By Medicine Hat News on February 28, 2017.
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and two men who have made the southern Alberta sports community richer will be inducted.
Events took place throughout the province on Monday to announce the team and 11 individuals who will be inducted during a banquet May 26 in Red Deer. In Lethbridge, Gary Bowie announced that boxing athlete and coach Rick Duff and baseball builder Doug Jones were revealed.
Jones, the mayor of Oyen, was the president of Baseball Alberta and helped establish the Prairie Baseball Academy, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball and the Badlands Baseball Academy and was a key player in the creation of the Western Major Baseball League. For years he was a part-owner of the Medicine Hat Mavericks.
He was shocked to hear the news but appreciated being recognized by some of his peers.
“Really, what it is to me is I’ve helped people with rural Alberta, because sometimes I don’t think we have the same opportunities here,” said Jones.
It’s his passion for kids that has motivated him all these years.
“I like working with kids and sports, you can’t go wrong working with kids, that’s just the way it is.”
When Duff was young, he walked into a boxing gym due to some schoolyard bullying.
“It wasn’t long until I actually fell in love with the sport, jumped in the ring and actually competed. The first couple of times I kind of got beat up a little bit, I was just too stubborn to quit. I learned to improve and learned how to win,” said Duff.
He was an active boxer from 1979-1989.
“I put a lot of work into it, my goal was to get into the Olympics” and in 1984 he acheived his goal.
Six years ago, he took over the Lethbrige Boxing Gym.
Duff said he hopes his induction helps inspire young athletes to follow their dreams.
“It’s really important to show young people, especially young boxers that there is success and there’s things you get acknowledged for your hard work,” said Duff.
The Hall of Fame celebrates Alberta’s sporting history whether it be through athletes, builders, pioneers, media or achievement personal.
Other inductees announced were the 1984/5 NAIT Ooks hockey team, ex-NHLer Ryan Smyth, Calgary golfer Marilyn Palmer O’Connor, skier John Kucera, baseball player Betty Carveth Dunn, boxer Rick Duff, swimmer Keltie Duggan, tennis builder Hans Maciej, basketball builder Herbert McLachlin, squash builder Sharon Trenaman and media member Jeff Hansen.
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