The Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame welcomes two new members this October.
The inductees will be honored guests at the first annual Chilliwack Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage, taking place Oct. 27 at the Squiala Hall.
They’ll be officially inducted the following night at a Chilliwack Chiefs game at Prospera Centre.
A legendary coach and a champion for women in sport headline the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
Lara Mussell Savage will be inducted as an athlete. A two-time world champion in Ultimate Frisbee, the Sto:lo Native was twice named BC’s top female Aboriginal athlete.
In 2005, Mussell Savage went a step further, winning the prestigious Tom Longboat National Award as Aboriginal Athlete of the Year. Mussell Savage joined Canada’s national team in 1998 and had an immediate impact. Her crew advanced to the World Championships that year, finishing third behind the United States and Japan.
She won gold in her next two trips to Worlds, leading the Canadians to top spot in 2000 and 2004. She captured another bronze medal in her last trip to Worlds in 2008.
In recent years Mussell Savage has become a passionate advocate for gender equality in sport. An ambassador for ViaSport’s Level the Field program, she presents herself as a positive role model for young female athletes. Breaking gender barriers runs in the family. Her grandmother was the first female Chief of Skwah First Nation, elected in 1959. Her cousin is Kaila Mussell, the first professional female saddle-bronc rider in North America.
Since retiring from Ultimate Frisbee, Mussell Savage has been involved behind the scenes at several big events, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She served on the organizing committee as Project Manager for Aboriginal Sport and Youth. Mussell Savage is currently a board trustee for the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
“Her athletic achievements alone would make Lara a slam dunk candidate for the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame, and what she’s done for females in sports only enhances her status,” said CSHOF spokesman Barry Douglas. “We look forward to honouring Lara at the Chilliwack Sports Dinner as she becomes our first female inductee.”
Harvey Smyl’s name is synonymous with hockey in Chilliwack, and he enters the CSHOF in the Judy Fitzsimmons Builder Category.
Smyl took the reins of the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs in 1993-94, embarking on a hugely successful 21 year run in which he missed the playoffs just once. Smyl’s Chiefs won the BCHL title in his second season and won two more championships on his watch (1999-00 and 2001-02). Smyl’s Chiefs claimed the Doyle Cup in 2001-02 as Western Canadian champs. Smyl led the Chiefs to the Royal Bank Cup in 1999-00 where they collected the bronze medal.
Smyl was named the BCHL’s coach of the year three times — 1996, 1998 and 2001 and when he left Chilliwack following the 2013-14 season he had the most wins of any coach in league history (554).
“As a general manager, Harvey built the Chiefs into one of Canada’s top junior A programs and as a head coach he experienced unparalleled success behind the bench,” Douglas said. “He helped shape the lives of hundreds of young men and dozens of his players moved on to college and professional hockey. Harvey is truly an iconic figure and well deserving of a place in the CSHOF.”
The Class of 2016 is the fourth to be inducted.
The CSHOF welcomed its first class in 2013 with former National Hockey Leaguer Dave Archibald joined by legendary coach Joe Ogmundson and the national champion Turbo fastpitch team. The following year saw Canadian Football League star Rick Klassen inducted alongside members of the 1968 3-Field national military hockey champions. Last year’s class saw Jack Covey enter in the builder category alongside the 1993-94 midget provincial hockey champs.