Frisco, TX (August 21, 2018) – The National Soccer Hall of Fame and NEC Corporation of America (NEC) today announced a unique, facial recognition-enabled guest experience for visitors to the Hall of Fame which is scheduled to open to the public on October 24, 2018.

Powered by NEC and its NeoFace® facial recognition software, National Soccer Hall of Fame guests will experience a custom-tailored tour unlike anything they’ve experienced in a sports setting.

“Leveraging NEC’s acclaimed and industry-leading facial recognition technology as the software engine, our aim is to provide the most personalized experience in sports,” said Executive Director of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Djorn Buchholz.

With this partnership, NEC and the National Soccer Hall of Fame are the first to use facial recognition technology to individualize a guest’s experience in a sports and entertainment venue. Guests will benefit from facial recognition the moment they enter the National Soccer Hall of Fame where they will be prompted upon check-in to share their hometown, favorite soccer position, favorite U.S. teams and their level of fandom. Based on that information, digital touch screens, virtual reality and gesture technology inside of the Hall of Fame will recognize guests using the NeoFace® facial recognition software which will personalize each visit based on their individual preference.

”We are honored and excited to be working with the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas,” said Mark Ikeno, President and CEO of NEC Corporation of America. “With the opening of the Hall of Fame, soccer fans will be able to experience their favorite teams, players and moments in soccer history by just walking up to the various exhibits after registering with the system. We believe this experience is unique in the sports world.”

NEC’s facial recognition solutions were ranked number one in performance tests by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. It has been used by the LPGA and will be used in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games.

NEC serves as a Signature Partner of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, FC Dallas and Toyota Stadium.

About the National Soccer Hall of Fame
The National Soccer Hall of Fame was originally founded in 1950 by the Philadelphia Old-Timers Association. In 1979, the National Soccer Museum, as a physical entity, was established in Oneonta, NY and was officially recognized as the National Soccer Hall of Fame by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 1983.

In June of 1999, the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a 30,000 square-foot museum in Oneonta where it housed a collection of more than 80,000 items before closing in February of 2010.

In 2013 FC Dallas owners, Clark and Dan Hunt, launched a campaign to bring the Hall of Fame to Frisco, TX. Their late father, Lamar Hunt, was inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, he received the Hall’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He remains one of only three individuals to have won the award.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame Weekend presented by Budweiser is October 20-21, 2018 featuring the 2018 Induction Ceremony and a concert by Imagine Dragons on Saturday, October 20 followed by the Hall of Fame game featuring FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, October 21.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is scheduled to open to the public on October 24, 2018. For more information, please visit

About NEC Corporation of America
NEC Corporation of America (NEC) is a leading technology integrator providing solutions that improve the way people work and communicate. NEC delivers integrated Solutions for Society that are aligned with our customers’ priorities to create new value for people, businesses and society, with a special focus on safety, security and efficiency. We deliver one of the industry’s strongest and most innovative portfolios of communications, analytics, security, biometrics and technology solutions that unleash customers’ productivity potential. Through these solutions, NEC combines its best-in-class solutions and technology, and leverages a robust partner ecosystem to solve today’s most complex business problems. NEC Corporation of America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a global technology leader with a presence in 160 countries and $25 billion in revenues. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts: 
John Wise, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, NEC Corporation of America – 214-262-6385
Gina Miller, VP of Media & Communications, National Soccer Hall of Fame/FC Dallas– 469-365-0198

Series to Benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame 

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the renewal of the historic series between the UConn Huskies and the Tennessee Lady Vols, starting in the 2019-20 season. As a longstanding rivalry, the teams consistently met from 1995-2007, but have not faced each other since. Widely regarded as the two most successful women’s programs in the country, UConn and Tennessee account for 19 National Championships, dozens of impact players in the WNBA and many of the sport’s all-time greats. 

“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate all levels of the game for both men and women,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “When it comes to women’s college hoops, there’s no match-up more highly anticipated than that of UConn versus Tennessee. We’re so proud to unite these teams in a contest benefitting great causes and honoring the late Hall of Famer Pat Summitt.” 

As part of the two-year series, UConn will host Tennessee during the 2019-20 season, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In the 2020-21 season, the Lady Vols will host the Huskies in Knoxville, with a portion of the proceeds again benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. 

We are so excited to join UConn for games that will generate incredible interest for women’s basketball and benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick said. “Basketball fans will be intrigued to watch these two programs meet on the court again, and I know Lady Vols and Huskies fans will be eager to pack arenas, cheer on their teams and make a difference for some very worthy causes, including one bearing the name of my coach, mentor and friend.” 

UConn head Coach Geno Auriemma echoed this by saying, “I am happy to have the Lady Vols back on our schedule and am thrilled that proceeds to our games will benefit such an important endeavor like the Pat Summitt Foundation. I know our fans will be excited to renew the rivalry with Tennessee and expect them to fill the building for some good basketball and a great cause.” 

The games will be televised and supported worldwide by the ESPN family of networks. 

“It is only fitting that this game returns to ESPN,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “’For the Good of the Game’ was Pat Summitt’s famous quote back in 1994 when accepting the challenge to travel to Connecticut in January 1995. The two teams faced each other twice that season, with UConn going undefeated and ultimately defeating the Lady Vols to win their first national championship. In those moments, one of the richest rivalries in women’s basketball was born. We look forward to showcasing this event during the annual We Back Pat week.” 

Game dates, ticket information and any ancillary events will be released at a later date. 

About Pat Summitt Foundation: 

The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, was established by Pat and Tyler Summitt in November 2011. Its mission is to award grants to non-profit organizations that advance research for treatment and a cure, provide support for patients and caregivers, and educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease. In 2015, The Pat Summitt Foundation formed a strategic partnership with The University of Tennessee Medical Center to create The Pat Summitt Clinic. The clinic, which opened in January 2017, greatly improves access to healthcare services for families and patients facing Alzheimer’s disease in a facility created to advance Alzheimer’s research, detection, treatment, and family caregiver support. To learn more, please visit, like the foundation on, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram @webackpat. 

About Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame: 

Discover the past, present and future of women’s basketball in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is the world’s only hall of fame dedicated solely to the accomplishments of women’s basketball. To learn more, please visit or, and follow on Twitter and Instagram @wbhof. 

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: 

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage. 

For more information: 

Visit us on the web: 

… on Facebook: 

… on Twitter/Instagram: @hoophall #HOFBenefit 

… or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA 

Celebrating the 2018 Induction Banquet

The annual Induction Banquet took place on June 1st, 2018 in Red Deer, Alberta. More than 600 guests from across Alberta, Canada, and the World attended this annual gala event to honour Alberta’s great athletes, sport builders, pioneers, and media personnel.

This year’s theme was 1920s, including flapper dresses, feathers, and pearls.  Everyone seemed to embrace the theme and had fun posing with props and a classic car at the photobooth.

Next Year’s Banquet: May 31, 2019

2018 Inductees:

Doug Barkley                     Hockey Athlete/Builder
Keely Brown                      Ringette Athlete
Leighann Doan Reimer Basketball Athlete
Theoren ‘Theo’ Fleury    Hockey Athlete
Cindy Klassen                    Speed Skating Athlete
Phil Allen*                           Basketball Builder
Dave King                            Hockey Builder
Dr. Lorne Sawula              Volleyball Builder
Calgary Colts 1989 & 1990 Junior Football Team
Stuart Erskine                    Achievement Award, Mountaineer
Dianne Finstad                  Bell Memorial Award
Robert ‘Bob’ Davies         Pioneer Award, Basketball

What’s New at the ASHFM:

We are super excited to welcome three summer staff: Summer Coordinator Jenna Dudar, Summer Collections & Research Assistant Matt Zentner, and Summer Education Coordinator Lisa Martell.  Looking forward to the wonderful things we will accomplish together this summer.

ASHFM has made some changes to the Nomination process.  Packages are due September 30th 2018 and the new Inductees will be announced November 2018.  The Induction Banquet has not changed dates and we will be celebrating the 2019 Inductees on May 31, 2019.


The 60th Anniversary exhibits from 2017 have all come down, which has given us the opportunity to change nearly every exhibit in the museum.  Our Feature Exhibit ‘The Games We Play’ welcomes visitors to step back in time and explore the games we loved as Gallery currently hosts exhibits about our Teams and the Honoured Members.  We are exceptionally proud of all of our teams and the success they have achieved in their sports.

In the months leading up to the Canada Winter Games on February 15 – March 3, 2019, there will be several exhibits rotating through all of the 19 official sports.  We’re also excited to welcome Special Olympics to our Sporting Organization Showcase in July to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.


We have started a De-accession Project.  All items that complete the process will be listed through the CASH list-serve in order to keep in the public trust.

Golf Tournament:

The ASHFM hosted its 26th annual Golf Tournament on August 9th, 2018.  Another gorgeous day at the Innisfail Golf Course with over 112 amazing Golfers.  Great food, beautiful views, and some amazing prizes. Joining us on the course were several 2018 Inductees, including Doug Barkley, Stuart Erskine, Dianne Finstad, Bob Davies, Theo Fleury, and Calgary Colts member Dino Mariani.  Congratulations to the 2018 winners the Wecker Plumbing team!

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 4, 2018) – The rodeo world recognized its royalty Saturday, as the ProRodeo Hall of Fame opened its doors to the 10-member 2018 induction class.

Headlining the class were team roping stars Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, who won eight consecutive PRCA world championships together from 1997-2004.

Williams and Skelton were joined by gold buckle-winner Deb Greenough (bareback riding, 1993), contract personnel recipient Leon Coffee, stock contractor Billy Minick, rodeo notable Walt Garrison and the committee for the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, S.D., as the PRCA inductees.

For the second time in the history of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame – 2017 being the first -barrel racers from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) were among the class of inductees. The class included Kristie Peterson, Billie McBride and a WPRA equine inductee French Flash Hawk (Bozo).

In addition to the 10 inductees, former PRCA Chief Operating Officer Kay Bleakly received the Ken Stemler Pioneer Award, which honors individuals in recognition of their groundbreaking, innovative ideas and forward thinking.


Williams and Skelton were the pinnacle of team roping for nearly a decade. Saturday, they were soaking in their rodeo immortality.

“(Friday night) was really cool (at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame) seeing all these people who are going into the Hall of Fame with you and you got to know people who you may have not met before,” Skelton said. “I had a lot of friends and family there, and it was great. This puts an exclamation point on my career. I won the world championships, the NFR average and won the circuits and did everything I wanted to, and now this finishes off my career, even though I’m still going.”

Williams qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 15 times (1988, 1994, 1996-2008), and Skelton has 22 NFR qualifications on his résumé (1990-2006, 2009-10, 2013-15).

“I think this (being inducted into the Hall of Fame) will be really neat for my kids and grandkids to see what we accomplished in the sport of rodeo,” Williams said.

“I was one of the first guys that could get it on them fast and handle the steers. Changing the game and developing a new way to do things, I take a lot of pride in being able to foresee some of the things we could do to improve. That part is neat, looking back, and now watching all the guys at the NFR basically come over the top of the chute and throw their rope when the barrier rope pulls. If you don’t do that you’re not going to be at the NFR many times.”


Greenough qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 13 consecutive years (1988-2000), tied with Joe Alexander for the fifth-most bareback riding NFR qualifications in PRCA history. His 15 career NFR go-round wins at the NFR is also fifth most in his event. Greenough won a bareback riding world title in 1993 and an NFR average title in 1992.

Greenough was also known for his success within the Montana Circuit, where he won 12 collective circuit titles. Greenough remains tied for the most National Circuit Finals Rodeo wins among all bareback riders with three career wins (1995-96 and 1999).

“There are a lot of things going through my mind, and the main thing is that this is something you never even expected or dreamed about,” Greenough said. “Ever since I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was rodeo, and I was fortunate enough to be able to do that. I had a good time and I still miss it (competing). This came along (being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame) and I was choked up again. Hearing people clapping, you miss that sound.

“There are no other jobs out there in the work force that I can think of where you get that kind of treatment. I never really looked at it as a job, I looked at it as a passion, and I was just lucky to have a pretty successful career at it. I never even dreamed of this, but holy cow this is awesome.”


Peterson, a four-time world champion, and her great horse French Flash Hawk, better known as Bozo, fittingly went into the Hall together. Following on the heels of Charmayne James and her great horse, Scamper, it was Peterson and Bozo that ended James’ streak of 10 straight world titles, capturing their first of four world titles in 1994.

Although Peterson and Bozo were not successful in defending their title in 1995, the duo would return to the top of the sport in 1996, and then win three straight gold buckles.

“Bozo was an amazing animal, but it took Kristie’s ability to respect Bozo’s personality that made Bozo the champion he was,” Elisabeth Hollmann said. “The fact they are being inducted at the same time is perfect because without the other one, neither of them would have had that career.”

Peterson purchased Bozo for $400 in 1989.

“It’s a tremendous legacy to my parents, James and Frances Loiseau, they started with one mare and from there they built a dynasty of performance horses,” Hollmann said. “Kristie and Bozo brought national attention to that, and we are forever grateful to Kristie and Bozo.”

“I am proud to leave a legacy, especially since I have eight grandkids and seven of them are girls,” Peterson said. “I’m glad I rodeoed at the time I did, it was when team ropers and barrel racers were granted equal pay and that’s an important milestone in rodeo.

“My parents took my brother and me to rodeos in the summer, and without their sacrifice I couldn’t have done what I did,” Peterson said.


McBride accompanies Peterson and Bozo in the Hall as another four-time WPRA champion. She will be inducted posthumously, having passed away at the age of 90 on May 10, 2017.

McBride first saw barrel racing at an open rodeo event in 1937 and decided at 10 years old that it was the path she wanted to travel. McBride was a charter member of the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA), formed in her hometown of San Angelo, Texas, just over a decade later.

“What a wonderful day the Lord has made on behalf of my mother, and I want to sincerely thank everyone in the selection process for including her in this great group,” said Alva Jean Meek, McBride’s daughter. “Mother would be beyond thrilled, and she was excited to hear when the PRCA began inducting WPRA members last year.

“Thank you again, WPRA, the Hall of Fame and PRCA for helping preserve her memory. I guarantee she’s on Cloud 9 today.”


PRCA Gold Card Member Coffee is one of only three cowboys to be both a barrelman and a bullfighter at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Now he’s inducted in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame for a career that’s still going strong.

“It means everything, it’s the culmination of a career. I didn’t plan on getting to here,” said Coffee, 63.

Since 1973, Coffee fought bulls at the NFR twice (1979, 1984) and was a barrelman at the NFR in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Coffee won PRCA Clown of the Year in 1983 and was in the top three every year from 1984-2001. Coffee also worked at the first National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 1987, the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo (1980-82, 1992, 1996-97, 2003-04) and the Canadian Finals Rodeo twice (1985-86).

“Some of them are dinosaurs,” Coffee joked of the Hall of Fame inductees. “But they’re an important part of the past and being a dinosaur isn’t a bad thing. That’s what we are now, we have been there and done that, and to know that I’m in the midst of people like Jim Shoulders and Dean Oliver, in 20 years there will be guys getting inducted into the Hall and they will say ‘I’m in the midst of Leon Coffee.'”


Garrison was two types of cowboy, a fullback with the Dallas Cowboys and a ProRodeo competitor. He combined his stardom with football and rodeo to raise more than $4 million for multiple sclerosis with his Walt Garrison All Star Rodeos for more than 20 years.

“I always liked rodeo, but the main thing I always liked was the (rodeo) cowboys, because they would tell you the truth on a steer or a horse or anything, even though they are trying to beat you,” Garrison said.

Garrison received a football scholarship to Oklahoma State University. In 1966, he was drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys. Part of his signing bonus with the Cowboys included a horse trailer and a Pontiac Grand Prix.

Garrison recalled what it was like to balance professional football and ProRodeo during his days as a Dallas Cowboy.

“There was a weekly rodeo in Mesquite (Texas) and after our team meeting on Saturday night most of my teammates went home to spend time with their wives; I went to Mesquite to bulldog,” Garrison said. “I told Neal Gay I had to be up during the rodeo – not because I had an ego and wanted fans to see me – because I wouldn’t be able to make curfew for the Cowboys if I didn’t compete during the performance.”

The Texas cowboy was instrumental in the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco program which sponsored individual cowboys and provided scholarships for college rodeo athletes. His charitable involvement also included, at the time of his induction, serving on the board of directors for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund for more than two decades.


Minick began his ProRodeo career in 1959, joining the Rodeo Cowboys Association after winning titles in both high school and college. He made his PRCA debut at the Mesquite (Texas) Championship Rodeo.

At the peak of his rodeo career, Minick qualified for the National Finals Rodeo as a bull rider in 1966. That season, he finished fourth in the world standings.

Although Minick reached the NFR as a contestant, that wasn’t his calling. His biggest contribution to rodeo came as a stock contractor.

In 1968, Minick purchased the Harry Knight Rodeo Company from Knight and legendary entertainer Gene Autry.

The Billy Minick Rodeo Company produced top NFR bucking stock from 1968-76, including saddle bronc horse Streamer in 1972 and the bull Tiger in 1973. Tiger, considered one of the rankest bulls of all time, also won Bull of the Year in 1974.

Through the years, Minick helped to produce rodeos such as the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo, Rodeo Houston, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the Santa Rosa Roundup (Vernon, Texas), and Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.

Minick also hosted the inaugural Justin Cowboy Crisis fundraiser with John Justin and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

“Pam (his wife) and I received a tremendous amount of awards and most of those awards were due to the people who worked for us,” Minick said. “Awards don’t define who you are, but let me tell you the (ProRodeo) Hall of Fame is the Holy Grail to Pam and me. All I ever wanted to do was be a cowboy and marry a cowgirl, and I got that accomplished.”


The Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, S.D., started when 15,000 people gathered in a field in Belle Fourche to raise money for World War I in 1918. At the time, the population of Belle Fourche was 1,410.

The next year marked the first time the rodeo took place.

The large number of people to attend continues today, with an estimated 10,000-15,000 attending a parade during rodeo week in the town of about 6,000.

The historic rodeo, which is 100 percent volunteer-run, also boasts that President Calvin Coolidge attended in 1927.

“I was out in the calving pasture, where cell service is slim to none,” said Clay Crago, Black Hills Roundup Chairman. “I always take my phone just in case, I can get on a hill and call for help. I happened to be up there, and the phone rang. I saw it was a call from Colorado Springs. I thought, ‘Oh, another dang telemarketer.’ But I answered it and got service. I was kind of at a loss for words (learning we were in the Hall). It was cool to be out doing what I loved and get that phone call for the rodeo that we put so much time in for.”

Now the Black Hills Roundup can add ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee to its résumé as it prepares for its 100th year of the rodeo in 2019.


With the 2018 class included, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame has enshrined 267 people, 34 animals and 29 rodeo committees.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – “Leave it to Beaver” isn’t just the name of a TV show anymore.

Of the 507 entries in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s “Name the Colt” contest, Leave it to Beaver was the winning name.

“That’s a great name, I think it’s perfect for a big stud that’s hopefully going to do great things,” said Kirsten Vold, who runs Harry Vold Rodeo Company of Avondale, CO, which owns the horse.

Naming the colt was a two-fold process. First, guests to the Hall of Fame suggested names before PRCA staff voted to narrow it to four choices. Then, on the first weekend of August, the 2018 class of inductees into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame voted for their favorite of the four names.

The name was submitted by John Nagel, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and he was the only one to suggest Leave it to Beaver. Some suggested names were submitted by more than one person. Nagel’s prize was $200 worth of PRCA and ProRodeo Hall of Fame gift cards and merchandise.

“I just looked at his parents’ names and tried to come up with something from them,” said Nagel. “Then I remembered the television show and thought that would be a good one.

The colt was born May 15 to Beaver Tail. Painted Valley, the 2010 PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year, was the sire. Beaver Tail has been bucked as a bareback and saddle bronc horse and bucked off several cowboys at large rodeos, including Prescott, Ariz., and Cheyenne, Wyo. Beaver Tail’s first colt, 6V Pillow Talk, became a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo participant.

“It sounds like it was a great way to get the visitors involved, and that’s a great name for him,” Vold said. “We usually do a combination of the lineage. There are a lot of Valleys with our horses because of Painted Valley. But you can only have so many Valleys in your herd, so you’ll do something from pop culture. I’m sure he’ll just become Beaver or The Beav. Where’s the Beav?”



On July 21 and 22, the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum presented by Dinsmore honored three new members with induction. In a pregame ceremony on Saturday, July 21, manager Dave Bristol, outfielder Adam Dunn, and pitcher Fred Norman were presented with their Hall of Fame plaques in front of their fellow Hall of Famers, family, and Reds fans. On Sunday, July 22, the Hall welcomed the current Reds team, more than 20 Reds Hall of Famers, and almost 1,100 guests to a star-studded Induction Gala at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.  The weekend serves as the Hall’s largest fundraiser every other year and provides an opportunity to fulfill its mission of Celebrating Greatness, Preserving History, and Providing Inspiration across generations of Reds fans.

Induction Weekend 2018 was presented by PNC Bank and the 2018 Induction Gala was presented by Clark Schaefer Hackett.

On July 26 the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame presented a major event called One Night Only: The Top 15 to honour the Top 15 Nova Scotia athletes of all time and celebrate Nova Scotia sport.

Sponsored by Scotiabank Centre and media sponsor The Chronicle Herald, One Night Only was held at the Halifax Convention Centre. Members from the Top 15 list shared their stories with event emcee and Hall of Fame CEO Bruce Rainnie. These honoured guests included the athlete voted #1 in Nova Scotia history, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby of Cole Harbour.

The other athletes in attendance were curling legend Colleen Jones of Halifax, Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis of Port Hood, Olympic medallist for canoeing Steve Giles of Lake Echo, Kayaking World Champion Karen Furneaux of Waverley, Canada’s top gymnast Ellie Black of Halifax, Paralympic gold-medallist Jamie Bone of Dartmouth, and Olympic medallist for kayaking Mark De Jonge of Halifax. International softball star Mark Smith of Halifax provided a pre-recorded message to the crowd via video.

Proceeds from the event were shared by the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and The Sidney Crosby Foundation. The crowd of 1,200 people at the dinner experienced the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the province’s greatest athletes all share their stories at one incredible event, as well as a surprise musical performance by Nova Scotia legend Jimmy Rankin.

The Hall of Fame launched the Top 15 project in 2017 in order to honour Nova Scotia’s rich sport heritage during Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. A panel of sport-knowledgeable people, along with a public vote, named and ranked the 15 greatest Nova Scotia athletes of all time, who were then revealed weekly on CBC Nova Scotia from September 11 to December 18. The Top 15 athletes (in order from fifteenth to first) are: Rob McCall, Mark De Jonge, Jamie Bone, Ellie Black, Karen Furneaux, Mark Smith, Steve Giles, Aileen Meagher, Johnny Miles, George Dixon, Sam Langford, Nancy Garapick, Al MacInnis, Colleen Jones and Sidney Crosby. The Top 15 exhibit will remain on display at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame for the rest of 2018.

On July 13 the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame launched its newly published book The Top 15: Nova Scotia’s Greatest Athletes. The book follows the countdown of Nova Scotia’s Top 15 athletes of all time, a project that took place in the fall of 2017. Proceeds from the book will be split between the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. Books are available for purchase on Amazon Canada, through Indigo, at Bookmark in Halifax, and at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.

Book Description (provided by Nimbus):
“At 18, Sidney Crosby became the youngest player in NHL history to record 100 points in one season. At 29, he scored his 1000th NHL point, won his third Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and was named playoff MVP. It is probably no surprise that Crosby is No. 1 on this list of Nova Scotia’s Top 15 athletes, as compiled by the province’s Sport Hall of Fame. But what other athletes have done the remarkable and, times, the impossible? This book selects athletes from hockey, boxing, swimming, and other sports and ranks them—a formidable task bound to generate debate. Who is to say if gymnast Ellie Black is better than swimmer Nancy Garapick, or NHLer Al MacInnis greater than boxing legend Sam Langford? The authors acknowledge that ranking greatness is subjective, so, in addition to the Top 15 Athletes, the book includes 15 honourable mentions, as well as fascinating sidebars such as “15 Memorable Moments in Nova Scotia Sport” and “15 Great Nova Scotia Athletes Under the Age of 25.” There is something for every sports fan in this photo-rich keepsake book packed with names, images, and little-known facts.”