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Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame 2023 class celebrated at induction ceremony

SFU softball alum Erin Gee headlined the newest members.

The Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame's 2023 class has officially been inducted. 

Simon Fraser University (SFU) softball standout Erin Gee headlined the newest class which also included fellow Red Leafs alum Mike McLenaghen, Jim Swelander, Burnaby Karate Academy coach Sandeep Gill and the undefeated 2004-05 SFU women's basketball team.

The inductees were honoured at the organization's 20th banquet on March 24 at Riverway Golf Course. 

In four years with the red and white, Gee helped lead the team to four NAIA regional titles and two NAIA national championships. 

In 2006, she was named an NAIA all-American and national championship all-star. 

Gee had a career .424 batting average with SFU and is still the school's leader in runs scored, second in hits and stolen bases, and third in batting average and on-base percentage. 

McLenaghen played in two NAIA championships and was the first Canadian to be chosen to participate in a tournament of the best college players in the U.S., in which he scored the game-winning goal and added two assists in a 3-2 win for the western conference. 

He was selected by the Minnesota Kicks in the first-round of the 1979 North American Soccer League draft, and his career also saw him play for the Toronto Blizzard, Los Angeles Aztecs and Edmonton Drillers. 

McLenaghen represented Canada in eight games on the international stage. 

Swelander began building teams in 1969, starting by forming the Burnaby Dartmen Soccer Club to play in the Hastings East Senior Men's Soccer League. 

He went on to win the league championship in 1973 which put them into the B.C. Senior Soccer League. 

The team went from Division 7 champions in the first year to being promoted to Division 3 in five years. They moved into Division 1 in 1987. 

During the first year in Division 1, the team competed in the league cup and defeated top Premier Division teams, eventually capturing the Imperial Cup and earning a promotion to the top league. 

They are the only team in league history to go from Division 7 to the Premier League. 

For Gill, he opened Burnaby Karate Academy in 1999 and was a provincial coach for four years.

He was named Karate BC's high-performance coach of the year in 2008 and 2009, and was national coach of the year in 2010. 

According to the academy, under Gill's coaching, athletes have won more medals at national championships than any other club in B.C. with 86 gold medals and more than 150 silver and bronze medals as of 2021. 

Meanwhile, the 2004-05 SFU women's basketball team set a school record for most wins in a single season after finishing undefeated from start to finish, including regular season and playoffs.

The squad swept the University of Calgary Dinos to start the Canada West postseason, then went on to beat Victoria in the semi-final and Regina for gold. 

At the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship (CIS), SFU defeated Ottawa, Laval and Winnipeg, outshooting their opponents by 67 points. 

Head coach Bruce Langford was named Canada West and CIS coach of the year, while guard Dani Langford was named a conference first-team all-star and most valuable player of the national championship.