Class of 2016




(FORT McMURRAY, AB — March 17, 2016) The Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (WBSHOF) is proud to announce Special Olympics coach, advocate, and organizer Ernie Kimball as the second inductee for the Class of 2016.

Kimball was born and raised in central Alberta, moving to Fort McMurray upon completion of his post-secondary studies to work for Great Canadian Oil Sands in 1973. It was in Fort McMurray that Kimball laid down his roots, began a family, and helped build the profile of Special Olympics in the Wood Buffalo region starting in 1985.

Kimball originally began his involvement with the Special Olympics movement primarily to assist his son, Steven, discover his own athletic endeavors. “It’s been quite a few years since I was actually in that capacity, but I’m still familiar with a lot of faces in Fort McMurray,” said Kimball of learning of his nomination. “I was honoured.”

Kimball’s role in the community gradually expanded beyond coaching just his son. Starting in 1988 and continuing for 13 years, Kimball coached track and field, swimming, soccer, softball, floor hockey, skating, snowshoeing and curling.  “I just stepped in and never looked back,” added Kimball. “It was definitely a rewarding opportunity.

“This group has a non-judgmental, hardworking, fun loving, approach to sports. I felt I got much more back than I ever gave.” In 1995, Kimball served as a coach for the Special Olympics track and field events at the Western Canada Summer Games in Abbotsford, B.C.

While Kimball’s time in Fort McMurray has come and gone, he has continued to show a giving spirit, contributing to the Kids With Cancer Society in Edmonton and Two Wheel View campaign in Calgary.

“The dedication and belief in every person Kimball coached or interacted with, regardless of their athletic ability, speaks volumes about his character,” said WBSHOF president Wade Kolmel.

“Kimball perfectly resembles the definition of what a community hero is and the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is fortunate to be able to honour a man of his stature.” Kimball has also attended the World Masters Games as an athlete and an official. Kimball competed in the half marathon at the 2009 edition of the games in Sydney, Australia with intentions to compete at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Kimball joins Keyano Huskies men’s volleyball athlete Alwyn Piche, who was announced as the WBSHOF’s first inductee for 2016 earlier this month.

This year’s Induction Dinner will be held at Shell Place June 16, 2016. Tickets for this year’s event will be made available through Shell Place’s Box Office.

Contact information:
Robert Murray
Communications Board Member, WBSHOF
780-531-4584 (cell)


Keyano Huskies volleyball star Piche to be honoured


(FORT McMurray, AB — March 10, 2016) The Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (WBSHOF) takes great pleasure in announcing that former Keyano Huskies men’s volleyball left side Alwyn Piche will be the first inductee for the Class of 2016.


Piche was born in Fort McMurray, but raised in La Loche, Sask. Before coming to Keyano, Piche was already making a name for himself at the national level in volleyball, competing with Canada at the 2005 FIVB Boys’ Under 19 World Championship in Algeria.


A member of the Huskies from 2006-09 and again from 2012-13, Piche was named the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Men’s Volleyball Players of the Year in 2009 and 2013 — one of only two athletes to ever receive the honour twice.


Piche and the Huskies had back-to-back 8-12 seasons to open his Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference career before leading the league with a 15-5 record in his third season. The Huskies ultimately finished the 2009 season — Piche’s third — sixth at provincials and in a tie for fifth at nationals, hosted by the Huskies.


“We were pretty much (at) the bottom of the division,” said Piche of his first few seasons with the Huskies and the program’s gradual improvement. “Each year, we were getting better and better. I’m glad I was a part of it.”


Returning to the Huskies for the 2012-13 season, Piche helped the Huskies win a bronze medal at the ACAC championships, their first medal in ACAC play ever.


Considered one of the most dominant left sides in the conference’s history, Piche accumulated 1,062 kills, 176 service aces, 109 blocks and 439 digs in his four seasons with the Huskies. Those figures place him first amongst all ACAC competitors in kills, second in service aces and 19th in digs. He was also twice recognized as an All-Canadian in addition to his Player of the Year Awards at the ACAC and CCAA levels.


When the ACAC announced the opening of their Hall of Fame in 2014, Piche was inducted as one of the association’s inaugural 50 inductees.   


A fluent speaker and member of the Clearwater River Dene Nation, Piche has also been recognized for his contributions to the aboriginal communities. In 2007, he was named as one of 12 individuals with the National Aboriginal Role Model Program.


“He carried himself with such class, grace and perfectly embodied what it means to be a member of the Huskies family,” said WBSHOF President Wade Kolmel. “He continues to serve as living proof of an athlete who was able to stay close to his hometown and still achieve success at a very high level.


“Our organization looks forward to honouring Piche’s work with the Huskies and First Nations members in our region at our induction dinner in June.”


Fittingly, the announcement of Piche’s induction to the WBSHOF comes on the same day his former teammate and current Keyano men’s volleyball head coach Keegan Kuhr leads the Huskies into their second-ever appearance at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Men’s Volleyball National Championships.


Piche presently teaches physical education at the Birch Narrows Community School in Turnor Lake, Sask.


This year’s Induction Dinner will be held at Shell Place June 16, 2016. Tickets for this year’s event will be made available through Shell Place Box Office.


 — 30 —

Contact information:

Robert Murray

Communications Board Member, WBSHOF

780-531-4584 (cell)