The Okanagan Sun honored a rich tradition of junior football excellence on Wednesday night by inducting their first Hall of Fame class.
Five players, two builders and a volunteer were called to the hall as the inaugural Class of 2019:
- Barry Urness (builder)
- Terry Britton (volunteer)
- Greg Hewko (player)
- Jay Christensen (player)
- Terrance Huston (player)
- Chad Folk (player)
- Jeff Halvorson (player)
- Bob Harrison (builder)
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Kelowna’s very own hometown football hero, Jay Christensen, was front and center as one of the first to be inducted in the player category.
“I’d like to say how honored I am to be in this first class,” Christensen said from the podium as he received his award.
Every year, from 1982 to 1985, Christensen was the Sun’s leading receiver.
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Christensen then went on to star in the Canadian Football League for a decade, where he played for Edmonton, Calgary, B.C., and finally in Ottawa.
“The group of guys being inducted with me, were very inspiring when I started,” said Christensen.
Not long after retiring from the CFL, Christensen came home to Kelowna and has since been involved at almost every level with the Sun, including a seven-year stint as head coach.
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Another Kelowna kid who went on to Grey Cup glory after starring for the Sun was Chad Folk, who was also inducted as a player.
Folk expressed fond memories of his time with the Sun.
“Looking back over my 23 years in football, I can honestly say that the four years I spent with the Sun are some of my favourite memories that I have had,” Folk said in a video-taped address.
Jeff Halvorson a star running back for the Sun who collapsed and died while watching his team practice in 2004, also received the call to the hall.
“It’s truly a great honor and he enjoyed every moment playing with the Sun,” said Wendy Halvorson, Jeff’s mother.
Terrance Huston and Greg Hewko rounded out the player inductee category.
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As one of the founders of the Okanagan Sun, Barry Urness was inducted in the hall of fame in the builder category, posthumously.
When it came to starting a junior football team in Kelowna, “Barry left no leaf unturned,” said his wife, Betty Urness.
Bob Harrison was also recognized posthumously as being instrumental in the founding of the Okanagan Sun.
Finally, Terry Britton was honored for his 39 years of dedicated volunteering with the Sun organization.
“You don’t really do it because of the accolades or to get into the hall of fame, you do it because you love it,” said Britton.
The Okanagan Sun’s 2019 regular season starts Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna, when they host the Kamloops Broncos.