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Victoria Sports Hall of Fame unveils Class of 2023

Hilary Caldwell swam out of Saanich Commonwealth Place to win Olympic and world championship bronze medals and will now splash into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.
Hilary Caldwell practises at Saanich Commonwealth Place in 2017. Caldwell has been named to Victoria's Sports Hall of Fame. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Hilary Caldwell swam out of Saanich Commonwealth Place to win Olympic and world championship bronze medals and will now splash into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

Jim Hubbard spent a lifetime supporting Island rugby and softball, not to mention roaming the sidelines of McKinnon Gym during the UVic Vikes basketball dynasty era as the legendary fearsome Mad Viking mascot, and now he will also enter the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2023 has been announced and it includes Caldwell, Hubbard, Andy Hebenton, Jamie Ackinclose, Susan Butt, Helena Myllyniemi, Ron Greene and Jim Cain. The induction ceremony will take place Oct. 28 at the Delta Ocean Pointe.

Hebenton was the former NHL Ironman record holder with 630 consecutive games with the New York Rangers, where he also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player, and was also a Victoria pro-hockey great through two bookend eras. He starred for five seasons with Lester Patrick’s professional Victoria Cougars in the old Pacific Coast League/Western Hockey League from 1950-51 to 1954-55, winning the league title in his first season in Victoria. After nine seasons in the NHL, Hebenton returned to the Island and the old Memorial Arena in 1965-66 and 1966-67 for two seasons with the Toronto farm-team Victoria Maple Leafs in the old professional WHL, winning the Lester Patrick Cup for the league championship in 1966.

Hebenton was known for his fair play and sportsmanship in scoring 189 goals with 391 points in his 630 NHL regular-season games and 425 goals and 957 points in 1,056 minor-pro games. Of those, 141 goals and 264 points came in 332 games with the Victoria Cougars and 55 goals and 136 points in 144 games with the Victoria Maple Leafs. He also played a combined total of 49 playoff games for the Victoria teams with 22 goals and 44 points in winning two championships.

“My dad was an old-school gentleman,” son Clay Hebenton told the Times Colonist upon his father’s death in 2019 at age 89.

The Andy Hebenton Trophy is awarded annually to the regular-season champion in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Butt was a tennis international who captained Canada’s Federation Cup team three times in four appearances between 1967 and 1972. Considered one of the finest Canadian female players of the 1960s, Butt was national women’s singles champion in 1960, 1961 and 1967 and six-time B.C. champion.

Coach Greene’s stern resolve built the Victoria Y girls’ volleyball dynasty that won the U-18 B.C. championship eight times in nine years and the B.C. U-16 championship seven consecutive years in the 1970s and 1980s. His teams won gold, silver and two bronze at nationals and produced several players who went on to star in varsity volleyball at UVic and UBC.

“We worked harder in the practices than we did in the games,” Greene has told the Times Colonist, about his program’s success.

“I pushed my players reasonably hard, but not impossibly so. It had to be fun, too. The players made a commitment to the sport and the team.”

Cain became almost more of a fixture on the Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse bench than the players during his 37 years as the beloved team trainer, who has seven Mann Cup national championship rings. Ackinclose had 25 goals in 30 appearances for Canada in Para-soccer between 2010 and 2017, including in three Para World Cups.

Archery coach Myllyniemi had a long and highly notable career in her sport locally, nationally and internationally as she coached Canada in the Pan Am Games and mentored the several Olympians who came out of the Victoria Bowmen’s Club.

The Victoria Sports Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1991. After the induction ceremony in the fall, plaques honouring the Class of 2023 will join those of the 260 previous inductees on the concourse walls of Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

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