• By: Chloë Hayes

Join Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as They Induct the Class of 2023

On Thursday, October 19th, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is set to host the 67th Annual Order of Sports Awards, live from Gatineau.

Each year, the Order of Sport Awards celebrates the induction of a remarkable group of athletes and builders into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which is marked by the receipt of the Order of Sport.

To receive the Order of Sport, Canada’s highest sporting honour, is to experience a moment that signifies the monumental contributions made to the country through sport. Through a multi-faceted, multi-day celebration, millions of Canadians will unite to celebrate more than just athletic ability but the impact of incredible athletes on a community and a nation.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 will be introduced at an award show live-streamed nationwide for all to watch. The event, to be held at the Canadian Museum of History, will include a live award presentation to the Class of 2023, a ticketed Sport in Canada networking reception, curated exhibits for each member of the Class of 2023, the inaugural Order of Sport weekend with CBC sports, and the Awards and Media celebration event, followed by the Sport in Canada reception.

This year’s Order of Sport celebration was championed by co-chairs Cecile Chung and Michael Burns, who were thrilled to unveil the Class of 2023. “Each in their own unique way, this year’s inductees have helped to set new standards and break down old barriers,” Burns said, “They have inspired an entire nation through their hard work and dedication. They have achieved their fullest potential and represent the best of what it means to be Canadian.”

This October, three individual athletes, a duo, and a foursome, all renowned for their sporting accomplishments, will be honoured alongside two builders widely recognized for their roles in growing and developing their sports. Here is a look at the Class of 2023:

Phyllis Bomberry
—posthumous – builder, softball)
A trailblazing softball superstar, Bomberry was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River in Southwestern Ontario in 1942. Bomberry overcame pervasive racial discrimination and post-war sexism to pursue her dreams and emerge as a star athlete in the 1950s. In 1958, she became the first female recipient of the Tom Longboat Award, recognizing outstanding Indigenous athletes.

Hiroshi Nakamura
— builder, judo
An iconic mentor, trainer, and high-performance coach, Nakamura is recognized as a builder of Judo. Nakamura was born in Tokyo in 1942, settling in Montreal, Quebec, in 1968 to build the nation’s most successful competitive training program, the Shidokan Judo Club. Sensei Nakamura has gone on to empower generations of athletes to fulfil their potential by teaching self-discipline, humility, perseverance, and kaizen (continuous improvement)

Oren Lyons
—builder, lacrosse
Lyons is a game-changing advocate for Indigenous rights in the world of sport and beyond. Born in 1930 on the Onondaga Nation in upstate New York, Lyons has set a historic precedent in lacrosse, co-founding the first sovereign Indigenous team competing in international sport, known today as the Haudenosaunee Nationals. In his 93 years, Lyons has become Chief of the Onondaga National Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and the leading voice at the UN Permanent Forum on Human Rights for Indigenous People. He continues to work as a coach, community leader, artist, activist, and author.

Danielle Peers
— athlete, wheelchair basketball
Peers’ influence as a para-athlete, coach, activist, and artist has changed the conversation surrounding queer people and people with disabilities in Canadian sport and culture. They started playing wheelchair basketball as a young adult in Edmonton before being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Peers won bronze with Team Canada at the 2004 Paralympic games and gold at the world championships in 2006, where they were named MVP. Since retiring from competitive sports, Peers continues challenging limiting discourse as an academic, community organizer, and LGBTQ+ performance artist.

Georges St.Pierre
— athlete, MMA
St.Pierre overcame a difficult childhood in Saint-Isidore, Quebec, to become a global superstar with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). St. Pierre struggled with bullies in school, leading him to take up Kyokushin Karate at age 7, earning his black belt by 12. In 2004, he debuted at UFC 46, eventually earning the nickname ‘Rush’ for his speed, discipline, and technical prowess. St. Pierre retired in 2019 with an unprecedented 26-2 UFC record. Today, he remains passionate about helping youth overcome adversity, supporting anti-bullying initiatives, and promoting youth sports through his charity, the Georges St. Pierre Foundation.

Tessa Virtue + Scott Moir
— athletes, figure skating
Tessa and Scott are recognized as one of the greatest ice dance teams of all time, captivating audiences with a dazzling combination of athleticism and artistry. The duo first collaborated in 1997, at age 7 and 9. Between 2008 and 2019, Tessa and Scott took home five Olympic medals, three world championship medals, and 8 Canadian National Championship Medals. They have continued to carry their legacy off the rink through coaching, mentorship, ambassadorship, and speaking.

Ferbey Team
— athletes, curling
The Ferbey Four was formed by Randy Ferbey, David Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer, and Marcel Rocque in 1999 to become one of the most successful teams in the history of Canadian curling. Famous for team ethic, creativity, and masterful play, the team won three world men’s curling championships between 2002 and 2006, four Canadian men’s curling championships in five consecutive Brier appearances between 2001 and 2005 and innovated new strategies that left an indelible mark on curling’s development around the world.

President and CEO Cheryl Bernard is passionate about the Class of 2023, their diverse contributions to sport, and their unique set of stories. “Our north star is that we want youth to see themselves in these role models. I have always firmly believed that if you can see yourself somewhere, you can be there.”

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is a national cultural institution with a 68-year history of inspiring the leaders of tomorrow through the invaluable lessons of sport. In classrooms, throughout communities, and in recognizing role models, the Hall actively engages Canadians in the world of sport, reaching 21 percent of Canadians over the last year.

Bernard sees Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a way to inspire, educate, and celebrate and hopes to influence as many people as possible, specifically youth. After the pandemic, the Hall has begun a transition to break the barriers of the four-walled museum and engage with as many people as possible. It’s Beyond the Win education platform arms educators in classrooms nationwide with extensive education programs and resources at no cost. “It’s about young people, harnessing the power of sport and helping them to find themselves in others. This is possible through our education program,” Bernard explained, “Education is truly at the heart of what we do as an organization. We teach the importance of inclusivity and empower youth to face challenges so we can help them create bright and promising futures full of limitless possibilities.”

Bernard comes from a long history with sport, fostering an unbreakable passion for it. She played competitive, high-level curling until she was 47 years old. She competed in the 2010 Olympics, where she won a silver medal, and again at the 2018 Olympics as an alternate for Rachel Homan’s team before retiring.

Bernard found her way to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame when she was offered the position in 2018. “At first, it took me some time to consider if it was what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize what it had the potential to be,” she said, “I started to understand that I could take these incredible stories from the diverse class every year, stories of triumph, resilience, reconciliation and adversity, and bring them to classrooms and communities across the country to inspire youth.”

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is becoming a vibrant online space to be accessible to more Canadians. “Museums across the country are transforming their approach. They have to look for ways to engage with audiences beyond their four walls, especially after COVID-19,” Bernard said, “We need to have no borders. We need to provide education platforms for storytelling in bite-sized pieces.” In 2023, the Hall has reached 200,000 youth, 5,000 educators, and 5.3 million Canadians.

Bernard explains that sport is a wildly important part of our culture in Canada: “It is an incredible force for good. It builds communities, develops leaders, contributes to the economy, and promotes physical and mental well-being.

Take advantage of the opportunity to tune into a one-of-a-kind commemoration of Canadian sport.

Click here to register to join the 67th Annual Order of Sports Awards live stream on Thursday, October 19th at 10:00 a.m. ET.

For more information on the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, visit sportshall.ca.