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Community Commitment with a Fighting Spirit

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The Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Every year, the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame celebrates remarkable community commitment and honours the history of sport in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Consisting of an athlete, a coach and two builders, the latest names to enter the Hall are shining examples of just how important sport is to the growth and quality of life in our community.

Ben Sauve, Coach
A Fort McMurray resident for nearly two decades, Ben Sauve has trained thousands of local figure skaters as a professional skating coach with the Noralta Skating Club. His coaching credentials rank among the highest in the country and his skaters have won hundreds of medals at competitions around the country. Five have won provincial championships in various age categories, while several reached the podium on the national stage. Sauve has also twice coached the Alberta North Figure Skating Team at the Arctic Winter Games.

“I’ve always personally been of the belief that when your athletes are winning they don’t really need you there. They’ve got lots of people cheering them on. It’s when they are down and they have had a bad training day that’s when you do your real work as a coach.” —Ben Sauve.

The Ewashko Family, Builder
Pick any sport in Fort McMurray, and one way or another, the Ewashko Family has likely contributed to its growth and success. After creating Northland Forest Products Ltd. in 1970, Bev and her late husband Roy were instrumental in the establishment and advancement of local sports through sponsorship, organization, coaching, volunteering and officiating. Bev and Roy’s three children Howie, Kim and Craig are now carrying on their parents’ legacy of passion and philanthropy.

“I hope he’s proud of what we’ve done and how we’ve done it. The greatest thing sport has done for our family is the friendships and I believe that was his greatest wish for us.” —Howie Ewashko.

John Wilson, Builder
John Wilson has been a leader in the development of sport and recreation in our region for more than 30 years serving in leadership roles with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre at Keyano College, and Vista Ridge All Season Park. Wilson arrived in Fort McMurray in 1977 with his father Howard to establish H. Wilson Industries Ltd., a heavy equipment business that specialized in paving, road building and sewer and water services. Howard, who passed away in 1996, was a strong advocate of a well-balanced life, a conviction that he passed on to his son John. One of Wilson’s most influential contributions to the community is his association with the continued growth of Vista Ridge All Season Park.

“The more we can do to make Fort McMurray a better place to live, the more we can attract people to stay in our community and call it home.” —John Wilson.

Laurie Wiltshire, Athlete
Laurie Wiltshire traveled the world representing Canada, Alberta and more importantly Fort McMurray in the sport of Judo. Starting with the Fort McMurray YMCA Judo Club at the age of 10 in 1993 and then transferring over to Fort McMurray’s Ni-Ten Judo Club in 1995, Wiltshire was on the junior provincial team from 1998 to 2002 and became Junior National Champion in 2002 in the -57 kilogram category. A fourth degree black belt holder Yondan, Wiltshire was a member of Canada’s senior national team from 2002-2012 where she was national champion in -52 kilogram class from 2005 until 2012 with an unprecedented eight national titles.

“I am proud of what I have done and where I came from. Alberta is one of the weaker provinces in Judo and I accomplished a lot more than most women from Judo Alberta. I love everything about the sport. You can’t blame anyone but yourself when you are on the mat.” —Laurie Wiltshire.

With files from CJ Phillips & Leithan Slade