The best and brightest in Delta sport — both past, present and future — traded their athletic gear for formal wear over the weekend to celebrate the Delta Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2017.
“It’s amazing. It’s so fun to see old friends and old faces and have my family surround me and support me,” said 2017 inductee and former Team Canada softball player Sandy Beasley. “It’s a celebration of the past. I finished my career in 96’ after the Olympics.”
Friends, family, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and inductees gathered at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn on Saturday, Oct. 21 for the 13th annual gala recognizing individuals and teams who took their passion for sport to the next level.
“Seeing the progress of what’s happened in Delta over the last 13 years and honouring 170 athletes, you think you’re going to run out [of inductees],” said hall of fame committee chair Rick Lewall. “The inductees are really amazing in how much time they give.”
“I think it’s in their genetics and in their blood,” he added. “They just like it and they want to be involved.”
Every year more than a dozen athletes, coaches, volunteers and sponsors are honoured, both as “sports champions” (individuals or teams the nominating committee considered as having an outstanding year) and hall of fame inductees, and their names are inscribed on a glass monument outside Delta’s municipal hall.
“We’ve tried to be fairly diverse,” Lewall said. “It’s easy to focus in on soccer or baseball and some of the sports that are pretty visual. We’ve had some wheelchair athletes that we have honoured the last three or four years which we consider very important.”
Jim Matheson, 2017 volunteer of the year sports champion (soccer), was ecstatic and honoured to be chosen.
“It’s been a lot of work but it feels good to be recognized,” he said. “I’ve been volunteering for 35 years, it’s a close-knit community and I’ve made a lot of friends. Building a team and keeping a club going has been the most important part.”
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson was on hand to congratulate the winners.
“Delta is truly blessed to have so many athletes, coaches and builders within our community,” she said.
The awards dinner kicked off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a buffet dinner, awards ceremony, speeches and — most importantly — an opportunity to catch up with old friends.
“I am most proud to honour Delta citizens, it turns my crank,” Lewall said. “If I can do that and we can throw some sports involved in the middle there, it’s kind of the perfect circle for me.”