The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame has announced the class of 2022.
Five individuals will be inducted into the hallowed halls this year and they include the late Don Baizley, Halldor Bjarnason, Andrea Ferguson, Patrick Jebbison and Michelle Sawatzky-Koop.
Sawatzky-Koop graduated from Steinbach Regional Secondary School in 1988 and was their Athlete of the Year. She was the starting setter for the University of Manitoba from 1988-93 and led the Bisons to three CIAU national titles and two bronze medals during her university career, named GPAC All-Star and All-Canadian several times, and the CIAU Player of the Year in both 1991 and 1992. On the international stage, she competed in the World Student Games in the early 90s and finished third twice at the NORCECA Championships. In 1995, she won silver at the Canada Cup and bronze at the Pan Am Games. She helped Canada qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where they finished ninth and she was the only setter in Canadian women’s volleyball history to win three sets and a match (over Peru) at an Olympic Games.
One of the most respected player agents in professional hockey, Baizley had a long list of distinguished NHL players, many of whom became members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. His role in opening the doors for Europeans to come and play pro hockey in North America began with the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets in the mid 70s, when Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson joined Bobby Hull to form one of the best lines in pro hockey and changed the way the game was played. He also played a critical role in mediating the 2004-05 lockout between the NHL and NHLPA, and frequently appeared in The Hockey News as one of their 100 People of Power and Influence between 2003-07.
Bjarnason was a trailblazer for people with disabilities to participate and excel in sport. In 1985, he helped start the Manitoba Cerebral Palsy Association and, the next year, won gold and silver at the World CP Games held in Belgium in his specialty events of 3000m and 1500m tricycling. He captured double gold in 1987 at the Can Am Games and was off to the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea. He won gold in the 1500m and set a world record and won silver in the 3000m. At the 1990 Worlds in Holland, Bjarnason won gold and silver again before winding up his athletic career at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, with a personal best and fourth place finish in the 1500m of tricycling.
Ferguson began playing ringette at age seven and it has taken her around the world. On the national stage, Ferguson helped Manitoba to silver at the 1999 Canada Games and gold at the 2002 Nationals. From 2005-13, she competed in Nationals in eight consecutive years as a player, coach, or both, and was selected for the All-Star team twice. In the National Ringette League, her teams won bronze in 2010 and silver in 2012. On the international stage, she won the Finnish Elite League championship in 2002-03 and was Player of the Year. In 2010, she played for Canada at the Worlds in Tampere, Finland, winning silver, and followed that up with another silver in North Bay, ON, where she was the leading scorer at Worlds in 2013. She is currently coaching Canada’s U22 team.
Jebbison starred at Martin Grove Collegiate near Toronto before coach Jerry Hemmings recruited him to play for Brandon University. Jebbison played for the Bobcats from 1984-89. In his second year, he made the GPAC Second All-Star team and was BU’s Most Improved Player. Year three saw a GPAC First All-Star selection and honourable mention as CIAU All-Canadian, as the Bobcats won their first ever national title in 1987. Jebbison’s final two years at BU saw him named GPAC MVP, CIAU All-Star, First Team All-Canadian, and the prestigious Mike Moser Award as the top men’s university basketball player in the country.
The 1990 Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The 2022 Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Thursday, November 3rd at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg.