Red Deer Advocate: Pair of Central Albertans heading to Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
Red Deer’s Dianne Finstad and Halkirk’s Leighann Doan Reimer in class of 2018
A pair of Central Albertans were among those introduced on Friday as the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum class 0f 2018.
Red Deer award-winning farm and rodeo broadcaster and reporter Dianne Finstad and Leighann Doan Reimer, who grew up in Halkirk, and went on to play for the national team and is considered by many as the best woman basketball player to suit up for University of Calgary’s Dinos, were introduced along with 10 other inductee individuals and teams.
One of the most familiar faces, especially for hockey fans, belonged to Theoren Fleury, who starred for 11 seasons with the Calgary Flames, winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. Fleury also has gold medals from the 1988 World Junior Championships, 1991 Canada Cup and 2002 Olympic Games.
Finstad, who began her career at Red Deer’s CKRD in 1981 and has been a regular Advocate contributor, enjoyed being more than a broadcaster and reporter on the sidelines. She was the recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Bell Memorial Award.
“We were kind of cheering along with the cowboys and trying to bring more coverage and more awareness of the sport,” said Finstad. “As the sport grows, I think it’s maybe kind of cool to be a part of that.”
She has been a general assignment reporter and anchor, and as a journalist specializing in farming and rodeo, she was behind award-winning shows “This Business of Farming” and “Makin’ 8.” She has covered all of rodeo’s marquee events, including the Canadian Finals Rodeo, Calgary Stampede and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Finstad said she has enjoyed telling the stories of the farming community and rodeo athletes. She’s been doing it long enough she is now interviewing the children of her early subjects, she said with a laugh.
“It’s kind of neat to have felt part of their family and still be watching the next generation come forward.”
Doan Reimer played high school basketball in Stettler and went to the University of Calgary, where she was named 1997 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year, 2000 and 2001 CIS Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and 2001 CIS Athlete of the Year. She was a four-time First Team All Canadian, competed for Team Canada at the 2003 Pan Am Games and played professional basketball in France from 2001 to 2004.
Doan Reimer is now a business owner and a teacher in Three Hills, where her students have been impressed by her Hall of Fame induction and basketball achievements. She is still the Dinos all-time leading scorer with 1,958 points.
She encourages her students to follow their dreams, no matter where they are from.
“Small town doesn’t mean anything anymore. I like to encourage them in that.”
Doan Reimer has been to the induction banquet to see friends honoured and was a little taken aback when her name was called.
“It kind of shocked me to begin with, but it’s always fun to look back over those memories and to relive some of that.”
Calgary Flames star Theoren Fleury said he liked that the Hall of Fame inducted whole teams — this year it is the Calgary Colts Junior Football Team that won the Canadian Junior Football League National Championships in 1989 and 1990. About 50 players from those teams were expected to show up for the evening banquet.
“I played on a lot of teams that had success and with the team success comes personal success,” said Fleury.
Fleury, who won the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1989, thanked the many people who helped him along the way including from the hockey world, teammates, coaches and managers.
Other inductees were: