Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is preparing to induct its newest members and the individuals chosen in this round have contributed to progress and social change in sport.
“When we present the Order of Sport to the 11 new members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, it will be the first time that we formally recognize the whole of their championship journeys—from ‘great’ in sport to doing ‘good’ for Canada,” Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame president and CEO Cheryl Bernard explained in a news release. “All have chosen ‘good’ as their next podium to advocate for and to build sport, beyond the win, and for more than just themselves. The Order of Sport is our way to say thank you to our champions for sharing their journeys with us and reminds us all to strive for respect, equality, fairness, openness, and excellence in all that we do.”
Among the 11 recipients of the 65th Order of Sport Award are celebrated names from British Columbia.
One of them is South African–born, Victoria-raised basketball star Steve Nash, whose career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) spanned 19 years and is ranked as one of the top players in NBA history. In 2005, he became the first Canadian to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and, the following year, became one of 12 NBA players to win consecutive MVP awards. Nash, whois the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, became the first NBA player to carry the Olympic torch and light the Olympic cauldron at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He has also contributed to numerous philanthropic causes, including launching the Steve Nash Foundation in 2001 to help children in need and sponsoring the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in B.C.
Another recipient from B.C. is North Vancouver–born, Vernon-based Sonja Gaudet, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a horseback riding accident when she was 31. Unstoppable, she went on to take up wheelchair curling and won three Paralympic Gold medals in 2006, 2010 (in Vancouver), and 2014, and three World Wheelchair Curling Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013. In 2013, she became the first wheelchair curler inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame and was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. She is a Canadian Paralympic Committee alumni ambassador, a Spinal Cord Injury B.C. peer support specialist, and a Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association accessibility specialist.
Other inductees include the late Ross Powless from the Mohawk Nation, known as the father of modern lacrosse in Canada; former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who has been a leading advocate for sexual abuse victims and ensuring child safety; Fredericton–raised Willie O’Ree, who became the first black hockey player in the NHL in 1958; and Halifax powerlifter John “Jackie” Barrett, who is the first Special Olympian to be inducted.
The full list of 2020-21 inductees includes:
- powerlifting and Special Olympics athlete John "Jackie" Barrett;
- wheelchair curling athlete Sonja Gaudet;
- athlete Diane Jones Konihowski;
- golfer Lorie Kane;
- equestrian team Eric Lamaze and Hickstead;
- basketball player Steve Nash;
- wheelchair rugby player Duncan Campbell;
- ice hockey player Sheldon Kennedy;
- sports administrator Judy Kent;
- ice hockey player Willie O'Ree;
- lacrosse player Ross Powless.
The 65th Order of Sport Awards, hosted by Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, will be streamed live at 4:30 p.m. on October 3 at the awards website.