Dalhousie University was well represented in this year’s Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame induction class.
Held at the Halifax Convention Centre on Nov. 2, the ceremony started a few minutes late because of heavy rain outside, but that didn’t deter the celebratory mood.
The event kicked off with video clips of all the inductees and a quote from Nova Scotia native Sidney Crosby: “Passion is the most important part. It’s not skills or talent or any of that stuff.”
The athletes connected to Dalhousie certainly exemplified passion.
The first Dal related inductee was Anna Stammberger. Stammberger is in her 10th year as the head coach of the Dal women’s basketball team. From Kensington, P.E.I, Stammberger played five years of basketball at Dal starting in 1978. She was recognized as an AUS MVP and a U Sports all-Canadian twice during that time.
When Stammberger arrived at Dal, she didn’t have a lot of natural skill on the court. Instead, she had a strong work ethic and a desire to improve.
“I knew how to work, and I knew how to compete,” she said.
Former teammates at the ceremony described her as a “bowling ball” with her determination and physicality to get rebounds.
After her time at Dal, Stammberger was a member of the national women’s basketball team for 12 years and competed in Germany’s first division for 18 years. She was inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, but she said being a part of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame is an honour because this province is her “second home.”
“It’s in Nova Scotia and Halifax and Dalhousie that I made my really amazing leaps — which was a bit of a fairy tale, really – onto the national stage,” Stammberger said. “It’s kind of where I just blossomed and grew into one of the best players in the country.”
Also inducted was soccer player Mary Beth Bowie, who is from Dartmouth. She played for the Tigers for two years. During her time at Dal, she was named the CIAU (now called U Sports) Rookie of the Year in 1997 and she was named a CIAU All-Canadian twice.
After that, the midfielder played for the University of Connecticut Huskies, and had a four-season career with the women’s national team, playing in 13 international-level games. She played in the 1999 FIFA World Cup.
Former teammates talked about her “unstoppable energy” and tenacity.
The last Dal connected inductee was Rick Plato, who is the head coach of the Tigers’ men’s basketball team.
He was inducted along with the other members of the Saint Mary’s University men’s basketball team of 1978, who won the CIAU men’s championship. They went into the tournament not even ranked in the top 10 nationally and came out national champions. They defeated the Acadia Axemen in the final game in front of 11,000 fans at the newly built Halifax Metro Centre (now called the Scotiabank Centre).
The members of the team were easily recognizable at the induction ceremony. Half of them pulled on maroon long sleeved SMU shirts over their dress shirts and they seemed to pick up their friendships right where they left off 30 years ago.
Thirty years later, he’s still proud of being a national champion.
“They can never take that away from you,” he said.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame this year was gymnast Kristan Burley, the harness-racing sensation Somebeachsomewhere – the Hall’s first horse inductee – and coaches the late Thomas Doucette and Peggy Gallant.