Instant Replay: A Hall of Fame of his own
When Fred Hume was hired to organize a UBC Sports Hall of Fame 22 years ago, he had no inkling that one day he would be in it himself.
That day comes next Wednesday evening when he will be inducted as a builder during the annual UBC Big Block and Hall of Fame banquet at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Hume, who grew up on the North Shore, never played any varsity sports at UBC or represented the university and Canada in any international competitions like many of those among the 99 individuals who are already safely ensconced in the Thunderbirds’ hall of fame.
But without Fred, no one would be in a hall of fame honouring Blue and Gold greats because there wouldn’t even be a UBC Sports Hall of Fame. At least certainly not one of the quality that UBC now has.
Hume did curl and play field lacrosse in the intramural program at UBC while pursuing his Bachelor of Commerce degree, conferred in 1968. He had attended North Star Elementary, old Inglewood Junior High and West Van High (1961 grad) while growing up at 150 Sandringham Crescent in Upper Lonsdale and then from age 13 at 840 Pyrford Road, a little two-block-long street squished in between Eyremount Drive and Fairmile Road in the British Properties. That’s when he curled at the now-long-gone Capilano Winter Club and played football in the Gordon Sturtridge League. Following high school, he played one season with Larry Reda’s North Shore Wildcats juvenile grid squad.
After working in his grandfather’s Hume & Rumble electrical business for three years and then contracting with several other engineering and construction firms, he took a little side job in 1982 as the official statistician for UBC football games.
That was a fortuitous opportunity for Hume – and for UBC athletics – because it led, in 1989, to an offer from Director of Athletics Bob Hindmarch to take on the task of putting together a UBC Sports Hall of Fame.
Soon Hume was eagerly setting about researching the history of Thunderbird sports all the way back to 1915 through old issues of Ubyssey newspapers, Totem yearbooks and Vancouver’s daily papers.
A diligent researcher, he wrote up bios on dozens of UBC greats of the past and formed a selection committee that he chaired in a non-voting capacity.
The inaugural induction ceremonies took place in 1993 with a grand banquet. That year five teams were inducted (1929-30 and 1969-70 women’s basketball, 1969-70 men’s basketball, 1956 fours rowing crew and 1970-71 rugby); along with 18 individuals, the majority of whom were multi-sports stars: Herb Capozzi, Thelma Fynn Wright, Bobby Gaul, Sandra Hartley Cousins (1966 Delbrook High grad), Bob Hindmarch, Ted Hunt, Art Lord, Doug McIntyre, Howie McPhee, Bob Osborne, Bus Phillips, Sandy Robertson, Cokie Shields, Geh Ternan, Ron Thorsen, Maury Van Vliet, Harry Warren and Ruth Wilson.
You probably recognize some of those names but others not so much. And that’s the beauty of Hume’s work. Without his research, many outstanding individuals would have been lost in time and gone unrecognized.
While Hume did all the legwork to produce the bios and recruited a rotating group of selection committee members, he always left it up to the committee to decide who should get in the hall.
Over the years, the selection committee – an all-star lineup itself – has been made up of people such as UBC Sports Hall-of-Famers Hindmarch, May Brown, Marilyn (Russell) Pomfret, Charlotte Warren and Ken Winslade; BC Sports Hall of Fame curator Jason Beck; professors Thelma Sharpe Cook, Ken Craig, Bonnie Gordon and Gary Sinclair; sportswriters/authors Jim Coleman, Mike Harling, Don Harrison, Wendy Long, Bob Mackin, Megan Stewart, Marc Weber, Don Wells and, yes, even me, among others from a variety of fields. Most are UBC grads themselves.
Hume’s work expanded into compiling all-time lists of players in various sports, writing historical pieces for UBC publications, doing research for Flight of the Thunderbirds, the Don Wells-written history of UBC athletics; and even nominating UBC athletes for other halls of fame. So he earned the title of UBC Sports Historian many times over.
His submissions have resulted in Hindmarch and Quene Yip (UBC’s first Chinese-Canadian sports star) entering the BC Sports Hall of Fame while Jim Bardsley, J.D. Jackson, Carol Turney-Loos, Peter Mullins, Jack Pomfret and the 1969-70 women’s basketball team and the 1947-48 men’s team are among his successful nominations to the Basketball BC Hall of Fame. The latter team is being inducted when Basketball BC holds its own annual Hall of Fame dinner April 30 at the Langley Events Centre. Reid Mitchell, who played at West Van High in the 1940s and taught and coached at West Van High through the ’50s, is one of only a few surviving members of that ’47-48 UBC hoop team.
Hume can pinpoint the very moment his interest in sports began. It was 1952. He was 9. That’s when he happened to buy some packs of Topps baseball cards at Burdett’s corner store at the intersection of Lonsdale and Windsor. (But don’t go looking for it, it’s no longer there... the store, not the intersection.) What’s really impressive is that Fred still remembers the cards he got: Erv Palica, Sid Gordon, Lou Brissie and Mike Garcia.
Then he got to go to hockey and lacrosse games with his grandfather, Fred J. Hume, after whom he was named. The elder Hume, the mayor of New Westminster from 1933-42, owned pro hockey’s New Westminster Royals, lacrosse’s New Westminster Salmonbellies and soccer’s New Westminster Royals. The lacrosse and soccer teams were Canadian champions during that era.
He later became Vancouver mayor from 1951-58 and the owner of the Western Hockey League’s old Vancouver Canucks. And he was instrumental in securing the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games for Vancouver, bringing worldwide attention to the city thanks to the Roger Bannister-John Landy Miracle Mile.
Grandfather Hume is one of only a very few who have been inducted into both Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Of course he’s also in the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Now his grandson has a hall of fame of his own.
Check out all the UBC Sports
Hall of Fame biographies at www.
This is episode 415 from Len Corben’s treasure chest of stories - the great events and the quirky - that bring to life the North Shore’s rich sports history.