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Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted
Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)

Two athletes, one coach and one “builder” will be inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year.

If pandemic restrictions allow, the four talents will be celebrated at the annual October inductee dinner before having their photos hung among the more than 220 others displayed in the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

Matt Pettinger. (Black Press Media file photo)

Athlete Matt Pettinger is well known to hockey fans, having played over 400 games with the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightening, and Vancouver Canucks. His sports career started at age 15 when he began as a left winger with the now extinct Victoria Salsa. Pettinger went on to attend the University of Denver on an athletic scholarship, playing for Canada at the World Junior Championships, before going on to the NHL. In 2010, Pettinger moved to Europe to play five years with two German teams before retiring to Victoria.

READ ALSO: Matt Pettinger – from the NHL to Real Estate

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)

Gwen Spencer Hethey is another renowned athlete from the region, known as the trailblazer for women in Canadian shooting. At 22, under the tutelage of hall of fame inductee Major Frederick Richardson, Spencer Hethey tried shooting for the first time and proved to have a natural eye. She joined the B.C. Rifle Association in 1930 and became the first woman to compete in the annual Fullbore Championships.

In the years that followed, Spencer Hethey went on to win numerous awards and competitions, including against seasoned male military and police shooters. At age 39, she was left a widow with two young boys and chose to withdraw from competitive shooting, but remained involved at the local level into the 1950s.

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Peter Lawless. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)

In the coach category, Peter Lawless will be inducted for his work with some of Canada’s top para-athletes, including Paralympian and World Cup para-cycling champion Karen March, and four-time World Para-Athletics champion and Paralympian gold medallist Michelle Stillwell. Athletes coached by Lawless have broken 28 world records in para-athletics. Lawless has also sat on numerous sports organization’s board of directors, including the Canadian Olympic Committee, and recently led Victoria’s bid for the 2022 Invictus Games.

Roger Skillings (centre) stands with fellow Vic High Alumni member Keith McCallion (left) and principal Aaron Parker (right). (Black Press Media file photo)

Finally, former tennis champion Roger Skillings is being recognized as a “builder” for his work developing high performance sports in Victoria and Canada. He served as president and CEO of B.C. Games Society for over 10 years and built the PacificSport brand, which provides regional sports hubs across B.C. Skillings was key in creating the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and has been an active community volunteer, fundraiser and administrator.

If all goes to plan, both 2021 and 2020’s inductees will be honoured at October’s dinner. The hall of fame will announce details in the next few months.

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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