Sports Hall opens doors

Cassie Campbell, who led Canada's women's hockey team to two Olympic gold medals and one silver...

Cassie Campbell, who led Canada's women's hockey team to two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal, will be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Friday. (Sun Media File/Stuart Dryden)

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 3:19 PM ET

Back in 1991, a then 17-year-old Cassie Campbell was suiting up to play for her native Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown, P.E.I., when she heard that women's hockey was going to be made an official Olympic sport in time for Nagano in 1998.

It was a defining moment for Campbell, who will be inducted tomorrow into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame along with seven other national sports heroes.

"A lot of my friends in hockey at the time had already made up their minds to move on with their lives," she said. "The dream of playing girls hockey for at the Olympic level just seemed too distant to focus on."

But upon hearing the IOC decision in Charlottetown, Campbell made up her mind that if there was going to be hockey in the Olympics, she wanted to be part of it.

She went on to earn a berth on that first Olympic squad, only to lose in the gold-medal match, 3-1, to the rival American girls.

Undeterred, Campbell assumed the role of team captain four years later and redeemed the nation's pride by beating those same Americans 3-2 in the gold-medal final at Salt Lake City. Then, in 2006, she led Canada to a 4-1 gold-medal win over Sweden at Turin, Italy.

Along the way, Campbell also amassed a total of seven world championships before retiring from competitive hockey in 2006.

Her trail-blazing continued, however, after joining Hockey Night in Canada where she became the first female colour commentator for the iconic broadcast on Oct. 14, 2006.

And she continues to give back to the hockey community both by coaching young girls and speaking to groups about the value of sport.

"I think it's important to give back to the game," she said yesterday from her home in Calgary. "Everybody who has played on the national team will tell you the same thing."

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SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

DANIEL IGALI

The Nigerian-born Igali came to Canada in 1994 to compete in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games and never left. He compiled a staggering 116-0 record at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University and went on to become world champion in 1999 at the 69-kg class. He won an Olympic gold medal in 2000 at Sydney.

MIKE BOSSY

The four-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders, Bossy became part of hockey history when he scored 50 goals in the first 50 games of the 1980-81 National Hockey League season, the first player to do so since Maurice (Rocket) Richard accomplished the feat in 1944-45.

BECKIE SCOTT

The Vermilion, Alta., native won a gold medal in cross-country skiing in the 5K pursuit at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. She finished third, but the two skiers in front of her subsequently tested positive for banned substances.

The Eston, Sask., native was the founding president of the International Paralympic Committee and has been an advocate for wheelchair athletes for more than two decades. Thanks to him, those who are disabled but still eager to play sports have been given the means to do so.

LARRY WALKER

A major-league career .300 hitter, Maple Ridge, B.C., native Walker may well be the finest baseball player in Canada's history. Walker was a three-time batting champion in the National League (1998, 1999, 2001) and a seven-time Golde Glove winner with three different teams.

SAM JACKS

In the winter of 1963, Jacks was looking for a sport girls could play indoors in North Bay and came up with ringette, a sport now played across Canada and around the world. The world championship trophy is named in his honour.

DOUG FLUTIE

A native of Boston, Flutie played in the Canadian Football League for eight years (1990-97), setting single-season records for touchdowns (48) and passing yards (6,619). He won three Grey Cups, winning MVP each time. He also was named most outstanding player of the year six times.


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