TORONTO, ON (April 15, 2019) – Canada Basketball is pleased to announce the 2019 inductees into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Canada Basketball Board of Directors has unanimously accepted the nominations of Howard Kelsey (Player / Builder), Patricia Lawson (Player), Dianne Norman (Player), Joanne Sargent (Player), Mike Smrek (Player) and John Weiland (Official) to be inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

“On behalf of everyone in the Canada Basketball community, I’d like to welcome each of this year’s inductees into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Glen Grunwald, President & CEO of Canada Basketball.  “While Canada continues to experience unprecedented growth in basketball, it is important to recognize and celebrate all those that have come before and contributed so much to our great game in this country.  There is no better way to thank and congratulate these wonderful inductees for their service and accomplishments.”

Kelsey represented Canada for 11 years (1977-88) as a member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team.  A native of Vancouver, B.C., Kelsey was a two-time Olympian (1980,1984) and helped lead Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympic Games. In addition, Kelsey led Canada to gold at both the 1978 Commonwealth Basketball Championships and 1983 FISU World University Games.  Following his playing career in Guadalajara, Mexico, Kelsey served as Athletic Coordinator at the University of Victoria before becoming Executive Vice-President of Canada Basketball.  Kelsey also co-founded the Canadian National Team Alumni Association.

“Induction into our nation’s Hall of Fame represents Canadian Basketball’s highest honour.  Joining some of our beloved country’s most iconic basketball legends and community contributors is truly humbling. I’d like to thank our late coach Jack Donohue and all my Team Canada teammates and staff, as well as the Canada Basketball Board of Directors.  In addition, I wish to extend thanks to the late Dr. Paul Thomas, Ron Foxcroft and their Veterans Committee.”  Howard Kelsey

Widely considered one of Canada’s greatest all-around athletes, Lawson captured provincial titles in six different sports – track and field, golf, speed skating, swimming, tennis and basketball. However, it was basketball where the Saskatoon native really excelled.  In her first season at the University of Saskatchewan, at just 18 years old, Lawson was named MVP after establishing several scoring records. Lawson is also a two-time Canadian champion with the Vancouver Eilers (1955) and Adilman Aces (1959). Following her playing career, Lawson returned to the University of Saskatchewan, where she coached the women’s basketball team from 1956 to 1967.

“Being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is a wonderful recognition and one I never thought would happen.  I’d like to thank my past teammates and all the amazing young women I coached at the University of Saskatchewan over the years. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Darlene Curry and the late Dr. Paul Thomas for nominating me for this honour.” – Patricia Lawson 

One of the longest serving players within Canada’s Women’s National Team program, Norman was a member of Team Canada from 1988 to 2003. The Fredericton, New Brunswick native appeared in 157 international games for Canada, was a two-time Olympian (1996, 2000) and also represented the red and white at the Pan-American Games and World University Games. While attending Laurentian University, Norman and the Lady Vees captured the Bronze Baby Trophy as CIAU champions in back-to-back seasons (1990-91).  Over the course of her university career, she was also named a four time All-Canadian. Norman played professionally overseas in Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

“I’m so humbled and appreciative to have shared the court and career with so many athletes, coaches and officials.  Thanks to Canada Basketball and Basketball New Brunswick for all the hard work behind the scenes which make athlete dreams possible.” – Dianne Norman

At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Sargent and Canada finished sixth in the first Olympic Basketball Tournament for Women.  Sargent made history for Canada as her 14 assists against Czechoslovakia established a new Olympic record for the most assists in a single game, a mark that lasted for over twenty years.  Sargent also represented Canada at the Pan American Games and World Championship for Women in 1971 and 1975.  During her five years at the University of British Columbia, Sargent led the Thunderbirds to two CWIAU national championships and a Senior ‘A’ women’s title.

“Being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame is the highest honour I could hope to achieve in my sport.  It was such a privilege and source of pride for me to represent Canada on our National and Olympic teams in World Championships, Pan American Games and the 1976 Olympics.  To be worthy of recognition in the Hall of Fame as someone who played basketball with tenacity, skill and integrity and as an ambassador for Canada is such a thrill.  I am indebted to those who advocated for my admission to the Hall and am grateful and humbled to be included alongside other talented individuals and teams in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.”  Joanne Sargent

Internationally, Smrek was a long-time member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team and represented the country at the 1994 World Championship for Men.  Originally selected 25th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1985 NBA Draft, Smrek played seven seasons in the NBA and appeared in 194 career games with the Chicago Bulls (1985-86), Los Angeles Lakers (1986-88), San Antonio Spurs (1988-89), Golden State Warriors (1989-1992) and Los Angeles Clippers (1990-91).  A two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Smrek was the first Canadian in history to play in an NBA Championship.  Following his NBA career, Smrek played overseas in Italy, Greece and Croatia.  

I am grateful to those who have chosen to have my contributions to Canadian basketball recognized. It is an honour to be thought of alongside so many other men and women who have and still are representing Canada. I have many great memories of teammates, coaches and friends made while training, travelling and competing around the world. In accepting this honour I thank them all.” Mike Smrek

Widely regarded as one of the best basketball officials in Canada, Weiland officiated at the international level for over twenty years, representing Canada at several international events, including FIBA EuroBasket 1985 and the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  In addition, he also refereed at the World Championships, Pan American Games and the CIS Championship 17 times.  Over his career, Weiland was awarded the Canada Basketball J.A. Wilcox Award, the Air Canada Amateur Sports Official Award, and was honored by the Calgary Booster Club as a respected leader.  Weiland was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2015 was the recipient of the Ted Earley Award.  John remains involved in basketball as a national referee coach where he continues to develop officials and the game.

“Being involved in the game of basketball for 60 years, as a player, a coach and a referee, I have enjoyed many incredible experiences.  Receiving the honour of being inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame as an official is definitely the high-lite of my basketball career.  I  am also very thankful to the people that made this nomination happen.”  John Weiland

Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame 

Since 1978, The Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame has honoured and celebrated those who have contributed to the development and enhancement of basketball both in Canada and internationally. Every other year, any person is eligible for election as an Honoured Member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame who has achieved an outstanding record of excellence in the following categories: athletes, teams, coaches, officials and builders. 

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Courtesy Canada Basketball

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