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2008 Sports Hall of Fame Inductees
Jim BuckinghamJim Buckingham – Builder
Jim Buckingham has had a powerful influence on our community. Every spring for over 30 years, “Bucky” has taught his now famous canoe course in Banff. The courses have always been full, and by conservative estimates Jim has taught canoeing to over 1,200 people, with a focus on safety and the tremendous value of a unique national park experience.

But more than this, Jim has also inspired the Banff and Canmore schools to adopt a regular canoe program for the grade 6 classes. Over 1,200 Bow Valley students have learned the valuable skills of a life activity, along with an appreciation for our environment, at the tireless, gentle hands of “Mr. Buck – the canoe boss.” The children find their inner strength through canoeing, because Mr. Buck sees it in them and shows them how to look.

Bucky has also spread a wider net in the world of canoe safety: he is regularly published in paddling journals and interviewed for newscasts.

Jim’s genuine interest in sharing our rivers and mountains, his passion, expertise, and generosity of spirit have had an enormous impact. He is a role model for living and loving our mountain home, and for the standards of excellence we value in our community.


Jerry Johnston – Builder

Jerry JohnstonBorn and raised in Banff, Alberta, Jerry Johnston made a huge difference in the lives of those with disabilities. His creative inventions of special equipment and teaching techniques became the industry standard, helping recipients to gain personal confidence and enjoy the outdoors. Jerry was founding president and executive director of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing, founding president of the Alberta Amputee Ski Association, chairman of the Technical Committee for the International Sports Organization for the Disabled, and team manager for two Paralympics and three World Championships.

Jerry organized the first Canadian International Disabled Ski Meet at Sunshine Village and was instrumental in setting up the Japanese Handicapped Ski Association. For his vision and leadership, Jerry received three Alberta Achievement Awards, and has been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Skiers’ Hall of Fame, and the CSIA Hall of Fame. In November 2000 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his dedication to skiing for the disabled.

In addition to his work with the disabled, Jerry was known as the always-smiling face at the Sunshine Village Ski School where he was owner and director from 1960-1977. Through Jerry’s management, the Sunshine Ski School gained a well-earned reputation for having the best instructors in the country. A member of the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance since 1957, Jerry remains a CSIA Level 4 Examiner.


Doug RobinsonDoug Robinson – Builder
With boundless energy and commitment, Doug Robinson set the stage for international achievement by Banff skiers. Born in Nelson., BC and raised in Golden, BC, Doug excelled at every aspect of skiing and racing, from innovative coaching, to the technical side of course design and safety, to club development, and even to building ski lifts.

As a young coach, Doug made his mark by leading the Alberta Team to its first victory at the Canadian Nationals in 1963; Banff’s Henderson brothers from that team went on to become national team members, and continued Doug’s legacy with their own coaching careers in Canada and the USA.

He continued to excel in coaching, as the Head Coach of the Calgary Ski Club and the Banff Ski Runners, and helped to organize and run World Cup Races held locally. Doug was named Rotary Club’s Western Canadian “Sportsman of the Year” in 1970. As coach of the popular Nancy Greene League at Mt. Norquay, Doug instilled in many young skiers a love of recreational ski racing.

One of his greatest contributions to the world of skiing was the work Doug did preparing the courses and establishing safety measures for the 1988 Olympic alpine events at Nakiska. Doug’s safety measures were considered the “gold standard”.

Humble, kind, and a true gentleman, Doug is an unsung hero whose hard work prepared the ground for the development of locally-grown, world-class ski racers.


Sharon FirthSharon Firth – Athlete
When cross-country ski careers seem to be measured in only a handful of years, Sharon Firth’s 17-year involvement in national and international competitions is outstanding. Beginning in 1968 with a bronze medal at the Canadian Junior Championships, Sharon racked up countless medals and records until her retirement from skiing in 1985. Except for two seasons, she took silver or gold in the 5 or 10 km events in the Canadian Championships from 1969 – 1983, and won gold in the 3 x 5 relay nine times, the most of any skier in Canadian senior history. In 1975, she was the first Canadian woman to sweep gold in the 5 km, 10 km, and 3x5 km relay at the North American Championships.

Along with her sister Shirley, Sharon was the only Canadian woman skier to compete in four consecutive Olympic Winter Games.

Sharon was honoured by the Canadian Ski Association in 1972 for her contribution to skiing in Canada. In 1987 she received the Order of Canada. She has been featured in three television documentaries, and was inducted into the Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame in 1990. Sharon is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (2005).


Shirley FirthShirley Firth  Athlete 
Voted six times as Canadian female Nordic skier of the year by Ski Racing Magazine, Shirley Firth’s 16-year racing career was filled with gold and silver medals. In her first Canadian Senior Championship in 1969, Shirley swept gold in the 5 km, 10km, and 3 x 5 km relay, and was on the podium in the 5- and 10-km events for the next 15 years of national and North American championships. She won gold in the 3 x 5 relay at the Canadian championships eight times in a row, a record that remains unbroken today.

In the 1982 World Cup circuit Shirley earned the highest points by any male or female Canadian cross-country skier ever, for an 11th overall standing. She and her sister Sharon are the only Canadian women skiers to compete in four consecutive Olympic Winter Games.

Shirley was honoured by the Canadian Ski Association in 1972 for her contribution to skiing in Canada. In 1987 she received the Order of Canada. She has been featured in three television documentaries, and was inducted into the Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame in 1990. Shirley is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (2005).


Thomas Grandi – Athlete 

Thomas GrandiThomas Grandi is Canada’s best male technical alpine racer in the 38-year history of the World Cup. He became the first Canadian male to reach the podium in the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, and the first to win a giant slalom. In the 2004-2005 season, Grandi posted two first-place finishes in this event, helping him achieve third overall in World GS standings. A 14-year member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Thomas represented Canada in four Olympic Winter Games.

Thomas was a tremendous leader of the men’s team, setting an example of dedication and focus on high performance that had a profound influence on the younger members of the team. And Thomas still attends club events and encourages young racers of the Banff Alpine Racers – the club to which he belonged as a boy.

As President of Alberta Alpine since the fall of 2007, Thomas has extended these same leadership qualities to Alberta’s provincial ski program, inspiring not only athletes, but parents, officials, and volunteers.

Not just a great skier and sports leader, Thomas acted on his concern for the environment by working with the David Suzuki Foundation to initiate a “carbon-neutral” program for Canadian athletes. Thomas can be very proud that the Alberta Alpine Team is the first Canadian team to be carbon-neutral.


Stafford Family – Achievement
Stafford FamilyThe Stafford family has reflected the true spirit of sports and leadership for three generations. Ted established his athletic reputation in track events but his true love was hockey, refereeing and boy scouts. His hockey playing, refereeing and coaching of his sons laid the foundation for the hockey stars. Players fondly recall Ted's leadership skills, infectious enthusiasm and ability to build team spirit.

Ted and Dorts' three sons played hockey at the junior, university and professional levels. Barrie, after university hockey, became head trainer with the Edmonton Oilers winning five Stanley Cups. He served as equipment manager for Team Canada at seven major international tournaments including two Olympic games. Gordie, after professional hockey, pursued a hockey coaching career with U.S. College teams; his son Drew has continued the Stafford hockey tradition, now playing in the NHL. Youngest Stafford son Allan also went through Banff's minor hockey, then junior hockey and coaching. Alan's son and daughter are both involved in hockey. The Stafford daughters Laurie and Cathie excelled in skiing, figure skating and track and field. Laurie helped to form Banff's first all girls hockey team. Both daughters have children who excel in a variety of sports.