Welcome aboard: Coquitlam Hall of Fame honours inductees in virtual gala

Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame welcome athletes and builders in virtual gala

The hockey player who brought the Coquitlam Express to town and a soccer player who pushed her sport to the global stage are among this year’s inductees into the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame.

The organization released a 60-minute virtual awards ceremony hosted by Perry Solkowski Wednesday afternoon to honour the newest members of Coquitlam’s hall and wall.

“I’m not really sure how I got in,” says former Centennial basketball coach Rich Chambers as he reflects on his half-century on the sidelines.

“I probably haven’t changed enough,” he says. “I’m still pretty old school.”

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In a back-and-forth with Solkowski, Chambers discusses the way basketball in Coquitlam has evolved – and not always for the better.

“The teams that we had that won it in the ‘90s would kick the crap out of the teams we have now,” he says, noting there’s not the same striving for excellence in middle school athletics that there used to be.

It’s also harder for gym rats to work on their game, he notes. 

“It’s a crime that everybody has to rent gyms,” Chambers says. “The gyms should be free.”

Soccer player Brittany Timko Baxter recalls the long road to the Olympics as she discusses a childhood in which she would rather hit the pitch than cut into birthday cake.

“I didn’t know what was out there,” she says. “I played because I loved it.”

The video also includes conversations with Darcy Rota about bringing the Coquitlam Express to town. 

The most moving moments of the gala come when the children of lacrosse coach Sohen Gill recall their father’s dedication to the game.

They talk about his unlikely beginnings, a first goal that ended up being front page news, and the way he would paint every single ball before Coquitlam Adanacs games.  

Other inductees include: wrestler and coach Dave Mackay, soccer player Geri Donnelly, and the championship 1987 Coquitlam United soccer team. 


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