HALIFAX, N.S. – The 2018 Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame class has a little bit of everything, including a Prince Edward Island connection.
Among the inductees are a number of female trailblazers, a legendary basketball team, a horse, Olympians and dedicated coaches. Going in as athletes are soccer player Mary Beth Bowie, gymnast Kristan Burley, basketball star Anna (Pendergast) Stammberger and harness racing’s Somebeachsomewhere. The 1978 Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team also got a nod, as did builders Thomas Doucetteand Margaret (Peggy) Gallant.
“It means a lot,” Bowie said. “When you’re playing you get accolades and you’re focused on what you’re accomplishing but you’re also looking ahead to the next thing. When your career ends you have more time to reflect and this is what I find myself doing with this. I’ve been thinking about all the people who helped me accomplish what I did.”
Halifax’s Bowie was a force in collegiate soccer for Dalhousie and the University of Connecticut before playing for Canada’s national team for four years, including at the 1999 FIFA World Cup.
Gallant also made her mark in soccer, first as a coach at St. Francis Xavier University and later as a zealous advocate for women in the sport. She also guided the X-Women volleyball program and made numerous contributions as a scholar and sports pioneer.
“I never thought this would happen,” she said. “I was absolutely gobsmacked when I got the news. My career was so long and when you’re in the trenches you don’t think you’re a Hall of Famer. You might think that you’re making a contribution or you’re doing things because you think they need to be done but you don’t think you’re at the level of some of the people that are in here.
“With something like this, you start to think about people that you looked up to or even people that you fought with, whether it was for new programs or budgeting. Women didn’t have a great place in sports back then so it brings back all those memories.”
The 1978 Huskies basketball team won the national championship with an unforgettable win over Acadia in the title game in Halifax and Somebeachsomewhere shattered harness racing standards during his nearly mythological run in the sport. Doucettewas the head coach of Canada’s junior men’s softball team for seven years and also won the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association basketball coach of the year award. He and Somebeachsomewhere enter the Hall posthumously.
Truro’s Burley won multiple international medals and represented Canada at the 1996 Olympics and at seven world championships. Stammberger is originally from Kensington but said her basketball career didn’t take off until she relocated to Halifax to play for Dalhousie.
“I really grew and made huge jumps in my career in Nova Scotia,” she said. “Even after I graduated from Dal I stayed here for two years and trained to be ready for the national team. I trained with the University of King’s College men’s team and with the Red Fox senior women’s team. I was also an assistant coach with Dal and I worked here for two years. I cemented my spot with the national team because of that time I spent here in Nova Scotia. I made the jump to the national team my fourth year at Dal but it wasn’t until three years later that I became a fixed part of the team. The first summer or two you don’t know if you’re going to be picked up again the next year; it’s very competitive. But that time was so important to everything I did with the national team and also as a pro in Europe.”
After a highly decorated five-year stint with the Tigers, Stammberger went on to captain the national team and spent several years playing professionally in Germany. She is now the head coach of the Dal women’s team.
“This brings back so many memories,” said Stammberger, who competed at the 1984 Olympics. “Nova Scotia’s such a big part of my life and, of course, I live and coach here now and get to work with Nova Scotia athletes. It’s so special.”
Bowie echoed those sentiments, saying she has never been far from the sport but doesn’t often make time to revisit her glory days.
“The biggest memories are probably the people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve made and the trips we took together,” said Bowie, who coaches her two young daughters and still plays in the women’s second division.
“When I reflect back, those are the things that really stand out. Of course, playing on the national team and being a part of the World Cup are career highlights but I probably spend more time thinking about the people I went through those experiences with.”
The induction ceremony will be Nov. 2 at the Halifax Convention Centre.