With UFV Athletics’ newly announced hall of fame, the surprise might not be that there’s going to be one, but that it took this long.
“There are sports entities that are much, much younger than us that have told their story and told their history more than we have — the Canucks are only a few years older than this institution,” said Steve Tuckwood, the director of the athletics program.
“It’s more than 30 years old now,” he added. “It has some stories, it hasn’t done a good job of telling them, and I think it’s time that we begin to tell those stories.”
There are three categories that inductees to the hall can be recognized in: as an athlete, team, or builder, which Tuckwood described as “somebody who was really instrumental in the early days of the program.”
Aside from recognizing those involved with the history of the program, Tuckwood also noted that the hall will bring together former athletes and coaches, a site of reunion.
“People who were here 25 years ago played on a team, maybe won, maybe didn’t win, but had an experience that has shaped their life,” he said.
Those inducted into the hall of fame will be featured on the athletic program’s website and, although the exact location has not yet been determined, somewhere in the Envision Athletics Centre.
Tuckwood emphasizes the range of experiences the hall will be able to house: the first basketball team, playing out of a high school gym, the first soccer team that went to nationals, and so on.
“It was basically [a] ragtag group of guys who got together and called themselves the Cascades soccer team,” Tuckwood said. “A few years later they got better and better and actually went to a national final.”
Finding stories and memories isn’t always that easy, especially in a younger institution where preserving history can seem, to some, to not be of much importance.
“That’s the one thing that I think most schools our age are guilty of,” Tuckwood said, acknowledging that the success of the hall is dependent on community members putting forward their memories: as nominations, donations, or suggestions. “We’re hopeful that maybe there’s things that get dug up,” he added.
And while the hall will preserve the institution’s history, Tuckwood noted that it encourages current athletes as well.
“These are people who have walked in their shoes, they’ve played the same sport, they’ve played it at a high level, and now we’re recognizing them,” he said. “For some of our current athletes, this is something they can strive toward down the road.”
After nominations for the inaugural inductees close at the end of August, a committee will be formed to select the athletes who will be recognized at a game in January and at the year-end athletics banquet.