One of St. Albert’s most decorated international athletes is set to add another major honour to her already lengthy resumé.
Wheelchair Basketball Canada announced on Tuesday that St. Albert native Jennifer Krempien will be inducted — alongside her coach, Tom Frick — into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Toronto on May 10.
“I am humbled and honoured to be recognized for the achievements of our team,” Krempien said in a press release. “Throughout my career, I played with so many fantastic teammates, was influenced by so many dedicated coaches and had unbelievable support from Wheelchair Basketball Canada, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Sports Canada. It is a truly an honour to be recognized by the Hall of Fame.”
Krempien and Frick will become the first inductees into the hall of fame from the sport of wheelchair basketball.
Krempien was a member of the national women’s wheelchair basketball team from 1991 to 2008, and competed in five Paralympic Games during that span, winning three consecutive gold medals (1992, 1996 and 2000) and one bronze. She also won four gold medals at the world wheelchair basketball championships between 1994 and 2006, and was named to the tournament all-star team in 1998 and 2002.
Meanwhile, Frick — who hails from Pender Island, B.C. — coached Krempien throughout her entire international career, taking the helm of the national women’s team from 1990 to 2009. He also coached both national icons Rick Hansen and Terry Fox at points in his career.
“I could have never imagined back in 1977 when a very persuasive Rick Hansen badgered me into playing wheelchair basketball, and coaching wheelchair volleyball and athletics, that one day an honour such as this would occur,” Frick said in the same press release. “Most importantly, the induction of Jennifer and I is recognition of Canada’s long-term commitment to the Paralympic movement and to the pursuit of excellence.”
Other inductees this year include athletes Robert Easton (athletics) and Tim McIsaac (swimming), and builders Janet Dunn and John Howe.
Individuals inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame will be recognized within the Olympic and Paralympic Gallery at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary.
— GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader