He may not have heard the roar of the crowd, but Greg Blackburn certainly felt the thrill of victory, at home and around the world.
A member of the Prince George Barracudas swim team from 1987 to 1993. Greg amassed numerous pool records at his home facility and accolades as the team's top overall swimmer, while winning numerous medals at the provincial level and representing our city proudly at national meets.
Greg stepped onto the world stage at the XVI World Games for the Deaf (New Zealand 1989), narrowly missing the medal mark with four fourth-place finishes.
Four years later, as the veteran leader of a Canadian team that dominated swimming competition, Greg won 40 per cent of Canada’s medals at the XVII World Games for the Deaf (Bulgaria 1993). His haul of hardware included six individual medals (two gold, two silver and two bronze), and two relay medals (silver and bronze). Greg also set one world record, for swimmers who are deaf.
Greg’s outstanding achievements were a source of pride for everyone in the city, and he was recognized as Prince George’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1993.
John Dinsmore has been described as the man “who made Little League go” in Prince George and the north. Through his efforts, a four-team league was established in the city in 1954. Seeing the need for a program for older boys, he organized the Pony League in 1955 and the Connie Mac League in 1957.
With minor baseball firmly established in Prince George, John traveled the north, building other Little League organizations, an effort which culminated in the formation of the province’s fourth Little League district. John served as the district administrator for 15 years.
For his dedication to the sport, John was recognized in 1964 by the B.C. Amateur Baseball Association as the person who had done the most for Little League baseball in the province.
In 1989 he was made a "Life Member of B.C. Little League Baseball."
The Little League facility at 12th and Freeman is named in his honour: John Dinsmore Stadium.
He played, he coached, he umpired, he organized and he administered. John once said he didn’t know anyone as crazy about baseball as he was, and he was probably right. For the rest of us, his obsession was a great gift. As the beneficiaries of John’s tireless enthusiasm, we are grateful for this opportunity to honour and immortalize his legacy.
Howard Foot introduced the sport of water skiing to Prince George in the 1950s, when his father came home from the Kelowna Regatta with a pair of water skis.
Howard took to the sport naturally, and before long was winning countless medals and awards at the Kelowna Regatta, the B.C. Water Ski Provincial Championships and the B.C. Summer Games. Although recognized for his talent, it is Howard’s contribution as a teacher for which he is most respected.
In 1979, Howard opened the Nukko Lake Water Ski School. Students of all ages and abilities have sharpened their skills under his instruction, although Howard always stressed that the most important elements in water skiing are safety and fun. He was always more concerned that his skiers were enjoying themselves, rather than how they were placing in medal rounds.
The school produced many provincial, western and national champions, who attribute their success to Howard’s influence. His involvement is recognized and appreciated throughout the B.C. water skiing community.
In 1990, Howard provided further evidence of his dedication, becoming the water skiing sport chairman for the B
.C. Summer Games.
The Prince George Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to honour his efforts and welcome Howard Foot as an inaugural member, as Prince George’s first man to “walk on water.”
Jim Fowlie Jr. honed his talent and skills with the Prince George Barracudas Swim Club, competing in local and provincial competitions until 1973. From there, his climb to the top of the Canadian swimming ranks was swift. In the 1973 Canada Games, he was the silver medalist in the 400-metre Individual Medley, and bronze medalist in the 200-metre. In 1974, he won the national championship in the 400 IM, setting a new Canadian record. He repeated as national champion the following two years. In international competition, Jim’s achievements were no less impressive; a bronze medal in the 1974 Commonwealth Games; a Commonwealth record in his specialty, the 400 IM in 1975; and two top-five finishes in the 1975 World Championships.
In 1976, he set a world short course record, again in his favoured event, the 400 IM, a record that stood up for four years. Jim retired from competition in 1976, but he’s continued his winning ways as a swimming coach. He returned to the Barracudas as head coach, before embarking on a remarkable coaching journey. From 1978 to 1992, he served as head coach for national-calibre clubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto, and he held numerous national coaching appointments. From there, Jim went “Down Under” to further his career with the Australian Institute of Sport.
In 1996 in Atlanta, his swimmers collected three Olympic medals.
As an athlete, he found the way to victory. As a coach, he has showed the way. For his achievements, and for his dedication to the sport of swimming, Jim Fowlie has definitely earned his place in the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.
Diana Lowrie was a member of the Prince George Figure Skating Club from 1968 to 1992. During that period, she held the positions of Carnival Chairman, Costume Chairman, Secretary, Pro Liaison, Vice-President and finally Hospitality Chairman for the 1992 Western Divisional Championships held in Prince George.
Elected to the Board of Directors of the Cariboo North Central Region (figure skating) she served as Secretary and Region Chairman for a total of eight years. As an elected member of the Board of Directors of B.C. Section she held the posts of Director, Secretary, Precision Skating Chairman, B C Winter Games Provincial Advisor and Vice-President for a total of 11 years.
At the national level, Lowrie spent three years as the elected Director of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, six years on the National Precision Skating Committee (three years as Chairman) and two years as a member of the National Competition Committee. She attained Canadian Level as a Precision Skating Judge, and judged or refereed 13 Canadian Championships.
She achieved Master Trainer status in Precision Skating in 1989.
Beyond our borders, Lowrie moderated judges' seminars and served as a judge for Precision Skating events all over the globe. In addition, she sat as a member of the North American Precision Committee from 1989 to 1991.
This simple list of titles and duties cannot begin to do justice to Lowrie's hard work and dedication on behalf of the Canadian figure skating community, and more so her efforts to raise the profile of Precision Skating at home and around the world. All we can say is, if she were not inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame, she would at least win some kind of award for the city’s biggest collection of hats.
Harold Mann has been an international champion boxer and coach, a teacher and an inspiration to generations of young men in British Columbia and Canada. He has also been an outstanding ambassador for his sport, a family man and a community leader.
As an amateur, Harold garnered four provincial titles, and three national championships. In 1962, he brought home gold from the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, becoming the first and only B.C. boxer to win Commonwealth gold.
As a professional, Harold went undefeated in 12 bouts from 1963 to 1967.
After his competitive career, Harold shared his knowledge and experience as a coach with local, provincial and national teams. Five of his charges went on to repeat wins at the national championships, including his son Laurie, a six-time national amateur champ. Harold has also refereed on both the amateur and professional levels.
The Harold Mann Boxing Achievement Award is presented annually by the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association in his honour.
Harold and his wife, Betty, still live in the city where they raised three sons (all of whom boxed). They have eight grandchildren. Harold remains a vital and respected figure in the Prince George boxing community to this day.
Neal first stepped onto the speed skating oval in Prince George in 1976. Twenty years and several thousand trips around the track later, he leads the country and ranks among the world’s best.
A six-time national all-round champion (1991-1997), holder of four Canadian records and two-time Olympian (Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994) Neal has his sights set on Olympic gold in Nagano, Japan this February.
As a former world record holder at 3,000 metres, and the current world record holder at 1,500 metres, Neal has to be one of Canada’s brightest hopes to bring home some serious hardware in 1998.
Neal has already proven his mettle in international competition, winning two bronze medals in the World Championships and nine medals (two gold, six silver and one bronze) on the World Cup circuit, plus the overall World Cup championship in 1994-1995.
While many of our inductees can look back with pride on their achievements, we are happy to salute one athlete whose greatest competitive moments may yet lie ahead. We honour Neal Marshall for his outstanding accomplishments, and we look forward to adding more accolades to the list. We’ll leave a prominent space for Nagano gold. Good luck, Neal. Your native city stands behind you.
Randy's first taste of volleyball supremacy was with the 1976 AA provincial high school champions from Prince George Senior Secondary, a team that ran up a stunning 91-game winning streak. He must have liked that winning feeling, because the next year, he played for the juvenile club national champions, and made the junior national team. Just one year later, he played for the men’s national champs, and made the men’s national team.
From 1978 to 1980, playing for the College of New Caledonia and Langara College, he was twice a national MVP, winning two provincial titles and one national title.
From 1980 to 1986 as a member of Team Canada he shared a Canada Cup victory, a third-place performance at the Pan-American games, and a fourth-place finish at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
South of the border in 1984-1985, he was rookie of the year, first-team All-American and a U.S. national champion with San Diego State, playing with U.S. national team members Karch Kiraly, Pat Powers and Marc Waldie.
After five years of semi-pro volleyball in Europe, Randy returned for one all-star season with UBC. In 1991 he began his coaching career with a semi-pro club in Belgium until finally coming home in 1994 to assume the head coaching post with the College of New Caledonia Kodiaks.
Randy has followed a similar path of many of our inaugural Hall of Fame inductees. This path takes them far afield, pursuing the pinnacle of achievement in their respective sports, but it then returns them home, to teach and encourage others to share their rewarding experience. This is the common bond that all our honorees share: an uncommon devotion to their sport and to their home. Prince George is indeed fortunate to have a native son like Randy Wagner.
Born in Sarpsborg, Norway in 1946, Rolf Petterson came to Canada with his family in 1953, eventually settling in Prince George in 1958. With his Scandinavian heritage, it was perhaps natural that he would be a proficient cross-country skier, but his achievements were anything but ordinary.
Ten years later, he would represent Canada in cross-country skiing at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. It was a proud moment, to be sure, but not the pinnacle of Rolf’s competitive career. In 1972, Rolf won the Canadian senior men’s title for the second time, but was unable to compete in the Olympic trials due to a shoulder separation. Following the Olympics, he competed in the CanAm North American Cross-Country series, placing second in the Premier 30-kilometre race and, in the process, defeating every Olympic medal winner but one.
This was perhaps Rolf’s finest hour in competitive racing. As one of Canada’s top all-time cross-country skiers, Rolf earned several North American titles to go along with a total of nine Canadian championship titles. He also served as a coach with the Hickory Wing Ski Club of Prince George, and a vice-chairman and coaching coordinator with the Canadian Ski Association.
Rolf passed away June 28,1981 at the age of 35, on the same day as another Canadian hero who died too young, Terry Fox.
Rolf Petterson Drive is named in his honour, and you can see the Rolf Petterson Memorial Trophy on display at the Prince George Public Library.
In the 1970s, the Prince George Mohawks were a recognized dynasty in B.C. amateur hockey, winning the provincial senior A championship (the Coy Cup) four times in six seasons.
But they weren’t finished there. Following their fourth Coy Cup in 1977-1978, the Mohawks went on to win the national senior title, bringing home the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s Hardy Cup. With the Canadian championship under their belt, the Mohawks traveled to Japan, where they proudly represented their home country at an international tournament.
The pride and winning tradition of the Mohawks is still alive in Prince George. Several members of that championship team continue to reside in the city, making an active contribution in both the business and sporting communities, volunteering hundreds of hours to amateur sports as coaches, managers and association executives.
As Oldtimers, the Mohawks still compete in several hockey tournaments each year.
As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Mohawks' Canadian championship, it seems only natural that they be inducted as inaugural members of the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to the players and the organization that made Prince George a national hockey champion.