Virtue, Moir and St-Pierre headline Canada's Sports Hall of Fame class of 2023

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir join the Order of Sport, among seven other athletes and two builders awarded Canada's highest sporting honour.

Olympic, world champions comprise group of 9 athletes, 2 builders

Two athletes wear red Team Canada jackets and smile with gold medals on a podium.
Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada headline Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2023 class of inductees in Calgary on Thursday.

The newest class includes individual three athletes and two teams, in addition to a pair in the builders category, that have achieved great success in their sports and helped lead the way for future generations in Canadian sport.

Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, considered among the greatest ice dancing duos in the sport's history, will join the hall, following a career which saw them win Olympic gold in the event at Vancouver 2010 and Pyeongchang 2018. After beginning their career together in 1997, the two developed a captivating and prolific partnership on the ice.

"It's so exciting and moving and overwhelming," Virtue said. "You know, now that we're a few years post retirement, you don't think of the accolades coming in the same way.

"So to to be recognized for our accomplishments in sport and to have the benefit of having a little bit of perspective on our career is so delightful. It's just an incredible honour."

WATCH | Virtue and Moir thrived in the spotlight:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s Olympic journey was bookended with golden moments

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A golden start in Vancouver 2010 and a win at PyeongChang 2018 helped the ice dance pair cement themselves as some of the greatest of all time.

From 2008-2019, the duo took home 12 podium finishes at the Olympics and world championships while adding eight Canadian titles. Since retiring in 2019, they have continued to inspire young Canadian skaters as coaches, mentors, ambassadors and speakers. 

Virtue also completed an MBA and is now an executive adviser with Deloitte, a consulting firm, while Moir leads the Ice Academy of Montreal's satellite program in Ontario.

"Sport in general, as you well know, is in a difficult time right now," Virtue said.

"And especially the Olympic movement, we've seen a lot of shifts, a lot of changes. It's easier to get disillusioned by sort of the politics of it all, but when we can hone in on all of the exceptional things that sport offers, especially these next generations, I think that's really empowering and inspiring to me."

Joining them as athlete inductees are former UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, wheelchair basketball athlete Danielle Peers, Indigenous softball player Phyllis Bomberry, and curling's Team Ferbey of Randy Ferbey, David Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer, and Marcel Rocque. Indigenous lacrosse advocate Oren Lyons joins as a builder alongside Hiroshi Nakamura, a high performance judo coach.

The nine inductees will receive the Order of Sport, Canada's highest sporting honour, on Oct.19 in Gatineau, Que.

Georges St-Pierre

Hailed as one of the best mixed martial arts athletes of all time, Saint-Isidore, Que.'s St-Pierre made his UFC debut in 2004 before setting the record for most wins in title fights with 13, most welterweight title defences with nine, and welterweight divisional titles with 19.

Since retiring, he has led the Georges St-Pierre Foundation, helping children through adversity, supporting anti-bullying initiatives and promoting youth sports.

"I'm honoured to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and receive the Order of Sport," St-Pierre wrote in a statement. "Martial arts changed my life and I was fortunate to be able to represent Canada on the biggest stage in the world. I want to thank the UFC and all my fans, as none of this would have been possible without them."

Team Ferbey

Team Ferbey enters the hall as one of Canadian curling's greatest rinks, earning the name "The Ferbey Four," as they won three world championships from 2002-2006 and four Brier championships in five appearances from 2001-2005.

Led by Edmonton-born skip Ferbey, the group paved the way for more aggressive shot-calling and creativity before disbanding in 2010.

Ferbey said he and his teammates never expected such recognition and he hopes the induction leads to further recognition of curlers and their successes.

"We put as much time into our craft as any baseball, football or basketball player," he said, adding that he believes his team was the first to quit their full-time jobs to focus on curling.

"There's a lot of teams in Canada that should deservedly be in the hall alongside us, and unfortunately there's not a lot of curlers in there and I'd like to see that change in the future."

Danielle Peers

Meanwhile, Danielle Peers continues to make their mark on para-sport and queer people in sport in Canada. After earning Athens 2004 Paralympic bronze and 2006 world championship gold, they pushed past gender divisions, competing in multiple men's competitions.

Since retiring, Peers has continued to challenge the discourse as an academic, community organizer, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ performance artist.

Phyllis Bomberry

Inducted posthumously, Bomberry, a former softball player from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., joins the hall after overcoming racism and sexism to pursue her sports dreams, playing for Carpetland Senior A team in Toronto and winning three Canadian championships.

In 1968, she became the first female recipient of the Tom Longboat Award, which recognizes outstanding Indigenous athletes, and remained a competitive player until 1976 before passing in 2019.

"From the courts to the fields, from the ice to the octagon, the Class of 2023 is a testament to the relentless pursuit of greatness," said Cheryl Bernard, President and CEO of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. 

"The Class of 2023 [is] a group of exceptional athletes and builders of sport who have conquered challenges, shattered records, and inspired generations."

With files from The Canadian Press

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