After years of planning and a long selection process, the Moose Jaw and District Sports Hall of Fame has its inaugural induction class.
The first ever class will be made up of five athletes – NHL great Clark Gillies, Olympic swimmer Mike Mintenko, mutli-sport athlete Lisa Franks, Olympic wrestler Justin Abdou and former Saskatchewan Roughrider Scott Schultz – as well as one team, the 1985 Hardy Cup champion Moose Jaw Generals.
“We're extremely pleased with the induction class that we got,” said Larry Graham, president of the MJDSHF. “The list of potential inductees and sports is very long, we're going to be at this for a long time.”
The induction dinner will take place on Nov. 6 at Mosaic Place with a number of the inductees expected to be on hand for the ceremony.
Members of the '85 Generals were at the announcement on Friday and Larry Sentes said it's an honour to be mentioned in the same company as the other inductees.
“It's almost surreal with the names that were mentioned today, it makes you wonder if we even belong,” said Sentes. “It's such a special time for us and I know all the guys really appreciate it.”
The Generals went into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame this summer and Sentes added that this will be a great cap to their 30th anniversary year.
“A guy doesn't realize how lucky you are to play on a team like that and there's been reflection this year from all the guys involved,” he said. “You thank the guys like a Kenny Silljer and Jim Hrycuik and all the businesses in Moose Jaw at that time for helping us out and putting together a team like that, it makes it so much more special to remember about it 30 years later.”
Gillies is no stranger to going into Hall of Fames, already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
He played 14 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres, winning four Stanley Cups with the Islanders. He also won the 1974 Memorial Cup with the Regina Pats.
Mintenko took part in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics and is also a Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame inductee. From 1999-2005, he never lost a 50-metre or 100m butterfly to another Canadian.
Franks starred at three Paralympic Games, winning gold in the wheelchair track 200m and 400m in 2000 and 2004. She also took gold in the 800m and 1,500m in 2000, while picking up silver in the 100m.
At one time, Franks held the world record in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon.
Abdou represented Canada at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, finishing in 11th place. He won 17 national wrestling titles, 26 international medals and gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
He has been inducted into the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame after winning the championship four times.
Schultz went into the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Plaza of Honor last weekend after playing eight seasons in green and white. He was the first overall pick in the 2001 CFL Draft by the Riders and played in 141 career games.
He finished his career sixth on the Riders' all-time sack list and was a key member of the 2007 Grey Cup championship team.
Graham added that they were very happy to have a number of different sports represented in the inaugural class.
“We're glad the way that it turned out,” he said. “Some names came to mind immediately, while other names you may not have thought of in years, but we're extremely pleased with the class, the representation of different age groups and sports.”
Tickets for the induction dinner are available now for $50 and you can get yours by heading to tickets.mosaicplace.ca until Oct. 31.