The road to the 1988 world junior women’s curling championship is a journey the members of Julie Sutton rink are unlikely to ever forget.
Twenty-five years later, the Kelowna team is being honoured for its on-ice exploits as one of four new inductees into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame.
The Sutton rink won both the 1987 B.C. and Canadian junior titles then, in 1988, claimed the first ever world junior women’s championship in Chamonix, France.
Skip Julie Sutton (Skinner), was joined by Judy Wood (Conway), second Susan Auty (Hamilton), lead Marla Geiger (Mallett) and coach Dan Martell for one magical year of curling.
The Sutton rink, along with the three other 2013 inductees, were introduced to the media on Tuesday morning at the Kelowna Museum.
“To have this happen now, really means a lot to us,” said Judy Wood (Conway), the third on the Sutton rink. “Because at the time we were so involved with everything, we were busy curling and winning, and just in the moment. But now with reflection and time and the work we put in, and to see all the work that was put in by the people who were behind us, it’s a nice honour and recognition. Now that the years have passed, we can really understand what we did.”
The other 2013 inductees are:
• Brock Aynsley—Athlete
A standout track and field athlete in high school in Kelowna, Aynsley competed for Canada at the 1971 Pan American Games and attended the 1972 Olympic Games trials.
Later, he shifted his skills to football where he played eight seasons in the Canadian Football League. Aynsley played with the B.C. Lions, Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger Cats. In 1977, Aynsley earned a Grey Cup ring as a member of the Alouettes and was named an Eastern Conference all-star.
Aynsley, who is honoured by the recognition, has fond memories of his time spent playing pro football.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Aynsley. “The league in those days was different, not the competition, but it was just tougher I think in some ways as a receiver.
“I met some great people, played on some great teams and was coached by some wonderful people, too.”
• Blair Chapman—Athlete
Chapman played minor hockey in Kelowna before moving on to play with the BCHL’s Kelowna Buckaroos during the 1972-73 season.
With the Saskatoon Blades he became one of junior hockey’s most prolific scorers, winning the WHL scoring title in 1975-76 with 71 goals and 157 points. Chapman still holds the WHL record for playoff goals in a season with 24.
In 1976, he was the second overall pick in the NHL amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He played in the NHL with Pittsburgh and St. Louis between 1976 and 1983 and scored 110 goals and 241 points in more than 400 games.
• Wayne North-Builder
North promoted, maintained and helped junior hockey to succeed in the Central Okanagan for more than a decade. He was the owner and general manager of the BCHL’s Kelowna Buckaroos from 1971 to 1983, and also coached the team in 1970-71.
Under North’s guidance, the Buckaroos won the 1973-74 BCHL title, the Mowat Cup and the Doyle.
Fifteen Buckaroos during North’s era made it to the NHL, including Greg Adams, Doug Berry, Blair Chapman, Curt Fraser and Greg Fox, while many others earned college scholarships.
North is humbled by his induction into the COSHF.
“It’s quite an honour because we’re associated with so many great people that have been involved in sports here in the past,” said North. “It’s certainly an honour and very humbling.”
North and the other inductees will be officially enshrined into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum during a ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Coast Capri Hotel beginning at 7 a.m.
Tickets for the gala will be available at the Okanagan Heritage Museum, 470 Queensway Ave., in Kelowna.