Six individuals well-known for their athletic contributions, including one posthumously, and one team were inducted into the North Cowichan-Duncan Sports Wall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday night at the Cowichan Golf & Country Club.
The Class of 2022 includes: Sheron Chrysler for her role in athletics; fastball player and golfer Garrett Elliott, softball coach Stan McKinlay, baseball umpire Roy Price, Dano Thorne for soccer, Ken Williams posthumously for soccer and the 1987 Stuart Channel Little League baseball team.
It’s been three long years since the last induction in 2019 due to COVID and the selection committee expanded the number of additions to the Sports Wall of Fame from five to seven to make up for lost time.
“As the selection committee chair, I continue to be impressed by the depth,” said North Cowichan Councillor Tek Manhas of the new additions.
Manhas also credited Ernie Mansueti for making the Sports Wall of Fame a reality that began with the first induction ceremony of 10 well-known sports personalities in 2008.
“Without Ernie’s vision and forward thinking, I don’t think we would all be here tonight,” Manhas said.
The inductees are now honoured both inside and outside the Cowichan Aquatic Centre. There are plaques and an interactive display inside and a new Walk of Fame with names on paver stones outside.
“I encourage each of you to stop by the Cowichan Aquatic Centre to see this new way we are honouring the inductees,” said Manhas.
Chrysler’s name has been synonymous with everything pertaining to running and the Ceevacs Running Club for as long as anyone can remember. She’s been a competitor, coach, mentor, event organizer and so much more to the club.
“I started running quite young,” she said. “I developed a huge passion for it and I carried my passion into my coaching.”
One of Chrysler’s proudest accomplishments has been the famed Ceevacs running and walking clinics that have taken place for more than three decades.
“We’ve donated over $140,000 to the Cowichan Sportsplex which we all use,” she enthused.
Chrysler has developed long-lasting friendships with so many people over the years from the running club. “They are amazing,” she said. “They really should be here with me.”
Elliott is an all-around sportsman best known for his years with the Victoria Payless and B.C. Arrows fastball teams.
“The game of fastball has been instrumental in who I am and who I’ve become,” he said. “I took a lot of pride with both teams.”
It was not always easy for Elliott to play sports in his early years and he credits his parents for providing so many opportunities.
“The financial piece about it can be very challenging,” he conceded. “I was very privileged, but I didn’t realize the struggles they went through.”
Elliott also overcame some personal issues in his life, but is very proud of his family and the things he achieved through sports. “I’m very humbled by this recognition,” he said.
McKinlay started out coaching boys’ softball, but eventually switched to the girls’ game for a very good reason.
“Girls are easier to coach and actually want to learn more,” he explained with a grin.
The boys usually have their own ideas about what should be done and it doesn’t always coincide with the coach’s thoughts.
When McKinlay first started to work with girls and a Duncan team made the World Series in Kalamazoo, Michigan, “I was hooked,” he said.
For more than 25 years, McKinlay has given unselfishly of his time and helped countless girls from the grassroots level to top calibre players to reach their potential or realize their dreams.
Thorne has been Mr. Everything in soccer in terms of his commitment to the game.
“I wanted to thank my elders, my family, my colleagues at Cowichan Tribes and to recognize the greater Cowichan region,” he said. “I’m very honoured to have received this nomination to the Wall of Fame.”
Thorne was also inducted into the BC Soccer Hall of Fame last year and the North American Indigenous Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 after the Indigenous Team Canada women he coached won the first World Indigenous Games soccer championship in Brazil. He has won numerous coaching awards.
I will continue to be humble and walk with integrity as a coach,” Thorne said.
“It’s always good to come here. These are the things – family, community and friendships, the value of life – that keeps me going in everything I do in my life.”
Williams played for the famed Cowichan Native Sons soccer team previously inducted into the Sports Wall of Fame.
He was also part of the starting lineup in 1951 for the Victoria all-stars soccer team in a historic 1-0 win over English First Division team Fulham that was a first for a Canadian team.
Williams was a role model for young Indigenous soccer players in the Cowichan Valley that he carried with pride until his death a couple of years ago.
“On behalf of the family, we are thrilled he is getting the recognition he truly deserves,” said Steve Johnny.
Ken’s son Al accepted his award. “Thank you, my dad would love it,” he said.
Roy Price was a longtime umpire in Chemainus who dedicated himself to the betterment of baseball in the community. And the Stuart Channel Little League baseball team made the Canadian championship final in 1987 before falling one game short of making the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.