It’ll be a historic parade to the podium when the class of 2011 is officially inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. A grandparent and grandchild will become members for the first time when 91-year-old Pioneer Award recipient Art Davis of Calgary joins multi-time Paralympian gold medallist and granddaughter Lauren Woolstencroft in the Red Deer-based induction ceremonies.
“You don’t know how much that meant to me to have her develop the way she did,” said Davis, during Wednesday’s media conference at Canada Olympic Park. “She’s marvellous. My father was a great, great professional athlete and I was pretty good one but she was equal to my father.”
Woolstencroft, who added another five skiing gold medals to her Olympic haul at the Vancouver Paralympics, was born without her left arm below the elbow and missing both legs below the knees. She started skiing at age four and, after taking up competitive skiing at age 14, developed into the top female Paralympic skier in the world. Unfortunately, she couldn’t attend Wednesday’s event but will join her grandfather for the official induction ceremonies on May 27 at Red Deer’s Capri Hotel.
“She’s done everything. I adore here. She’s just the most marvellous lady in the world,” said Davis, who will go in as a multi-sport builder despite an accomplished career in baseball, pro hockey, soccer and amateur golf.
Woolstencroft will join former National Hockey Leaguers Val Fonteyne and Glenn Hall and wrestler Peter Guterson as the only individual athletes among the 12 individuals and teams named to the hall. Long-time Calgary TV and radio sportscaster Ken Newans will join Davis in the multi-sport builder category. Also named in the sports builder category were Christine Hampshire for synchronized swimming, long-time Edmonton Eskimos general manager Norm Kimball for football and Roy Sinclair for weightlighting.
The 1950 Edmonton Waterloo Mercurys and 1963 and 1966 Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings take bows as the teams, while Ted Thomas will receive the achievement award in swimming.
Davis, who continues to recover from a serious skull injury, grew up in Three Hills and quickly became recognized as a multi-sport athlete. He had a cup of tea with the Boston Red Sox and played a little hockey with the Chicago Blackhawks before moving to Calgary in the early 1940s, where he soon became proficient at golf while volunteering in amateur football, golf and soccer.
The former Alberta Senior men’s golf champion was initially recognized for his contributions to Calgary amateur sport in 1958 when he took a bow as the Calgary Booster Club’s Sportsman of the Year.