Sports hall adding to membership

Hucul, Williams, Martinson to be inducted March 30

Race car driver Cliff Hucul, wheelchair basketball player Elisha Williams and Prince George Track and Field Club coach/president Brian Martinson are the latest inductees into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.

They will be the featured guests at the hall's induction ceremony on Saturday, March 30 at the Hart Community Centre.

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Hucul is the most prominent stock car driver ever to go beyond the Prince George Auto Racing Association. In three consecutive years from 1977-79, Hucul qualified for and raced in the granddaddy of all auto races - the Indianapolis 500 - giving worldwide recognition to his Prince George hometown.

Williams, a star athlete at Duchess Park Secondary School, who won back-to-back provincial double-A championships with the Condorettes in 1995 and 1996, then took up wheelchair basketball after a knee injury cut short her college career as an able-bodied athlete. She joined the national wheelchair basketball team in 2007 and went on to play in several high-profile international events, including the Para Pan American Games in 2007 and 2011, the 2010 world championship (in which she won bronze) and the 2012 Paralympics.

Martinson retired last year as president of the track club after decades of involvement in the club as a coach and administrator. His tireless efforts as a volunteer coach led to national success for the likes of club athletes Josh Guggenheimer, Alyx Treasure and his son, Geoff Martinson. Brian Martinson succeeded Tom Masich as club president.

Starting with the first class in 1997, there are now 78 inductees in the PGSHOF. Displays of the inductees are in four city locations - Kin Centre Atrium, Northern Sport Centre at UNBC, Prince George Aquatic Centre and The Exploration Place museum.

To be considered for induction, a member of the community or sports group must submit a nomination form which outlines the history of the nominee, their background and their achievements. Letters of recommendation can be included with the nomination.

Athlete or team nominees must have achieved excellence while representing the city in one of the approved sports in a senior or national or international competition. It's also a requirement that the person was born, attended school, or lived in Prince George a minimum of eight years. The athlete has to be retired from competition in his or her chosen sport.

The same criteria applies to a professional athlete. The waiting period is waived if the athlete wins an Olympic or world championship gold medal.

Team induction is based on the accomplishments of one particular year or season.

A coach/builder/administrator must have lived in the community for a minimum of 10 years and have coached and promoted any of the approved sports for at least 10 years. The 10-year minimum also applies to the officials category. Priority consideration will be granted to an official who has demonstrated years of instructing other game officials.

"We've been inducting since 1997 and the criteria is very specific," said PGSHOF board member Kathy Mears. "They have to be finished competing. We know that Alyx Treasure, Sarah Beaudry, Megan Tandy and Brett Connolly will all end up in the hall but right now they're too young.

"We're in that limbo period of time where we've probably oversaturated our old people and now we have to wait for our young people to get there. We know there are individuals out there worthy of consideration but if someone doesn't take the time and put the information together, they can't expect the committee to do that. That's not our function."

Mears says nobody has ever nominated hockey player Greg Polis, who died last March. The former NHL forward played 10 NHL seasons in the 1970s while he made his off-season home in Prince George.

Other potential candidates who have not been nominated and meet the criteria include fastball player Chad Ghostkeeper, curler/coach Joe Rea, hockey goalie Daryl Reaugh, track and field coach Wayne Phipps and hockey administrator Neil Fowlie.

The 12th PGSHOF banquet will also feature the Youth Excellence Awards. Six male and six female athletes will be selected based on their achievements since the most recent induction ceremony in 2016. The list of the nominees will be released Jan. 22.

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