First Hall of Fame Inductees into Coquitlam Shof
COQUITLAM, BC – The first inductees into the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame are in a class by themselves.
From World champions to Olympic and Paralympic medalists, the athletes, teams and builders who will be honoured at the November 23 induction ceremony represent the best of our community. Eight athletes, two teams and four builders will be the first to fill the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame, with their bold achievements and lengthy list of accomplishments.
The first inductees are:
Craig Forrest (Soccer) – Canadian national soccer team goalkeeper from 1988 to 2002, held the national team record for shutouts. As a 16 year old Forrest moved overseas to begin 13 years of playing in England, becoming the first Canadian to play English Premiership (in 1992-93). He was voted Canadian International Player of the Year in 1994, and backstopped Canada’s 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup victory, earning the tournament MVP and Most Valuable Goalkeeper awards. Forrest was elected into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006.
Lars Hansen (Basketball) – Led Centennial Secondary to the 1972 B.C. High School Basketball championship as tourney MVP, and Vic Andrews Award winner as B.C. High School Athlete of the year. Hansen was a member of the Canadian national men’s basketball team that placed fourth at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He won an NBA National championships with the Seattle Sonics in 1979. Hansen is a member of the Canadian and B.C. Basketball Hall of Fames.
Christine Larsen (Synchronized Swimming) – As a member of Team Canada’s synchronized swimming team, Larsen won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Along with swimming partner Kathy Glen, she captured the gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in the figures and duet events. In 1995, Larsen was a multiple national champion and earned silver at the FINA World Cup.
Kelley Law (Curling) – Law skipped Canada to the 2000 World Women’s Curling championship, beating Switzerland 7-6 in a dramatic final. That catapulted the Law rink to the Salt Lake Winter Olympics in 2002, where the team defeated the host USA 9-5 to claim Olympic bronze. Prior to that, Law was a fierce competitor who piloted her rink to seven Tournament of Hearts (1990-2007), winning the crown in 2000.
Ljiljana Ljubisic (Track and Field) – After losing her eyesight as a child, Ljubisic demonstrated passion and perseverance as an athlete during nearly 20 years of competing on the international paralympic world stage. Over five Paralympics (from 1984 to 2000) she won five medals, including gold in the discus and silver in shotput at the 1992 Barcelona Games, and a bronze at 1988 Seoul and two bronze at 1996 Atlanta. She continues to lead and inspire people of all abilities through various volunteer positions.
Lui Passaglia (Football) – An iconic figure on the football field, Coquitlam’s Lui Passaglia was the placekicker/punter with the B.C. Lions for a record-breaking 25-year career (1976-2000). During that time, he scored more points (3,991) than any other pro football player in history, while playing a record 408 regular season games. The number of records he holds is many, including best single season field goal percentage (90.9%) — which he did in his final season. He played on three Grey Cup champions (1985, 1994 and 2000), and is a member of the Canadian Football and B.C. Sports hall of fames.
Mike Reelie (Lacrosse) – The face of the Coquitlam senior Adanacs for 16 years, Reelie was also its heart and soul. The Coquitlam native established a junior boxla record of 500 points (including 291 assists, a record that still stands) in 106 games. In his first season as a senior, he was named the WLA’s Rookie of the Year in 1980, and anchored Coquitlam for 15 years, accumulating 717 points over 477 games. Reelie competed in two Mann Cup championship series, and was instrumental in the Adanacs’ victory in the 1980 Nations Cup final. He is a member of Canada’s Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Chris Wilson (Wrestling) – Wilson is a six-time Canadian national wrestling champion, who won gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. His medal haul also includes silver at the 1991 World Cup and bronze in 1993. He wrestled for Canada at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and finished eighth overall. In his collegiate career, Wilson captured the 1989 NAIA 150-pound division title. He was elected to the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association’s Hall of Fame in 2001.
Dan Doyle (High School Sports) – Beginning in the 1950s, Doyle helped put high school sports, and especially football, on the map in B.C. He was a founding member of the Coquitlam Secondary Athletic Association, and played a large role in the establishment of the B.C. High School Athletic Association, which governs high school sports. A leader, teacher, coach, and vice-principal at Centennial Secondary, Doyle diligently built the initial football program at then-Como Lake in the mid-1950s en route to Centennial’s 1966 provincial.
Susan Kemper (Synchronized Swimming) – Kemper’s involvement in synchronized swimming began over 30 years ago as an athlete. After a debilitating illness forced her out of the pool, she pursued excellence in the sport as a coach. She became Canada’s first Level 5 synchro coach, and served as Team Canada’s head coach from 2006 to 2008. During her years as a coach, she has helped many high performance athletes make the national team.
Gordon Welbourne (Baseball) – Upon moving to Coquitlam in 1967, Welbourne got involved with the local Babe Ruth League. He served as coach from 1968 to 1982 at Blue Mountain Park, served as president of the Coquitlam association for two years, and then stepped forward to take on similar roles at the provincial level until 2000, when he was elected commissioner of the Pacific Northwest Regional Babe Ruth League. As a coach, Welbourne has skippered his squads to a then-record three league championships in a row, and four provincial championships (1973, 1977, 1995, 1997).
Les Wingrove (Lacrosse) – In over 40 years as a coach and/or manager, Les Wingrove has promoted skill development and good sportsmanship. He has coached at every level—with his minor teams going on to win seven provincial crowns. He has managed and coached at both the junior and senior Adanac levels, including a Mann Cup championship in 2001, and a handful of other Minto Cup and Mann Cup appearances. In 2003, he was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the builder category.
Centennial Centaurs 1966 Football Team – As the school was transitioning from Como Lake to its new site on Poirier Street, the football team trained towards its first-ever provincial championship. Preparing to face powerhouse Vancouver College, the Centaurs headed south and played a Washington State rival, suffering their first and only loss of the season. That result, however, helped inspire the team onward as they bested Vancouver College and earned a berth to the first-ever Shrine Bowl, where they topped Killarney 14-0 at Nat Bailey Stadium.
Coquitlam Senior Adanacs 1980 World Nations champions – In the only Nations Cup box lacrosse championship, the local Adanacs rose above a tough group of opponents to cart off the crown. The Adanacs edged out the North American Natives in a nationally televised game at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum.