Pride brims at sports hall opening

News Nov 23, 2014 by Brian Shypula Brant News

In a space dedicated to local, world-class athletic excellence, it was the venue that was the star of the day.

The brand new Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition opened its doors to the public on Saturday, welcoming hundreds of visitors to the modern, interactive space inside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

“I’m shocked at how beautiful the whole facility is and the way it is laid out. You see everything and everybody who is in here,” said Walter Gretzky, who like just about everyone else was seeing the hall for the first time.

An entire wing is dedicated to his son Wayne and includes a movie showing highlights of his career.

The Great One wasn’t able to attend but relayed congratulations through Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition hall chair Chad Wilson, who read the letter to the crowd.

“I hope this hall serves to inspire future generations of athlete to participate in sports and realize the enjoyment that sports brings to us all,” Gretzky said in the letter.

Glen Gretzky sent pictures to his older brother.

“Wow, nice,” was No. 99’s response.

“I think everybody who’s been in here today has said exactly the same thing,” said Mayor Chris Friel, who emceed the opening ceremony.

It was a feel-good moment and civic pride was running high.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman sent congratulations.

Brantford native Pat Hickey, a 1984 inductee who played 644 games in the NHL, most for the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, spoke on behalf of the hall’s 89 inductees.

He encouraged them to tell their success stories.

“Because our story is not without rejection, it’s not without defeat and it’s not without, in fact, bullying. We all go through that but we all have to work on it together and rise above, and that’s why we get up every morning,” he said.

“And I challenge the generation now and the children ahead to learn the stories inside here so that they can make a quick entrance into a vocation in their life that they succeed at,” he said.

Powerlifter Wayne Osborne, whose 1980 Canadian record still stands, was inducted earlier this year.

“In the summer it was sort of a shock. It took a while for everything to sink in. And now I’m here with a lot of greats,” he said as he looked around the hall.

“It’s phenomenal. I’m blessed and honoured to be a part of this,” said 1984 track and field inductee Liz Polyak, who starred in discus and shot put at the University of Kentucky.

It was a time to reminisce for many.

Tim Crossman quietly watched Gretzky’s highlight movie.

“Wayne’s a couple of years younger than I am. I remember all of these accomplishments. My dad used to follow him around from city to city when he was a young kid,” he said.

A half dozen themed displays showcase memorabilia from some of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nation’s great athletes.

Ross McGuinness peered into the lacrosse display, which includes a handmade stick by Six Nations stick making legend Enos Williams.

“I got one off him when I was a kid. He made it for me…I’ve still got it somewhere,” McGuinness said.

Chief Ava Hill was noting the names of Six Nations athletes inducted in the hall.

“I’m feeling a lot of pride,” she said.

“One of them is my uncle but he’s not here. I tried to bring him,” she said, but she was unable to convince lacrosse star Roger Smith to come along.

“This is fantastic. Somebody’s done a lot of work,” said Bill Robb as he looked for familiar faces on one of the photo walls.

Four large touch screens allow visitors to navigate to a biography and photo gallery for each inductee.

Licensing of videos and photos was one example of the fine details that went into the hall project.

“There is so much behind the scenes that has to happen to make this come to life,” said Sandy Jackson, Brantford’s director of recreation, who was happy the day went off without a hitch.

There is work to do yet, however.

Fundraising is $200,000 short of the $1 million goal. Several sponsorships are still available, including $50,000 for a trivia game and $25,000 for several of the sports displays.

“If we can get all of these sponsored then the hall will be able to pay the rest of the funds back to city council that were borrowed and it will completely community supported,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping within the next six months to have that completed.”

There is no notion to charge admission to the hall moving forward, however a donation box is a possibility, she said.

The launch included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches

Friel listed and thanked all of the sponsors.

“Businesses and communities need each other and I think it’s with that philosophy that we wanted to step up and be a part of this project,” said Maureen Cowan on behalf of principal sponsor Cowan Foundation, which contributed $250,000.

“When I think of this sports hall, I think of all the young people who we try to teach that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve great results. Today it gives me great pleasure to be able to say that you have practiced this preaching – I mean look at this place, it’s fantastic,” said Daniel Guizzetti, one of the co-founders of Empire Communities, the other principal sponsor which also gave $250,000.

A private function for inductees, their families, other guests and dignitaries was held in the Gretzky centre lobby after the public launch. About 45 inductees or representatives of their families attended.

Pride brims at sports hall opening

News Nov 23, 2014 by Brian Shypula Brant News

In a space dedicated to local, world-class athletic excellence, it was the venue that was the star of the day.

The brand new Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition opened its doors to the public on Saturday, welcoming hundreds of visitors to the modern, interactive space inside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

“I’m shocked at how beautiful the whole facility is and the way it is laid out. You see everything and everybody who is in here,” said Walter Gretzky, who like just about everyone else was seeing the hall for the first time.

An entire wing is dedicated to his son Wayne and includes a movie showing highlights of his career.

The Great One wasn’t able to attend but relayed congratulations through Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition hall chair Chad Wilson, who read the letter to the crowd.

“I hope this hall serves to inspire future generations of athlete to participate in sports and realize the enjoyment that sports brings to us all,” Gretzky said in the letter.

Glen Gretzky sent pictures to his older brother.

“Wow, nice,” was No. 99’s response.

“I think everybody who’s been in here today has said exactly the same thing,” said Mayor Chris Friel, who emceed the opening ceremony.

It was a feel-good moment and civic pride was running high.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman sent congratulations.

Brantford native Pat Hickey, a 1984 inductee who played 644 games in the NHL, most for the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, spoke on behalf of the hall’s 89 inductees.

He encouraged them to tell their success stories.

“Because our story is not without rejection, it’s not without defeat and it’s not without, in fact, bullying. We all go through that but we all have to work on it together and rise above, and that’s why we get up every morning,” he said.

“And I challenge the generation now and the children ahead to learn the stories inside here so that they can make a quick entrance into a vocation in their life that they succeed at,” he said.

Powerlifter Wayne Osborne, whose 1980 Canadian record still stands, was inducted earlier this year.

“In the summer it was sort of a shock. It took a while for everything to sink in. And now I’m here with a lot of greats,” he said as he looked around the hall.

“It’s phenomenal. I’m blessed and honoured to be a part of this,” said 1984 track and field inductee Liz Polyak, who starred in discus and shot put at the University of Kentucky.

It was a time to reminisce for many.

Tim Crossman quietly watched Gretzky’s highlight movie.

“Wayne’s a couple of years younger than I am. I remember all of these accomplishments. My dad used to follow him around from city to city when he was a young kid,” he said.

A half dozen themed displays showcase memorabilia from some of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nation’s great athletes.

Ross McGuinness peered into the lacrosse display, which includes a handmade stick by Six Nations stick making legend Enos Williams.

“I got one off him when I was a kid. He made it for me…I’ve still got it somewhere,” McGuinness said.

Chief Ava Hill was noting the names of Six Nations athletes inducted in the hall.

“I’m feeling a lot of pride,” she said.

“One of them is my uncle but he’s not here. I tried to bring him,” she said, but she was unable to convince lacrosse star Roger Smith to come along.

“This is fantastic. Somebody’s done a lot of work,” said Bill Robb as he looked for familiar faces on one of the photo walls.

Four large touch screens allow visitors to navigate to a biography and photo gallery for each inductee.

Licensing of videos and photos was one example of the fine details that went into the hall project.

“There is so much behind the scenes that has to happen to make this come to life,” said Sandy Jackson, Brantford’s director of recreation, who was happy the day went off without a hitch.

There is work to do yet, however.

Fundraising is $200,000 short of the $1 million goal. Several sponsorships are still available, including $50,000 for a trivia game and $25,000 for several of the sports displays.

“If we can get all of these sponsored then the hall will be able to pay the rest of the funds back to city council that were borrowed and it will completely community supported,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping within the next six months to have that completed.”

There is no notion to charge admission to the hall moving forward, however a donation box is a possibility, she said.

The launch included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches

Friel listed and thanked all of the sponsors.

“Businesses and communities need each other and I think it’s with that philosophy that we wanted to step up and be a part of this project,” said Maureen Cowan on behalf of principal sponsor Cowan Foundation, which contributed $250,000.

“When I think of this sports hall, I think of all the young people who we try to teach that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve great results. Today it gives me great pleasure to be able to say that you have practiced this preaching – I mean look at this place, it’s fantastic,” said Daniel Guizzetti, one of the co-founders of Empire Communities, the other principal sponsor which also gave $250,000.

A private function for inductees, their families, other guests and dignitaries was held in the Gretzky centre lobby after the public launch. About 45 inductees or representatives of their families attended.

Pride brims at sports hall opening

News Nov 23, 2014 by Brian Shypula Brant News

In a space dedicated to local, world-class athletic excellence, it was the venue that was the star of the day.

The brand new Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition opened its doors to the public on Saturday, welcoming hundreds of visitors to the modern, interactive space inside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

“I’m shocked at how beautiful the whole facility is and the way it is laid out. You see everything and everybody who is in here,” said Walter Gretzky, who like just about everyone else was seeing the hall for the first time.

An entire wing is dedicated to his son Wayne and includes a movie showing highlights of his career.

The Great One wasn’t able to attend but relayed congratulations through Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition hall chair Chad Wilson, who read the letter to the crowd.

“I hope this hall serves to inspire future generations of athlete to participate in sports and realize the enjoyment that sports brings to us all,” Gretzky said in the letter.

Glen Gretzky sent pictures to his older brother.

“Wow, nice,” was No. 99’s response.

“I think everybody who’s been in here today has said exactly the same thing,” said Mayor Chris Friel, who emceed the opening ceremony.

It was a feel-good moment and civic pride was running high.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman sent congratulations.

Brantford native Pat Hickey, a 1984 inductee who played 644 games in the NHL, most for the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, spoke on behalf of the hall’s 89 inductees.

He encouraged them to tell their success stories.

“Because our story is not without rejection, it’s not without defeat and it’s not without, in fact, bullying. We all go through that but we all have to work on it together and rise above, and that’s why we get up every morning,” he said.

“And I challenge the generation now and the children ahead to learn the stories inside here so that they can make a quick entrance into a vocation in their life that they succeed at,” he said.

Powerlifter Wayne Osborne, whose 1980 Canadian record still stands, was inducted earlier this year.

“In the summer it was sort of a shock. It took a while for everything to sink in. And now I’m here with a lot of greats,” he said as he looked around the hall.

“It’s phenomenal. I’m blessed and honoured to be a part of this,” said 1984 track and field inductee Liz Polyak, who starred in discus and shot put at the University of Kentucky.

It was a time to reminisce for many.

Tim Crossman quietly watched Gretzky’s highlight movie.

“Wayne’s a couple of years younger than I am. I remember all of these accomplishments. My dad used to follow him around from city to city when he was a young kid,” he said.

A half dozen themed displays showcase memorabilia from some of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nation’s great athletes.

Ross McGuinness peered into the lacrosse display, which includes a handmade stick by Six Nations stick making legend Enos Williams.

“I got one off him when I was a kid. He made it for me…I’ve still got it somewhere,” McGuinness said.

Chief Ava Hill was noting the names of Six Nations athletes inducted in the hall.

“I’m feeling a lot of pride,” she said.

“One of them is my uncle but he’s not here. I tried to bring him,” she said, but she was unable to convince lacrosse star Roger Smith to come along.

“This is fantastic. Somebody’s done a lot of work,” said Bill Robb as he looked for familiar faces on one of the photo walls.

Four large touch screens allow visitors to navigate to a biography and photo gallery for each inductee.

Licensing of videos and photos was one example of the fine details that went into the hall project.

“There is so much behind the scenes that has to happen to make this come to life,” said Sandy Jackson, Brantford’s director of recreation, who was happy the day went off without a hitch.

There is work to do yet, however.

Fundraising is $200,000 short of the $1 million goal. Several sponsorships are still available, including $50,000 for a trivia game and $25,000 for several of the sports displays.

“If we can get all of these sponsored then the hall will be able to pay the rest of the funds back to city council that were borrowed and it will completely community supported,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping within the next six months to have that completed.”

There is no notion to charge admission to the hall moving forward, however a donation box is a possibility, she said.

The launch included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches

Friel listed and thanked all of the sponsors.

“Businesses and communities need each other and I think it’s with that philosophy that we wanted to step up and be a part of this project,” said Maureen Cowan on behalf of principal sponsor Cowan Foundation, which contributed $250,000.

“When I think of this sports hall, I think of all the young people who we try to teach that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve great results. Today it gives me great pleasure to be able to say that you have practiced this preaching – I mean look at this place, it’s fantastic,” said Daniel Guizzetti, one of the co-founders of Empire Communities, the other principal sponsor which also gave $250,000.

A private function for inductees, their families, other guests and dignitaries was held in the Gretzky centre lobby after the public launch. About 45 inductees or representatives of their families attended.