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Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame – (Victoria, BC – May 29, 2019) The Board of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the names of the athletes, officials and builders who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. The 2019 inductees will be honored at the annual Induction Ceremony and Dinner scheduled for Saturday, October 26 at the Westin Bear Mountain.

Three athletes will be inducted – Ryan Cochrane (Swimming), Mike Piechnick (Fastball), and Rob Short (Field Hockey).

Cochrane is Canada’s most decorated swimmer achieving eight FINA World Championship titles, two Olympic medals – silver and bronze – as well as three gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships. Piechnick pitched his way to 10 Provincial Championships, four Canadian Championships, two U.S National Men’s Championships, and two winning Pan Am gold medals. Short played for Canada at two Olympic Games, two World Cups, four Commonwealth Games and five Pan American Games before becoming a successful coach and founding the Rob Short Coaching Academy.

In addition Susan Morriss will be honoured in the officials category for her services to Figure Skating, Wynn Gmitroski in the coaching category for athletics, and Stacie Louttit and John McRoberts in the teams category for sailing.

Morriss has been a figure skating official for 50 years and is internationally certified in all four skating disciplines – singles, pairs, dance and synchronized skating. Gmitroski has coached some of Canada’s top middle distance and distance runners for 33 years bringing home many Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship titles. Louttit and McRoberts competed in two Paralympic Games, winning a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008.

The builders category will be represented by the Victoria Motorcycle Club. One of the oldest continuous motorized sporting clubs in Canada, the VMC has been active for over 110 years, producing many champion riders from Canadian scrambles champion in the 1950s to International Six Day Trials medalists in the 70s and multiple national champions in the early 2000s. 

The Sid Thomas Media Award will be presented this year to Alex Robertson for his services to television. Robertson was CHEK-TV Sports Director from 1974 through 2003 producing over 14,000 stories, almost all featuring local athletes, coaches and teams, although he also interviewed international athletes such as Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretzky and a young Tiger Woods.

“The selection process was particularly difficult this year, as there are so many outstanding people in the Victoria sports community,” said Lois Smith, chair of the Induction Nominations Committee. “I commend the committee members for their hard work and diligence in producing such a stellar slate.”

 

Tickets for the October 26 Induction dinner are now on sale at $135 per person. More information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.gvshof.ca/

 

-30-

For more information contact:

Louise Hodgson-Jones
250-812-2518
corsa.communications@shaw.ca

 

About the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHoF)

The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrate the outstanding performances and contributions of athletes, builders, officials and teams from Greater Victoria, who have brought distinction to themselves, their sport, community and country. Established in 1991, artifacts and displays of over 200 athletes, teams and builders can be seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and in the Westin at Bear Mountain. Annual activities that the GVSHoF are involved in include the Family Sport & Recreation Festival at PISE, the Bate Family Scholarship at UVic, the Vikes Breakfast and the annual Induction ceremony in October. www.gvshof.ca

 

 

2019 GVSHoF Inductee Bios

ATHLETES:

Ryan Cochrane – Swimming

After making his senior international debut in 2006, Ryan Cochrane went on to become Canada’s most decorated swimmer ever. As a 19-year-old Olympic rookie at Beijing 2008, he briefly held the Olympic record in the 1500m freestyle before going on to win bronze, Canada’s first Olympic swimming medal since Sydney 2000. It was also Canada’s first Olympic medal in the 1500m freestyle in 88 years. He added a silver medal in that same event at London 2012 where he missed the 400m freestyle final by just one-hundredth (0.01) of a second. In his third Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 he was once again a finalist in the 1500m freestyle. Cochrane’s eight medals at the FINA World Championships are the most ever by a Canadian swimmer. He was just the second person (after Australian legend Grant Hackett) to reach the podium in the 800m and 1500m freestyle events at three straight worlds, winning a total of four silver and two bronze from 2009 to 2013. He won his first world medal in the 400m freestyle in 2015, taking bronze in that and the 1500m freestyle, which followed his double gold performance at his first Pan Am Games. Those achievements are all the more impressive having come during a difficult year after the death of long-time coach Randy Bennett in April. Cochrane capped his Commonwealth Games career in 2014 by successfully defending his 400m and 1500m freestyle titles. He is a six-time medallist at the Pan Pacific Championships, including three gold. Cochrane was named Canadian Male Swimmer of the Year eight straight times from 2008 to 2015.

Mike Piechnik – Fastball

(Pronunciation guide:  pee-EHK-nihk)

One of the top left-handed pitchers in the world during his career, Mike pitched his way to 10 Provincial Championships, four Canadian Championships (1991, ’92, ’97, 2001), two U.S. National Men’s Championships (1993, ’96), and North American Challenge Cup gold (1991) and silver ( 1992 when he was selected Most Valuable Pitcher and Most Valuable Player, and 1993). From 1987 through 1999, he was a valued member of the Canadian Men’s Program, winning two Pan American gold medals (1995, ’99) and International Softball Federation (ISF) gold (1992 and silver (1993). He has pitched back-to-back perfect games, holds the record for most strikeouts in a U.S. National Championships with 140 in seven games, pitched a perfect ERA of 0.00 and, in one 20-inning marathon game, struck out 46 batters en-route to winning a 1-0 pitching duel.  He was inducted into the U.S. Fastball Hall of Fame in 2009 and the ISF Hall of Fame in 2014.

Rob Short – Field Hockey

As a 19-year member of the Men’s National Team from 1994 to 2013, Rob had 364 international caps and played for Canada at two Olympic Games, two World Cups, four Commonwealth Games and five Pan American Games. He captained the national team from 2001 through 2008, leading them in Beijing in 2008, Melbourne in 2006 and to Pan American Gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. He played professional hockey in the Netherlands for 14 years, earned his master’s degree in International Coaching in Amsterdam and subsequently founded the Rob Short Coaching Academy – a high performance program for young athletes. In 2018, he returned to the Canadian national team as an Assistant Coach.

 

COACHES  & OFFICIALS

Susan Morriss – Official – Figure Skating

Susan began judging figure skating in 1972 at age 16 while still competing at junior national level in ice dancing. In the almost 50 years since, she has been certified in all four disciplines: singles, pairs, dance and synchronized skating (most judges concentrate on two or at most three disciplines), achieving international certification in all four categories. In addition to her training as a judge, she has also trained as a Referee and Technical Controller. She has travelled the country representing BC Section and all over the world on behalf of Skate Canada. She has officiated at dozens of ISU championships and invitationals in Europe, Asia and the USA, and at countless local, provincial and national competitions. As well, she served for many years on both national and provincial Judges Committees and mentored developing judges through seminars and evaluations. Susan has also acted at Canadian team manager to Worlds and on national event organizing committees. Her service has been recognized with numerous awards, including the May 2006 Skate Canada BC/YK Section Coaches Choice Award and the June 2010 Skate Canada National Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award.

 

Wynn Gmitroski – Coach – Athletics

(Pronunciation guide: gihm-ih-TRAW-skee)

Wynn’s 33 years of coaching Canadian middle distance and distance runners has taken him to five Olympic Games, 12 World Championships, five Commonwealth Games and many other international competitions including the World Indoor Championships and the Jeux de la francophonie. He was the lead coach for the National Athletics Centre for middle distance running and was also a master course conductor at the National Coaching Institute. Wynn’s coaching achievements have been recognized with many awards including the 2007 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award

 

 

 

TEAM

 

Stacie Louttit & John McRoberts – Sailing

 

Stacie made history at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games when racing the two-person keelboat with John McRoberts to a bronze finish, she became the first Canadian woman sailor to medal at an Olympic or Paralympic Games. She was named the Canadian Yachting Association’s 2008 Female Athlete of the Year and received the Gruson/Milam Sailing Performance Trophy in recognition of outstanding female sailors. She and John qualified for London 2012, where they won silver in the SKUD 18 Open Class in the Paralympic Test Regatta, and placed 4th at the Paralympics. For John, it was his third Paralympics. He won gold in Atlanta in the 1996 Paralympics in Men’s Crewboat and has also medalled in the 2.4mR, Sonar and Hobie Trapseat classes. Both learned to sail prior to the accidents that changed their lives and both returned to sailing after moving to Victoria, meeting at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to form their formidable team.

 

 

 

BUILDERS

Victoria Motorcycle Club – Motorcycling

One of the oldest continuous motorized sporting clubs in Canada, the VMC has been active for over 110 years and continues to grow as it promotes safe, enjoyable, challenging motorcycling for beginners, families, novices and experts alike on its 172-acre property in Metchosin.  Over the years, the club has sponsored many events and activities, such as a drill team, stunt riding, rodeos, trials, scrambles, hill climbs, enduros, field meets and road rides, and has been a consistent crowd favourite at events such as the Victoria Day Parade. As well the club has produced many champion riders from Canadian scrambles champion in the 1950s to International Six Day Trials medalists in the 70s and multiple national champions in the early 2000s. Club members have been top racers in the Pacific Northwest in flat track, road and vintage scrambles and continue to do well at all levels from local to international. The VMC was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycling Hall of Fame in 2010.

 

 

 

SID THOMAS MEDIA AWARD

Alex Robertson – Television

Alex was CHEK-TV Sports Director from 1974 through 2003. Although he interviewed such luminaries as Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretzky and a young Tiger Woods, his focus was always the local sports scene. He produced over 14,000 stories, almost all featuring local athletes, coaches and teams. He was the top TV host on the Island and covered sports that did not normally receive notice. His excellent coverage helped inspire young athletes and provided a catalyst to many individuals and teams as the publicity he provided helped spur even greater performances. Alex co-hosted numerous BC Summer and Winter Games and helped launch the careers of many prominent sports broadcasters. To this day, some of his closest friends are still fellow colleagues, athletes and coaches who all have stories about how Alex supported and impacted them over 30 years.

 

 

 

 

 –

(Victoria, BC – May 29, 2019) The Board of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the names of the athletes, officials and builders who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. The 2019 inductees will be honored at the annual Induction Ceremony and Dinner scheduled for Saturday, October 26 at the Westin Bear Mountain.

Three athletes will be inducted – Ryan Cochrane (Swimming), Mike Piechnick (Fastball), and Rob Short (Field Hockey).

Cochrane is Canada’s most decorated swimmer achieving eight FINA World Championship titles, two Olympic medals – silver and bronze – as well as three gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships. Piechnick pitched his way to 10 Provincial Championships, four Canadian Championships, two U.S National Men’s Championships, and two winning Pan Am gold medals. Short played for Canada at two Olympic Games, two World Cups, four Commonwealth Games and five Pan American Games before becoming a successful coach and founding the Rob Short Coaching Academy.

In addition Susan Morriss will be honoured in the officials category for her services to Figure Skating, Wynn Gmitroski in the coaching category for athletics, and Stacie Louttit and John McRoberts in the teams category for sailing.

Morriss has been a figure skating official for 50 years and is internationally certified in all four skating disciplines – singles, pairs, dance and synchronized skating. Gmitroski has coached some of Canada’s top middle distance and distance runners for 33 years bringing home many Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship titles. Louttit and McRoberts competed in two Paralympic Games, winning a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008.

The builders category will be represented by the Victoria Motorcycle Club. One of the oldest continuous motorized sporting clubs in Canada, the VMC has been active for over 110 years, producing many champion riders from Canadian scrambles champion in the 1950s to International Six Day Trials medalists in the 70s and multiple national champions in the early 2000s. 

The Sid Thomas Media Award will be presented this year to Alex Robertson for his services to television. Robertson was CHEK-TV Sports Director from 1974 through 2003 producing over 14,000 stories, almost all featuring local athletes, coaches and teams, although he also interviewed international athletes such as Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretzky and a young Tiger Woods.

“The selection process was particularly difficult this year, as there are so many outstanding people in the Victoria sports community,” said Lois Smith, chair of the Induction Nominations Committee. “I commend the committee members for their hard work and diligence in producing such a stellar slate.”

 

Tickets for the October 26 Induction dinner are now on sale at $135 per person. More information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.gvshof.ca/

 

-30-

For more information contact:

Louise Hodgson-Jones
250-812-2518
corsa.communications@shaw.ca

 

About the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHoF)

The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrate the outstanding performances and contributions of athletes, builders, officials and teams from Greater Victoria, who have brought distinction to themselves, their sport, community and country. Established in 1991, artifacts and displays of over 200 athletes, teams and builders can be seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and in the Westin at Bear Mountain. Annual activities that the GVSHoF are involved in include the Family Sport & Recreation Festival at PISE, the Bate Family Scholarship at UVic, the Vikes Breakfast and the annual Induction ceremony in October. www.gvshof.ca

 

2019 GVSHoF Inductee Bios

ATHLETES:

Ryan Cochrane – Swimming

After making his senior international debut in 2006, Ryan Cochrane went on to become Canada’s most decorated swimmer ever. As a 19-year-old Olympic rookie at Beijing 2008, he briefly held the Olympic record in the 1500m freestyle before going on to win bronze, Canada’s first Olympic swimming medal since Sydney 2000. It was also Canada’s first Olympic medal in the 1500m freestyle in 88 years. He added a silver medal in that same event at London 2012 where he missed the 400m freestyle final by just one-hundredth (0.01) of a second. In his third Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 he was once again a finalist in the 1500m freestyle. Cochrane’s eight medals at the FINA World Championships are the most ever by a Canadian swimmer. He was just the second person (after Australian legend Grant Hackett) to reach the podium in the 800m and 1500m freestyle events at three straight worlds, winning a total of four silver and two bronze from 2009 to 2013. He won his first world medal in the 400m freestyle in 2015, taking bronze in that and the 1500m freestyle, which followed his double gold performance at his first Pan Am Games. Those achievements are all the more impressive having come during a difficult year after the death of long-time coach Randy Bennett in April. Cochrane capped his Commonwealth Games career in 2014 by successfully defending his 400m and 1500m freestyle titles. He is a six-time medallist at the Pan Pacific Championships, including three gold. Cochrane was named Canadian Male Swimmer of the Year eight straight times from 2008 to 2015.

Mike Piechnik – Fastball

(Pronunciation guide:  pee-EHK-nihk)

One of the top left-handed pitchers in the world during his career, Mike pitched his way to 10 Provincial Championships, four Canadian Championships (1991, ’92, ’97, 2001), two U.S. National Men’s Championships (1993, ’96), and North American Challenge Cup gold (1991) and silver ( 1992 when he was selected Most Valuable Pitcher and Most Valuable Player, and 1993). From 1987 through 1999, he was a valued member of the Canadian Men’s Program, winning two Pan American gold medals (1995, ’99) and International Softball Federation (ISF) gold (1992 and silver (1993). He has pitched back-to-back perfect games, holds the record for most strikeouts in a U.S. National Championships with 140 in seven games, pitched a perfect ERA of 0.00 and, in one 20-inning marathon game, struck out 46 batters en-route to winning a 1-0 pitching duel.  He was inducted into the U.S. Fastball Hall of Fame in 2009 and the ISF Hall of Fame in 2014.

Rob Short – Field Hockey

As a 19-year member of the Men’s National Team from 1994 to 2013, Rob had 364 international caps and played for Canada at two Olympic Games, two World Cups, four Commonwealth Games and five Pan American Games. He captained the national team from 2001 through 2008, leading them in Beijing in 2008, Melbourne in 2006 and to Pan American Gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. He played professional hockey in the Netherlands for 14 years, earned his master’s degree in International Coaching in Amsterdam and subsequently founded the Rob Short Coaching Academy – a high performance program for young athletes. In 2018, he returned to the Canadian national team as an Assistant Coach.

 

COACHES  & OFFICIALS

Susan Morriss – Official – Figure Skating

Susan began judging figure skating in 1972 at age 16 while still competing at junior national level in ice dancing. In the almost 50 years since, she has been certified in all four disciplines: singles, pairs, dance and synchronized skating (most judges concentrate on two or at most three disciplines), achieving international certification in all four categories. In addition to her training as a judge, she has also trained as a Referee and Technical Controller. She has travelled the country representing BC Section and all over the world on behalf of Skate Canada. She has officiated at dozens of ISU championships and invitationals in Europe, Asia and the USA, and at countless local, provincial and national competitions. As well, she served for many years on both national and provincial Judges Committees and mentored developing judges through seminars and evaluations. Susan has also acted at Canadian team manager to Worlds and on national event organizing committees. Her service has been recognized with numerous awards, including the May 2006 Skate Canada BC/YK Section Coaches Choice Award and the June 2010 Skate Canada National Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award.

 

Wynn Gmitroski – Coach – Athletics

(Pronunciation guide: gihm-ih-TRAW-skee)

Wynn’s 33 years of coaching Canadian middle distance and distance runners has taken him to five Olympic Games, 12 World Championships, five Commonwealth Games and many other international competitions including the World Indoor Championships and the Jeux de la francophonie. He was the lead coach for the National Athletics Centre for middle distance running and was also a master course conductor at the National Coaching Institute. Wynn’s coaching achievements have been recognized with many awards including the 2007 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award

TEAM

 

Stacie Louttit & John McRoberts – Sailing

 

Stacie made history at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games when racing the two-person keelboat with John McRoberts to a bronze finish, she became the first Canadian woman sailor to medal at an Olympic or Paralympic Games. She was named the Canadian Yachting Association’s 2008 Female Athlete of the Year and received the Gruson/Milam Sailing Performance Trophy in recognition of outstanding female sailors. She and John qualified for London 2012, where they won silver in the SKUD 18 Open Class in the Paralympic Test Regatta, and placed 4th at the Paralympics. For John, it was his third Paralympics. He won gold in Atlanta in the 1996 Paralympics in Men’s Crewboat and has also medalled in the 2.4mR, Sonar and Hobie Trapseat classes. Both learned to sail prior to the accidents that changed their lives and both returned to sailing after moving to Victoria, meeting at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to form their formidable team.

BUILDERS

Victoria Motorcycle Club – Motorcycling

One of the oldest continuous motorized sporting clubs in Canada, the VMC has been active for over 110 years and continues to grow as it promotes safe, enjoyable, challenging motorcycling for beginners, families, novices and experts alike on its 172-acre property in Metchosin.  Over the years, the club has sponsored many events and activities, such as a drill team, stunt riding, rodeos, trials, scrambles, hill climbs, enduros, field meets and road rides, and has been a consistent crowd favourite at events such as the Victoria Day Parade. As well the club has produced many champion riders from Canadian scrambles champion in the 1950s to International Six Day Trials medalists in the 70s and multiple national champions in the early 2000s. Club members have been top racers in the Pacific Northwest in flat track, road and vintage scrambles and continue to do well at all levels from local to international. The VMC was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycling Hall of Fame in 2010.

 

SID THOMAS MEDIA AWARD

Alex Robertson – Television

Alex was CHEK-TV Sports Director from 1974 through 2003. Although he interviewed such luminaries as Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretzky and a young Tiger Woods, his focus was always the local sports scene. He produced over 14,000 stories, almost all featuring local athletes, coaches and teams. He was the top TV host on the Island and covered sports that did not normally receive notice. His excellent coverage helped inspire young athletes and provided a catalyst to many individuals and teams as the publicity he provided helped spur even greater performances. Alex co-hosted numerous BC Summer and Winter Games and helped launch the careers of many prominent sports broadcasters. To this day, some of his closest friends are still fellow colleagues, athletes and coaches who all have stories about how Alex supported and impacted them over 30 years.