Photo by Chung Chow
The Richmond Sports Wall of Fame Class of 2017 represents the epitome of excellence.
Defined by modesty and outstanding achievement, the nine local sports heroes were inducted Nov. 18.
“Sport is an important part of our community’s heritage, as well as providing lifelong benefits to its participants and inspiration for us all,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “It is an honour to recognize each of this year’s inductees for their achievements and dedication to their sport by having them inducted into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame.”
Champions in every sense of the word, the athletes, builders, coaches and officials who make up the 2017 class have each excelled in their respective category and sport.
The five athletes being inducted this year have all consistently demonstrated humility while reaching the pinnacle of their sport—Arjan Singh Bhullar, a gold medallist in men’s wrestling at the 2010 Commonwealth Games; Darcy Marquardt, an Olympic silver medalist in women’s rowing in 2012; Brian Johns, a three-time Olympian and the most decorated swimmer in Canadian university history; Jennifer Joyce, the 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the women’s hammer throw; and Andrew Mavis, a member of Canada’s 2000 Olympic men’s basketball team.
Equally dedicated to their sports were builder Nancy Carey, who gave 30 years of service as a volunteer, administrator and coach of girls’ field hockey; and official Kanwal Singh Neel, who is being recognized for his outstanding contribution to amateur sport as an international official in track and field.
Coaching inductees Glenn Kishi and Dr. Doug Nielsen also epitomize the quality of inductee in this year’s class. Kishi coached many sports at the high school and community levels, and guided many teams to successful seasons including a pair of junior football provincial championships. Nielsen was equally accomplished in his many seasons coaching girls’ fastball.
ARJAN BHULLAR, ATHLETE
Now a mixed martial artist fighting in the UFC (he won his debut fight over Luis Henrique earlier this year), Arjan Bhullar grew up around wrestling. A three-time provincial high school champion, he represented Canada in freestyle at several world championships, and won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He also competed at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. One of three McRoberts high school graduates in this year’s class, Bhullar created the Dalbir Bhullar Athletic Scholarship soon after graduation and continues to give back to wrestling, at a local club he started with family and at the University of the Fraser Valley varsity club which he helped create.
DARCY MARQUARDT, ATHLETE
A McRoberts graduate, Darcy Marquardt was a youth lifeguard in Richmond while also dabbling in a variety of sports herself. But it was as a first-year student at the University of Victoria that she began rowing, the sport that would define her athletic career. Her remarkable career included 16 international medals and three Olympic Games, highlighted by a silver medal in women’s eight at the London Summer Games in 2012.
A passionate advocate for the next generation of rowers, she is also keen to give back to the community and is currently a KidSport ambassador.
JENNIFER JOYCE, ATHLETE
Born and raised in Richmond, Jennifer Joyce was a multi-sport athlete as a youth who honed her skills in the hammer throw as a longtime member of the vaunted Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club. For much of her tutelage, her mentor was the legendary Richard Collier who guided many of the nation’s top throwers during his lengthy coaching career including Joyce. Succeeding at all levels, Joyce became one of the best Canadian throwers of her generation. She was a four-time Canadian champion and held several national records. She remains one of only three Canadian women to ever break the 70-metre barrier.
Upon graduating from McRoberts Secondary, Joyce attended the University of California at Berkeley where she continued to excel—twice earning the NCAA All-American championship. At the same time, she double majored in American Studies and French. She later became the school’s throws coach from 2003 to 2007 and is currently working on a masters degree in high performance, while the strength and conditioning coach at the Canadian Sport Institute in Victoria.
ANDREW MAVIS, ATHLETE
From playing a major role in the R.C. Palmer Griffins winning a provincial junior boys’ basketball championship to helping the Richmond Colts to a second-place finish at the senior AAA tournament during his second year, Andrew Mavis was one of the top players throughout his high school years. That continued at the post-secondary level, first at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah where he was a first-team and conference all-star to Northern Arizona University where he was named the top newcomer and, following his second season, player of the year. He was recently inducted in the North Arizona hall of fame.
But Mavis is perhaps best remembered for his eight seasons as a member of Canada’s junior and senior men’s national teams, including the team that placed seventh at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. That team also featured future NBA star Steve Nash.
Mavis’ passion and talent for basketball has led him to give back to the game as a coach.
BRIAN JOHNS, ATHLETE
A McRoberts graduate, Brian Johns started his decorated swimming career as a young boy with the Richmond Aquanauts, then Racers and finally Rapids. At age 17, in 1999, he made his first national team appearance—the youngest member on the team.
As a University of B.C. student, Johns won five national championships and 34 medals in 34 races—33 gold and one silver; the most decorated swimmer in Canadian university history.
Johns’ international career was just as impressive as he won numerous Canadian titles, still retaining many national records, and competed in three Olympic Games. In 2003 he set the world 400-metre individual medley short course record.
Today, Johns enthusiastically gives back as head coach and director of swimming for the Vancouver Pacific Swim Club.
NANCY CAREY, BUILDER
Along with her husband Lance, who was part of
the Richmond Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural
class three years ago, Nancy Carey played an integral role in the organizing and success of field hockey in Richmond—both at the club and school levels.
A teacher in the district for 30 years, she also coached many successful Richmond school field hockey teams. Today, the Richmond finalists play for the Carey Cup.
Carey was equally influential as a coach at the Richmond Field Hockey Club. One of her teams, the Eagles, went undefeated for nine seasons and won six provincial championships during the 1990s.
In 1999, the Richmond Field Hockey Club established an annual scholarship honouring both Nancy and Lance for their many years contributing to the sport.
GLENN KISHI, COACH
Glenn Kishi’s contributions to the Richmond community are many, including 35 years as a teacher, administrator and coach in the school district. His teams were equally successful at both the school and community levels, winning four provincial football championships, a provincial basketball title, and five league and district titles.
But while he was proud of the achievements, Kishi defines the success by how the athletes and students became productive members of the community through their experiences in sport. He always stressed the team success came before individual accomplishments.
DOUG NIELSEN, COACH
Richmond’s coach of the year in 2003, Dr. Doug Nielsen dedicated countless hours and many years to coaching girls’ softball. His teams played in many championship games, winning silver at the 1990 Western Canadian championships and bronze at the 1993 Canada Summer Games.
While his teams enjoyed success on the field, Nielsen always put an emphasis on helping each player develop their skills and confidence.
A dentist at Steveston Smiles, he grew up in Richmond and opened his Steveston practice the following year. His willingness to give back earned him the Fellowship in the American College of Dentists in 2008, an honour bestowed upon him by his colleagues throughout North America.
KANWAL NEEL, OFFICIAL
A resident of Richmond since 1969, Kanwal Neel taught 33 years in the local school district and also volunteered in the community as a coach and official in track and field.
It is as a track and field official he is perhaps best known, earning the BC Athletics Official of the Year honour in 1979, an Olympic celebration medal in 1988 for outstanding contribution to amateur sport, and a commemorative medallion from the 2001 world championships.
This is the third year of inductions into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame, which was launched in 2015. There are presently 34 individuals and teams. The wall honours individuals and teams who have played significant roles in building Richmond’s sports community and/or excelled at their sport. Inductee categories include: pioneer, builder, coach, official, athlete, masters athlete, team and special achievement. Nominations for 2018 are being accepted through Dec. 31, 2017. A nomination form is available at www.richmond.ca/sports. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.