Jirik set to enter Canada’s basketball hall of fame

CanBasketball_CorpHamilton native Candace Jirik (nee Clarkson) is one of three athletes heading to the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Canada Basketball announced that in addition to Jirik, Andrea Blackwell and Bill Coulthard will be inducted into the hall of fame all in the athlete category. The three gifted players have provided a significant and meaningful contribution to the sport during their time on the court, noted Canada Basketball. Their successes as members of Team Canada have inspired Canadians across the country to join the sport and show the determination and hard-work that these individuals demonstrated throughout their careers.

Candace “Candi” Jirik was one of the best young women to play in the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) of the 1970s and ’80s. She was a three-time OWIAA all-star and garnered All-Canadian selections in 1978 and 1980. Her 1980 University of Guelph Gryphons would finish the year with a perfect 12-0 record and claim the OWIAA championship.

Jirik translated her collegiate success onto the international stage in the Red and White of Team Canada. She was a member of the Senior Women’s National Team from 1977-80 and again from 1982-84. Her greatest success as a member of the team came in 1979 as she captured the bronze medal in each of the FIBA World Championship, the FISU Games and the Pan-American Games. As a veteran on the team, she joined fellow-inductee Blackwell on the court for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Blackwell grew up in Calgary, Alberta, but it was in Kingston, Ontario that she decided her path in life would be centred around the game of basketball. Her combination of height and natural ability allowed her to play, but it was her determination and strong work ethic that allowed her to succeed. She was a vital member of Bishop’s University’s back-to-back championship teams of 1983 and 1984. Her outstanding play in her senior year earned her the prestigious Nan Copp Award as the country’s most outstanding player.

Andrea was a member of both the Junior and Senior Women’s National Teams in her 17 years of proudly wearing the maple leaf. Andrea made four appearances at the World Championships and captured a bronze medal at the 1986 tournament held in the former Soviet Union. She represented Canada on the Olympic stage at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and again at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

William Sanderson “Bill” Coulthard was born in Buffalo, N.Y., but made his home in Windsor, Ontario. He played his college years with the Detroit Institute of Technology where he was voted to the All-Michigan Team in 1944. Bill’s basketball journey returned him to Canada where he continued his career playing at the senior men’s level for Assumption College, taking home the Eastern Canadian titles in 1946 and 1947.

Coulthard’s greatest achievements on the court would come as a member of the Tillsonburg Livingstons – a team brought together through the efforts of Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame member Gerri Livingston. The team captured the 1952 Senior Canadian Championships and with it, the right to represent Canada at that summer’s Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. Bill would finish the tournament tied for second in team-scoring with an average of 9.5 points per game.

Michele O’Keefe, Executive Director of Canada Basketball, is proud to see these three inductees receive some much-deserved recognition. “Andrea, Bill and Candace were great players on the court and wonderful people off of it. I am proud that their dedication to the game and their commitment to this country will forever be remembered with a place alongside Canada’s basketball legends.”