February 1, 2020

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMELY INDUCTIONS

Induction into a hall of fame is the ultimate recognition of outstanding & indelible contributions. It shouldn't be a posthumous honour.

Last month, the first head coach to guide a team to a CCAA National Championship in any sport left this world at the age of 96 on January 12th. The coach of the 1974-75 Camrose Lutheran College Vikings, Joe Voytechek guided the team to two first place regular season finishes and one conference title. Less than three years ago in the spring of 2017, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference inducted the Camrose Lions Sports Hall of Fame member into the ACAC Hall of Fame. Though Voytechek did not travel to Calgary for the induction ceremony, he took center stage at an athletic department event in the community he called home for a half century to say a few words.

It was not the first time the head coach of CCAA National Hockey Champion had the opportunity to appreciate entry into a hall of fame in a timely manner. Neither the CCAA Hall of Fame or the ACAC Hall of Fame existed in 2013 when the 1980-81 SAIT Trojans entered the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame.  Head coach Bob Moore attended the induction ceremony less than two months before passing at the age of 80 on August 11th, 2013.

Like the majority of the living hockey head coaches eligible for the CCAA Hall of Fame, some athletes eligible for the CCAA Hall of Fame are over 65. Of the 19 athletes in the CCAA Hall of Fame, only three participated in the first decade. With each conference having preference for induction once every five years, it is opportune to place an emphasis on the entry of worthy individuals from the first decade so they can savour the moment.

Of the living hockey coaches eligible for induction into the CCAA Hall of Fame, the most senior is Gerry Serviss. The 82 year old from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan became the third of five post secondary varsity head coaches on the continent to guide a men's hockey team to a national title by winning all their regular season and post season games. The 1975-76 St. Clair College Saints won 26 contests en route to raising the CCAA National Hockey Championship banner.  In 2021, the OCAA will host the CCAA Hall of Fame induction ceremony – 45 years after the iconic season.

While the CCAA Hall of Fame has held annual induction ceremonies, there are provincial governing bodies and athletic departments that are not inducting new members on a regular basis.  An ACAC staff member indicated that inductions would be held biennially from 2017 onward. It has not happened. The post secondary institution that captured the most CCAA National Hockey Championships, NAIT, has not inducted anyone into the NAIT Athletics Wall of Fame since 2007.  If a governing body or an athletic department is serious about paying tribute to its rich heritage, it would honour individuals/teams regularly in a hall/wall of fame.


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