrinement can beam community with pride

Athletics Director reminds Prince George of its role in program success

Not everyone has endured the experience of a student-athlete, but in some way, shape or form, Prince George has had an interaction or connection with one.

This rings true for the UNBC Timberwolves as there are many contributing factors to a person’s success on the playing surface, including classroom motivation, community involvement and local support (and this goes for both sides of the coin).

Case in point, 13 historic student-athletes, one builder and one team that paved the way for future generations for the inaugural Wall of Honour class have all now been officially enshrined at the Northern Sport Centre.

UNBC Athletics Director Loralyn Murdoch had the pleasure of calling every single inductee to alert them of the good news and thank them for creating a culture that inspired the community to be the best they could be.

Skills and records have a place on alumni walls, but she says it’s also because of their time spent volunteering that echoed something extra special.

“I think that the public can take a lot of pride in the inductees and recognize them for their contributions on the field of play, as Academic All-Canadian’s (those inductees have a special stamp on their poster), and for what they have done for the community,” Murdoch explains in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters.

“We hope that this wall inspires youth to dream big, and have aspirations to do whatever they want to do, [even] become a Timberwolf! We want the community to feel a sense of pride in knowing that they had a part in these student athletes' time and growth while they were in PG, and to appreciate how great it is to have a post-secondary institution in their backyard where dreams are made possible.”

To provide a brief breakdown, there are nine T-Wolves’ Wall of Honour inductees related to basketball, six with soccer; there are also four born-and-raised Prince George athletes. 

Like a snowflake, no two of the first 15 are the same as each provided a unique personality, likeness and perspective when wearing the green and gold.

Murdoch believes each athlete had one key attribute that earned their place on the wall: a ‘desire to become better.’

“They were passionate about their sport and took pride in making themselves and their teammates better. We have all TEAM sports at UNBC and through every phone calls inducting this group, there was a common theme: they all felt blessed, were humble and spoke of those that surrounded them during their time here. So much thanks to their amazing teammates, coaches and mentors.”

Seeing UNBC’s glory days and past stars now forever remembered brings feelings of thankfulness and joy for Murdoch and her staff.

In fact, a little extra emotion also reached the surface when she got to induct three former players from her time as head coach of the T-Wolves women’s basketball.

This includes Prince George’s own Mercedes VanKoughnett, Jaclyn Nazareno and Lindsay Anderson, all of who were part of B.C. conference championship-winning teams in either 2008 or 2012 under Murdoch’s leadership.

“I was blessed to coach some exceptional young ladies during my time as a head coach,” she adds.  

“They were not only great people, and students, but worked really hard to build the program and pave the way for the next athletes that came in. What is extra special is to see the people up there and know that who they are as people today is as great an accomplishment whether it be doctors, teachers, professional athletes, moms; amazing people and so blessed to have had them a part of my life.”

Moving forward, the UNBC Wall of Honour will grow and add more athletes that have shown charisma, dedication and heart for the Timberwolf logo.

PrinceGeorgeMatters is told the plan is to induct smaller classes, likely three each year starting in 2022.

And though UNBC is considered a small university, dozens of candidates are undoubtedly on the table to have their poster erected on the wall very soon.

Murdoch feels lucky to have built friendships with alumni and has witnessed many of their accolades, but calls the Wall of Honour’s completion one of the best days of her career.

“We may still be considered a young program, but we have been fortunate to have had so many amazing student-athletes and a lot of success on the playing fields,” she said. 

“The time had come to recognize them and take a trip down memory lane. It was really fun to relive many of the memories and the most fun to call them and re-connect.”

The physical wall can be found inside the Northern Sport Centre beyond the registration desk and around the corner near the main gym windows.

An online version is also available, complete with athlete profiles and an induction biography.

The complete 2021 class is as follows (in order of announcements):

  • Inderbir Gill (men’s basketball)
  • Tofa Fakunle (men’s soccer)
  • Mercedes VanKoughnett (women’s basketball)
  • Sidney Roy (women’s soccer)
  • Jay Gladish (men’s basketball)
  • Jaclyn Nazareno (women’s basketball)
  • Scott Debianchi (men’s soccer)
  • 2010 Men’s Basketball Team (UNBC Athletics)
  • Vasiliki Louka (women's basketball)
  • Zane Robison (UNBC Athletics)
  • Franco Kouagnia (men's basketball)
  • Madison Emmond (women's soccer)
  • Lindsay Anderson (women's basketball)
  • Gordon Hall (men’s soccer)
  • Dennis Stark (men's basketball)