Inc-Roy-able Canadian Hall class

Freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard (back left to right), ex-NHLer Patrick Roy, race car driver...

Freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard (back left to right), ex-NHLer Patrick Roy, race car driver Jacques Villeneuve and wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc (bottom) were all smiles as they were inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:23 AM ET

Patrick Roy returned to the place where his career took off while he was down on his knees.

As a goalie who made the butterfly style famous and proved it could work, Roy helped the Montreal Canadiens defeat the Calgary Flames in the 1986 Stanley Cup finals.

So it was fitting that the three-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner returned to Calgary Wednesday for induction into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

“That was a key moment in my career,” Roy said. “Winning in 1986, it gave a lift every young player needs. I was a rookie, and you want to establish yourself.

“By winning the Stanley Cup in your first year, it proved to the world that you can make a difference when crunch time comes.”

Roy was inducted Wednesday along with race car driver Jacques Villeneuve, freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard, speed skater/cyclist Clara Hughes, gymnast Kyle Shewfelt and wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc. The late Bob Ackles and Dr. Roger Jackson were inducted as builders.

Despite being told he spent too much time on his knees, Roy never changed his style and he credits goalie coach Francois Allaire with supporting him during his early years.

Like many of the other inductees, Roy changed his sport during the course of his career, and he was honoured to share the stage with this group.

“Hockey is so popular in Canada, sometimes it overshadows the others sports,” said Roy, who is now the co-owner, general manager and head coach of the junior Quebec Ramparts.

“It’s great to look at who is in the Hall of Fame with me. It helps me appreciate how hard these people work to get there and be so successful.”

Shewfelt couldn’t believe he was seated next to Roy and Villeneuve at the news conference head table.

He’s the first artistic gymnast in the Hall and, being a Calgarian, he can take his friends to it when it opens in June 2011 at Canada Olympic Park.

“Is this really happening?” Shewfelt said.

“This is a huge honour for myself and my family. I can’t tell you how happy my mom and dad are that all those bingos they worked have paid off. The dream came true.”

The Calgary Olympics in 1988 created a legacy that will now house the Hall as it relocates, but those Games inspired countless Canadian athletes.

One of those was Brassard, who saw Jean-Marc Rozon win the demonstration gold in aerials and wanted to be him.

“As a kid, I watched that on TV and it changed my life,” said Brassard, who grew up in Valleyfield, Que., and won gold in moguls at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer.

“I wanted to feel that once in my life.”

Villeneuve, who’s still an active driver, will head into the Hall to join his father Gilles Villeneuve, who passed away during a crash in 1982.

This is a special honour to Villeneuve, who plans on bringing his two sons to Calgary after the Hall opens.

“I’ve always known what my dad meant and represented,” Villeneauve said. “You never realize what you could mean as well. When you are in the middle of it, you are racing because you want to win, not because you want to be recognized.

“There comes a point in your life when you take a step back and you see the effect you’ve had on people.”

Hughes and Petitclerc are two of the most decorated Canadians athletes of all-time.

Hughes is the only person to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Games, while Petitclerc holds five Paralympic records among her 21 medals over five Games.

“As a Paralympic athlete, this is such a great achievement,” Petitclerc said. “As a country, we should be proud that we do recognize our Paralympic sports and athletes the same way we recognize our Olympic athletes.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos