The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame is hosting a 10-year celebration of its nonprofit organization with a free Meet and Greet with some of Alaska’s greatest sports heroes on July 28 at the Alaska Airlines Center, and a banquet and ceremony July 29 at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Both events are designed to celebrate the special people and events that make up the dynamic athletic and outdoor tapestry of Alaska’s sports world.
“The community event (at the Alaska Airlines Center) is an opportunity to talk with some of Alaska’s greatest sports legends, take a photo, and go home with a nice keepsake,” said Harlow Robinson of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. “We’ll have commemorative posters and 10-year collectors’ edition books profiling the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame inductees.”
The event will feature a Parade of Athletes, presentation of 10-year commemorative awards, video profiles of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame inductees and – probably the best part – a meet and greet line for photos and autographs. Robinson said this is not only a chance for participants to meet these locally, nationally and internationally recognized athletes, but also a chance for the athletes themselves to learn more about their Alaska fans.
“I’m excited by the fact that many of Alaska’s great athletes have never met each other,” Robinson said. “Many of them have said they are excited to meet other inductees for the first time. Many of them are star struck by another particular person or looked up to that person as a mentor. That’s the aspect of these events I’m most excited about.”
The community event is set for 6-9 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center and tickets are not necessary. Just come out and enjoy the evening.
For those wishing for a more formal event, and a chance to help financially back the nonprofit Alaska Sports Hall, there will be a special evening 6-9 p.m. July 29 at the Ted Stevens International Airport. This Sports Hall of Fame is located here, and here is where there will be award presentations and portrait unveilings, which will include the 2016 honorees and inductees – Don Clary, Janay DeLoach, Native Youth Olympics athlete Matt Carle, Special Olympics as an event, and Director’s Award recipients Allie Ostrander, Dallas Seavey, Dennis Sorenson, Laci Effenburger, the UAA women’s basketball team, and the Soldotna High School football team.
Special guests include keynote speaker Mark Schlereth, Hillary Lindh, Scott Gomez, Lance Mackey, Mario Chalmers, Kris Thorsness, Tommy Moe, Kikkan Randall, Reggie Joule, Vern Tejas, Jeannie Hebert-Truax, Nina Kemppel, Bill Spencer, Chris Clark, Art Davidson and more.
Ten years later, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame is going strong. Robinson, whose vision of the endeavor back in the early 2000s has now come to pass, said he is excited about the Sports Hall’s future as well.
“We have achieved most of the big goals we laid out for the first 10 years,” he said. “We also went in directions we had not conceived at the beginning (such as incorporating the Healthy Futures program). And there are other goals, such as a building a bricks-and-mortar museum-style facility that still have yet to be realized.”
For now the actual Hall of Fame is located at the airport. Robinson said there will be door prizes and memorabilia donated by some of the great Alaska sports figures – all of which will help raise money for the Alaska Sports Hall and Healthy Futures programs. Both programs highlight the importance of sports and physical activity in Alaska and beyond. Tickets for the July 29 event are available at www.alaskasportshall.org or go to the organization’s Facebook page for more details.