The Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame welcomed the class of 2018 on Thursday. Four athletes and two builders, all with roots in the Okanagan area, were inducted into the Hall where they will join local greats such as Wayne Hicks and Lawrence Nagy.
The class of 2018 includes:
• Rob Dirk — NHL player for eight seasons and semi-pro hockey coach for eight years.
• Tracy Melesko — Four-time B.C Special Olympian in track and field, four-time Canadian Special Olympian, Paralympic Games medalist, provincial and national cross-country Skiing gold medalist.
• Heather Mandoli-Alschuler — Came fourth in 2008 Olympics rowing, 2008 Kelowna female athlete of the year, and NCAA standout with Michigan University.
• Chad Folk — 12 seasons and two-time Grey Cup champion with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and was an Okanagan Sun all-star offensive lineman.
• Allan Simpson — Baseball America magazine founder, 2011 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and 1989 National Media Award from USA Baseball.
• Hugh Wong — 40 years of service building volleyball in the Okanagan, Kelowna Volleyball Club founder, former president of Volleyball Canada and 2015 B.C. Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee.
Dirk, who spent eight years in the NHL with five different teams, including the Vancouver Canucks, is now the head instructor at the Okanagan Hockey Academy. He said he’s thankful for the honour.
“It’s very humbling. As a little kid you play the game because you love playing, and I was lucky enough to make a living out of it,” he said.
“I never thought about making any hall of fame. It’s very humbling and a great honour. It’s great to be back and to be living in Penticton. I was living in the (United States) coaching and working and I figured it was time to come home. An opportunity came up with the Okanagan Hockey Academy so it gave my kids an opportunity to grow up with their grandparents, and for me to come home.”
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