Sheldon Kennedy, Jennifer Saunders, Ralph Lyndon and the 1996 and 1997 University of Manitoba Bisons women’s basketball teams were inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night in Winnipeg.
“Receiving this honor is being neck and neck with people like Ralph here tonight, and seeing what inductees past and present have accomplished. It represents hope. No matter where you are in life, you can change course and be who you want to be. It’s an honor to be here. “
– Sheldon Kennedy, hockey / multisport athlete, builder
Sheldon Kennedy carved out an impressive minor hockey career and played for the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League. He represented Canada in 1986 at the Esso Cup, won a gold medal in 1988 at the World Juniors in Moscow and captained his Broncos at the Memorial Cup championship in 1989. Kennedy was drafted in the 4th round, 80th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings and has played over 300 NHL games.
Kennedy’s impact in the sport extends far beyond his achievements in hockey. He courageously lodged a complaint against his former junior coach, which helped the authorities to file a complaint and put these issues at the forefront of society. His work with the Respect Group pioneered the Respect in Sport program, a program that Manitoba was the first province to implement and is now nationwide with over two million Canadians registered.
“I wouldn’t be a hall of fame without my mom and dad. I am a proud Manitoba athlete. I played racquetball because I loved it, and I was pretty good at it. never underestimate the power to prove everyone wrong. “
– Jennifer Saunders, athlete, racquetball
Jennifer Saunders learned to play racquetball in her hometown of Thompson, Manitoba when she was just 10 years old.
During her career, Saunders won a record 11 national singles titles, her last in 2019. She also won a record 13 national doubles titles, her first in 2003 and her last, again, in 2019. Saunders’ twenty-four combined titles give him the record for the most combined national titles won in Racquetball Canada’s history. His record of success at the national level is remarkable, with twenty podiums in open singles (11 gold, 8 silver) and 17 podiums in open doubles (13 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze).
“Thank you for the honor. One of my favorite memories, with Daniel Mac, we were down 18 points going into the fourth quarter, with 10 minutes left, I did my kick and got it back to me. – even for a touchdown. “
– Ralph Lyndon, multisport / athlete, hockey, lacrosse, football
Ralph Lyndon is the very definition of a complete athlete. Lyndon excelled in hockey, lacrosse and football in his youth. Daniel McIntyre Collegiate lost just one game from 1950-52 and won three championships while Lyndon was an all-star and team captain in 1951 (aged 16) and 52.
1954 was a pivotal year. Lyndon started playing senior lacrosse at the age of 16 and was a member of the Eastern Championship winning team that year. He also played hockey for the Winnipeg Monarchs and was part of the Winnipeg Rods junior team that reached the national final.
The year 1955 was just as action packed for Lyndon who captained his Winnipeg Monarchs at the Western Canada Junior Finals. The 1955 Manitoba Stars became the champions of the West, and. Lyndon had a reputation for having the hardest shot on the team! Lyndon played football for the Rods in 1955, but did not make the championship because he had gone to Britain to play hockey. Lyndon played for the Harringay Racers for the 1955-56 season and was named Rookie of the Year.
“You look on that stage and you see a ton of basketball talent. Several stars, several Canadian stars, an all-Canadian rookie team, CIU National Defensive Player of the Year, National Female Athlete of the Year … and all the success of our teams was more than our talent. We had superstars, but we also had the grinders who were sometimes overlooked. The young players who wanted to prove themselves and the glue players who held it all together. “
– Jana Taylor, on behalf of the 1996 and 1997 Bison Women’s Basketball Teams of the University of Manitoba
The University of Manitoba Bisons women’s basketball team won the first of two consecutive national championships in 1996 in a thrilling 81-77 overtime victory over Toronto. The team became only the fifth Manitoba women’s team to win a national women’s college basketball title since the tournament began in 1972.
The 1997 team had a tough act to follow, but the taste for victory drove them to try and rehearse. Fifth-year veterans Terri-Lee Johannesson, Victoria Neufeld and Larissa Crellin wanted to come out on a high. They beat York by a score of 73-62 to win their second consecutive national championship. To date, the 1997 Bisons were the last Manitoba varsity team to win a national women’s basketball title.
“After the postponement of last year’s induction ceremony, we were reminded how special sport and community are in our lives,” said Sport Manitoba President and CEO Janet McMahon . “This is why this year, I am especially grateful to recognize our class of inductees for their outstanding accomplishments and impact in the sport. Each of you has made Manitoba so proud.
Michelle Sawatzky was the mistress of ceremonies at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame induction and asked Sheldon Kennedy to reflect on her Hall of Fame induction.