The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class of inductees on Thursday.
The local sports legends gathered to reminisce and reflect on how far the local sporting community has come.
Those being honoured include:
- Jolene Watson: Athlete – soccer
- 1983 Schwartz Angels: Team – slo-pitch
- Eunice David: Builder – figure skating
- Mary Dyck: Builder – soccer, volleyball, and wheelchair basketball
- Cliff Nelson: Builder – multi-sport
- Howard Rasmussen: Builder – volleyball
Bill Henderson, of the Schwartz Angels, said the recognition was a great opportunity to reconnect with old teammates.
“You grow up and you get married and you have kids and grand kids,” said Henderson, “and of course guys go in different directions and they carry on with their lives and their careers.”
“To have something like this pull us all back together, that’s pretty cool.”
The Schwartz Angels were a force on the Lethbridge slo-pitch circuit for a number of years before winning the Canadian Slo-Pitch Championship in Kentville, N.S. in 1983.
But Henderson said what was special about the group — which played baseball together in the summer and hockey in the winter — was the camaraderie.
“Back then there wasn’t a lot of distractions like there is nowadays. Really, all you had was cars and girls and sports,” he laughed.
“We gelled, we played a lot of hockey together, a lot of baseball together, but we were all friends.”
The Angels are the lone team to be inducted in the 2020 class, and its members will be joined by five individuals, including Eunice David. David has been one of the faces of figure skating in Lethbridge for nearly 50 years. She will join the hall in the builder category.
According to David, watching the growth of the sport in Lethbridge has been very rewarding.
David’s introduction to volunteering in the skating community came in the early 1970s when her children joined the Lethbridge Skating Club, but soon after she was elected to the club’s board of directors.
“Lethbridge now has two skating clubs,” she said. “When I first started out here, there was just the Lethbridge Skating Club, and now a second club — the Southern Alberta Skating Academy — has formed.”
The growth of sport in the community was also noted by Jolene Watson, selected for her notable soccer career.
“I just hope… especially for females, that I could be an inspiration for those young girls to come,” said Watson. “They have so much to look forward to.”
Watson’s prowess on the field took her to the University of Oklahoma. Playing at the NCAA Division I level, she graduated as the Big 12 Conference’s all-time leader in goals, points and shots.
But her road to the Hall of Fame wasn’t without its unique challenges.
“I think at one point I was hitchhiking home from Oklahoma,” she laughed, “but perseverance is what it takes, and grit.”
The 2020 class will be inducted on May 1 in the Enmax Centre. The theme of the induction banquet is “multi-sport hosting” in honour of this year’s Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge.