Two Southeast Alaska athletes are up for induction into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. The public can help vote them get in, too.
Geoff Roes of Juneau, a nationally-acclaimed ultramarathoner, and George Nix of Sitka, Alaska’s first football player to play professionally, are among the 45 people candidates for the 2018 class.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame opened an interactive voting page on its website earlier this month. The voting period for five individuals, three moments and three events will remain open throughout the rest of the month.
The public’s cumulative picks are equal to one of the votes of the nine-member selection committee, which includes former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball coach George Houston and former Juneau Empire Sports Editor Mike Sica.
“We want the public to be engaged and excited about the annual selection and feel like they have a part in the process,” ASHOF Executive Director Harlow Robinson said. “… We have a really qualified panel of experts but they don’t know everything about every generation of Alaska sports. So it’s important that we hear from people from Ketchikan to Kaktovik.”
Roes gained recognition in the ultramarathon community after setting numerous course records in and outside of Alaska. Roes now runs the Alaska Mountain Ultramarathon Camp in Juneau during the summers and volunteers with the JDHS cross country team. Robinson says this isn’t the first year Roes has appeared on the ballot — every year’s ballot picks up candidates from the previous years.
Nix, who is Haida Indian, is Alaska’s first football player to go pro. Around the 1920s, Nix played for the Hominy Indians, an all-Indian professional team from Hominy, Oklahoma, and the Buffalo Rangers of the NFL. He passed away in 1978.
The first three induction classes — 2007, 2008 and 2009 — consisted of five individuals. Now, the hall now limits three or fewer “people” inductees per year, giving the selection committee difficult choices to make every year. From decorated Alaska Native Olympians to dog mushers to baseball coaches, there are no two Alaska Sports Hall of Famers that are alike.
Juneau’s Carlos Boozer was a part of the second class to ever be inducted into the hall in 2008. Downhill skiing legend Hilary Lindh, also of Juneau, entered the hall the following year. There are currently just shy of 40 Alaska Sports Hall of Famers. There is a total of 16 moments — such as the first winter ascent of Denali in 1947 — and 11 events — such as the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament — also in the hall.
“I think (Alaska’s) sports history is really enmeshed in our greater culture and it helps tell the story of our people probably more so than most states do,” Robinson said.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame, organized by a nonprofit of the same name, is not to be confused with the Alaska High School Hall of Fame, issued by the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA).
The 2018 hall of fame candidates will be announced Dec. 7, 2017.
To vote for your Alaska Sports Hall of Fame picks, go to www.alaskasportshall.org/election/candidates.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.