Wayne Dye

Wayne Dye

Sports legends named to hall

The Okanagan Hall of Fame will induct seven world-class athletes, one builder and one national championship team Nov. 23.

The Okanagan Hall of Fame will induct seven world-class athletes, one builder and one national championship team, in a luncheon Nov. 23 at the Schubert Centre.

Vern Dye, who helped found the Vernon Junior A hockey franchise and the B.C. Junior Hockey League, and his son, Wayne, named Vernon’s Athlete of the Century in 2000, will enter the shrine posthumously.

Major League baseball slugger Kevin Reimer, hockey star Larry Kwong, the first person of Chinese descent to play in the NHL, downhill skier Rob Boyd, rhythmic gymnast Camille Martens and swimming brothers Gary and Steven Vander Meulen will also be inducted.

The Vernon Lakers, who won back-to-back Centennial Cup Junior A hockey titles from 1989-91, will join the shrine.

Tickets to the luncheon are $25 and will be available next week at the Ticket Seller inside the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

The Hall of Fame, resurrected through the auspices of Greater Vernon Museum curator Ron Candy, last held an induction ceremony almost 20 years ago.

The original Hall of Fame was founded by Nick Alexis in 1982, opening at Jubilee (Cenotaph) Park. Vandalism to the shrine in 1997 forced former chairman Chris Nelson to pack up the contents and search for a safer site.

Directors Dennis Bristow (now retired from the committee) and Kevin Mitchell, with the help of their family members, and graphic artist Nancy Wilde, held nightly work bees for months and put up 15 attractive display cases at the Multiplex (now Wesbild Centre) in 2002.

Candy and staff will be updating the displays on an ongoing basis. The committee will ask new inductees to donate memorabilia.

“We’re seeking local sponsors to ensure the induction ceremony at least breaks even,” said Mitchell.

“We’re planning a professional slide show and we’re going to honour local members of the 1956 Allan Cup (senior hockey) championship Vernon Canadians by paying for their tickets.”

Chad Soon, a school teacher who recently spearheaded the North American premiere showing of The Lost Years, featuring a segment on Kwong, is doing most of the sponsorship work for the upcoming event.

Also new to the shrine committee, which also includes retired sports fan Stu Robertson, is Roger Knox of The Morning Star, a former Vernon radio sportscaster with a love of local sports history, and Donna Hall, a community volunteer.