Press Release

Seven to be inducted into the Skate Canada HOF

Sandra Bezic is among the 2010 Skate Canada Hall of Fame class.
Sandra Bezic is among the 2010 Skate Canada Hall of Fame class. (courtesy of Michael Bernadsky)


Press Releases
By Skate Canada
(07/14/2010) - OTTAWA, ON - Skate Canada announced Wednesday that it will welcome seven new honoree's to the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

Sandra Bezic and Dr. Hellmut May will both be inducted in the professional category, Bill Dowding, Wilf Langevin and William Ostapchuk in the builder category, and Wendy Griner and George Meagher in the athlete category.

Sandra Bezic, 54, of Toronto, Ontario will enter the Skate Canada Hall of Fame as a professional for her work as a choreographer. Bezic is a five-time Canadian Pair Champion with her brother Val Bezic, and represented Canada at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games, placing ninth. She began her skating career as an athlete but then transitioned into a choreographer. Bezic is best known for choreographing such winning programs as, Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini (1984 Worlds), Brian Boitano (1988 Winter Olympics), Kristi Yamaguchi (1992 Winter Olympics), Kurt Browning (1993 Worlds), and Tara Lipinski (1998 Winter Olympics). In 2003 Bezic won an Emmy for her Stars on Ice choreography. Bezic also wrote a book, "The Passion to Skate," and has provided color commentary for both NBC and CBC. Most recently, as co-creator and a producer of the hit CBC series Battle of the Blades, she introduced a whole new audience to the sport she loves.

Dr. Hellmut May, 89, of Vienna, Austria, will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a professional. May emigrated to Canada in 1954 after a successful skating career in Austria. He won numerous national medals with his home country and represented Austria at the Olympic Winter Games in 1936 and 1948, placing 14 and eighth. May settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began a coaching career. He coached seven skaters to national titles and had many go on to represent Canada at worlds and Olympics. He was also the first coach of Olympic silver medalist Karen Magnussen. May used his skills as a coach and background as a skater to help develop figure skating in his adopted home. May was also an expert equipment technician and spent many hours fitting skates and adjusting blades for anyone who needed assistance. He embodied his belief in the spirit of sportsmanship and that all skaters must start on an equal playing field.

Bill Dowding, 89, and Wilf Langevin, 70, are to be inducted together in the builder category for their work as a music technician and announcer at figure skating competitions. Dowding was the official music technician for Skate Canada from 1968-1999. He also used his skills as a music technician at various world championships and the 1988 Olympics. Langevin acted as the official Skate Canada announcer at skating events from 1966-1999. He was the highly recognizable voice of figure skating at the Canadian Championships during that time. William Ostapchuk, 77, of Toronto, Ontario, will enter the Hall of Fame as a builder for his work to develop figure skating in Canada. A former President and Vice-President of Skate Canada, Ostapchuk helped move skating forward in Canada. Ostapchuk is a Certified Management Accountant in his professional life and served as a volunteer Chief Accountant for various figure skating events including the 1978 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, six Canadian Championships, five Skate Canada International events and numerous divisional, sectional and club competitions. In 1982 he was appointed a member of the Marketing Committee and the Athlete Trust. In 1986 he was appointed VP Administration and Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee. During his time he recommended that the title sponsors' names be attached to both the Canadian Championships and Skate Canada International to make sponsorship more attractive and increase value. He oversaw the marketing and sponsorship revenue increase from about $200,000 in 1984 to approximately one million in 1988. In 1991 the Hall of Fame Trust was formed and he became the first chair. He now lives with his wife Josephine in Lakefield, Ontario.

Wendy Griner, 66, of Toronto, Ontario, will enter the Hall of Fame in the athlete category. Griner was Canadian Champion from 1960-1963 and a world silver medalist in 1962. She represented Canada twice at the Olympic Winter Games, first in 1960 and once again in 1964, placing 12 and 10 respectively. Known as a staunch competitor by those who competed against her, she dominated the Canadian ladies field until she retired in 1964. In 1967 she married Dr. Don Ballantyne and settled in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The couple have two sons and one daughter.

George Meagher was a figure skating pioneer in Canada. He was born in 1866 in Kingston, Ontario, and will enter the Hall of Fame in the athlete category. Meagher is best known for both his talent on the ice and for the co-founding of the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa, Ontario. Meagher won the Amateur Championships of the World in 1891 and in 1898 won the Professional Championships of the World. Meagher also published several books; his best known titles are Figure and Fancy Skating (1895) and Lessons in Skating, published in 1900. Meagher is also credited for introducing ice hockey to Europe in 1894 while on a figure skating trip to Paris. He passed away in 1930 at the age of 63 at his home in Montreal, Quebec.

The exact date and locations of the induction ceremonies will be announced at a later date.