Two members of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 have close ties to the Cowichan Valley. Announced earlier this month, the 2017 inductees include rugby player Mark Wyatt and wheelchair athlete Michelle Stilwell.
Rugby player Mark Wyatt spent many years at Shawnigan Lake School as a rugby coach, teacher, deputy head and parent.
One of the best Canadian rugby players of all time, Wyatt played 29 games for the national team between 1982 and 1991, scoring 227 points on one try, 23 conversions, 55 penalty goals and five drop goals.
Wyatt represented Canada at the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cups. In 1990 he was promoted to captain of the team. He retired from competition after the 1991 World Cup, and was inducted into the B.C. Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007.
Stilwell, who was born in Winnipeg and calls Parksville home, won a gold medal for Canada in wheelchair basketball at the 2000 Paralympics, but had to give up that sport and switched to wheelchair athletics, getting her start by training at the Cowichan Sportsplex. Stilwell went on to compete in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, winning five more gold medals and one silver. Stilwell is now an MLA for the B.C. Liberal Party.
Other members of the Class of 2017 include Roland Green (cycling), Mark Recchi (ice hockey), Geroy Simon (football), Tim Frick (wheelchair basketball), Frank Smith (football), George and Dianne Tidball (equestrian), the 1969-70 UBC Thunderettes basketball team, Chang Keun Choi (taekwondo) and W.A.C. Bennett Award winner David Sidoo (football).