Twenty-five years after winning the first ever world junior women’s curling championship, Kelowna’s Julie Sutton rink has earned a permanent place in the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame.
Skip Julie Sutton (Skinner), third Judy Wood (Conway), second Susan Auty (Hamilton), lead Marla Geiger (Mallett) and coach Dan Martell were officially enshrined in the team category Thursday morning at the hall’s 2013 induction ceremony at the Coast Capri Hotel.
Representing the Kelowna Curling Club, the Sutton rink won both the 1987 B.C. and Canadian junior titles then, in 1988, claimed the world junior women’s championship in Chamonix, France.
“I feel very privileged and honoured to have spent two years with these ladies and Dan,” said Sutton who lives in Victoria. “This team was all about fun and all about winning. It’s really hard to believe it was 25 years ago this happened.”
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 transferred 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.
“I was blessed to grow up in Kelowna, we had just wonderful competition here,” said Aynsley. “It all comes down to coaches, and I had great coaching everywhere I went.
“Sport teaches you so many wonderful lessons,” he added, “it’s perseverance, planning, dedication, respect for each other. I’m really humbled to receive an award like this.”
• 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.
In 1976, he was the second overall pick in the NHL amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chapman 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 before injuries ended his career.
Unable to attend the event due to his wife’s illness, Blair was represented by his dad, Ken Chapman, who accepted the award on his behalf.
• Wayne North—Builder
North promoted, maintained and helped junior hockey 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 during the 1970-71 season.
Under North’s guidance, the Buckaroos won the 1973-74 BCHL title, the Mowat Cup and the Doyle Cup.
North commended his former players for their character, on and off the ice.
“We’re proud of the teams we had, and the solid citizens we had,” said North, “not necessarily to play hockey but just to be solid, community-minded people.”
Twenty Buckaroos during North’s tenure made it to the NHL, including Greg Adams, Doug Berry, Blair Chapman, Curt Fraser and Greg Fox, while many others earned college scholarships.