Hall of Fame 2015 Inductees
Champions and competitors, the latest Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame inductees have reached the pinnacle in their respective sports, as athletes and builders. Greg Moore (auto racing), Brit Townsend (track and field), the Blue Mountain 1981 girls soccer club teams, Lawrence Vea (builder – school sports) and Les Wilson (builder – soccer) will become the newest members of the Hall, inducted at a gala event at the Coquitlam Sports and Leisure Centre on June 18th.
Greg Moore (auto racing)
The Coquitlam-raised Moore developed his interest in the auto-racing sports world while watching Westwood racing in the city, and became a quick study on the kart-racing circuit as a teen. In 1991 Moore moved up to the Formula Ford cars and established himself as a rising star by being voted the Esso Protec Formula Ford 1600 Rookie of the Year. At the age of 18, Moore would become the youngest Indy Lights winner, finishing first at the 1994 season opener. A year later he dominated the circuit, topping 10 of the 12 events. Passionate about his sport, the 22-year-old recorded his first Cart World Series racing win in his sophomore season. Well-liked by fans and his fellow racers, Moore would win five Cart races and finish second six times over his four year career, before dying tragically in the final race of the 1999 season. An annual trophy named for Moore is presented on the IndyCar Series to the racer who exemplifies outstanding talent on track, as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media, and within the CART community. He was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000. While he spent his later teen and young adult life in Maple Ridge, Moore’s roots and racing legacy all began as a young boy in Coquitlam.
Brit Townsend (track and field)
Born in Denmark, Townsend would make her mark in track and field. Holding various Canadian records in seven different events, the five-foot-10 Simon Fraser University athlete turned her focus on the middle distances, where she secured her spot on the national team. Townsend captured the women’s 1500-metre bronze at the 1983 Pan American Games with a personal best time of 4:03.36. From there she represented Canada at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, placing seventh. She qualified to compete at the 1988 Olympics as well, but was unable to attend due to injury. Over the past 20 years she has guided the next level of national and international champions as the track and field coach at Simon Fraser University, with athletes achieving excellence at the national, NAIA and international stages, including for Canada.
The Coquitlam Blue Mountain 1981 girls soccer club teams – Three teams – the Rangers, the Devils and the Royals were at the forefront of an important step for girls soccer in 1981. For the first time in the Vancouver Sun soccer tournament history, girls were invited to compete in 1981. The Sun tourney at the time functioned as a minor soccer provincial championship with the winners featured prominently in the pages of the newspaper. The Coquitlam club made a bold statement that year, sweeping three of the top divisions: the Rangers won Div. 1, the Devils took Div. 2, and the Royals captured Div. 3. The first-ever Sun Soccer Girl, recognizing the tournament’s top girls player, was the Rangers’ Jane Norman, with the Royals’ Karen Daws the runner-up. The Blue Mountain troupe would also fill out half the all-star team. The sweep by the Coquitlam club was an instrumental part in the acknowledgment that girls soccer was deserving of serious consideration and strong representation in both time and funding.
Lawrence Vea (school sports)
For more than 30 years, Vea has taken a lead role in inspiring, coaching and encouraging youth and teens in the Tri-Cities to lead active lives. He taught and coached at a number of local schools, including Maillard Middle (then Junior Secondary), where he was a member of the inaugural staff. He was the program’s Athletic Director for 18 years, coaching volleyball (eight district and three Fraser Valley champions), girls basketball (two district champions), golf and track and field. Many of his athlete-students pursued athletics and/or coaching in their collegiate and post-secondary careers. As the Fraser Valley girls basketball coach, Vea skippered the squad to a provincial gold medal at the 1989 BC Games. For his coaching and dedication, Vea was awarded the B.C. School Sports coach of the year award in 2006 and the BC School Sports merit award in 2007. His organizational work was vital to the district’s scheduling, of which many of his playoff and scheduling formats are still being used today, nearly 10 years after his retirement from teaching.
Les Wilson (soccer)
Soccer in Canada has benefited greatly from the skills and dedication of Coquitlam’s Les Wilson. Born in Manchester, England, Wilson arrived in Canada at the age of six and developed a talent and passion for the sport in the Lower Mainland. An accomplished pro player, it was as a coach and manager where Wilson helped put Canada on the soccer map. As manager of the Canadian national team he played an integral role in major international accomplishments for the men’s side, including in 1984 with the Olympic team and 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, and the women at the 1999 World Cup. He was on board when Canada shocked the soccer world with a victory at the 2000 CONCACAF championships. Wilson would also play instrumental roles, including as an owner, with the Vancouver 86ers, which won four Canadian Soccer League titles from 1986 to 1994, and the Vancouver Whitecaps, as both player and manager. His involvement also saw him provide his energies at the grassroots level. Wilson has been inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame a total of six times, including originally in the builder’s category, and with various teams.
The Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame gala on Thursday July 18th will also celebrate the 2015 Wall of Fame annual recipients: Jovan Blagojevic (university male, soccer); Sherilyn Chong (junior female, speed skating); Soobin Kim (university female, golf); Nestor Lin (junior male, badminton); Mandy Manzardo (disabled athlete); Samantha McIlwrick (high school girls, field hockey); Graham Miller (high school male, basketball); Dave Parsons (volunteer, curling); Kevin Reynolds (senior male, figure skating); Jessie Sanderson (senior female, curling); Barry Wolff (coach, hockey), and the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Spartans (team, boys soccer). Doors open at 6:00 pm, coffee and desserts served at 6:30 pm, and the celebration begins at 7 p.m., at the Coquitlam Sports and Leisure Centre, 633 Poirier Street). For information on the ceremony or to purchase tickets for the event, email email@example.com. Tickets are also available at the door for $10. For more informatioin on the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame, visit www.coquitlamshof.com, where you can find out more about how to nominate someone for future awards.