Hoops class of 2007

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

With the memories of championships and friendships bouncing around the Duckworth Centre yesterday, the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame announced that four athletes, four builders and two teams will be inducted as the Class of 2007 this fall.

One of the more notable names on the list is former Brandon University Bobcats head coach Jerry Hemmings. After coaching the Bobcats for 29 years and winning 734 games and four national championships, he will go in as a builder.

"It's a great honour to be inducted with a lot of great basketball people," Hemmings said.

"Any time you're inducted as a builder or a coach, you have to realize it's not about you because you can't do it alone. I had a lot of great players over the years and had some good coaches work with me. It's kind of a group effort. I don't only represent myself, I represent them also."

Other builders include the creators of Harv-Al Sportswear, Harvey Lipkin and Al Rimer, and long time high school coaches Duane Whyte and Lorna Robertson. Whyte led the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School's varsity boys team to five provincial championships, while Robertson won an astounding eight provincial titles with the Hamiota Huskies girls varsity team, which is also being inducted for their run of seven MHSAA 'A' championships in eight seasons from 1986-87 to 1993-94.

"It's exciting for me, but more for my team," Robertson said. "They were all young girls and they really enjoyed playing.

"Sometimes now it's like a blur. They were all good years."

Robertson, who is now retired, added the winning in Hamiota began long before the 80s.

"We have a lot of pennants on our wall because we won many years," she said. "In '61 and '64 they came into Winnipeg and won everything when basketball was just getting started."

It seems in Hamiota that winning fuelled more and more championships.

"There is a tradition when the kids walk into the gym," Robertson said.

The other team to go in is the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women's team that won three straight national titles from 1992-93 to 1994-95. That stretch also included a streak of 88 straight wins, which still stands as a North American women's record.

"We had gone into Alberta for the first set of exhibition games I believe in October and we actually lost the first game. The next night we ended up winning and from there it was just history," said Tanya McKay, who is the current head coach of the Wesmen women's basketball team and was an assistant coach on the 1992-93 team.

The Wesmen will also be represented in the athlete category by alumnus Sandra Carroll, who was part of those three national titles and was a three-time CIS player of the year. She currently plays professionally in Germany.

Another Wesmen and former CIS player of the year in 1993-94, Jeff Foreman will also be inducted, as will former Brandon Bobcat Sandra Hamilton and former Manitoba Bison Eric Bridgeland, who is now an assistant coach at Pepperdine University in California.

The induction ceremony will take place on Oct. 20 at the Radisson Hotel.


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